Think Pink: Be a Proactive Patient

Leslie Massey Updated: October 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm • Published: October 30, 2013 0

            According to the American Cancer Society, nutrition plays an important role in cancer treatment. A body's ability to abide certain foods and make use of nutrients is strongly affected by cancer as well as cancer treatments.

            Cyd Stenicka experienced the significance of appropriate nutritional choices first hand while being treated for stage two interductal carcinoma.

            After discovering a lump during a self-breast exam in 1999, the 41 year-old was treated at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. 

            “I had a clear mammogram not even six months prior,” said Stenicka, “and because of the pathology, doctors believed the cancer may be aggressive.”

            Faced with four months of chemotherapy, another four months on Taxol, and more than seven weeks of radiation, Stenicka chose to consult a nutritionist.

            “I wanted to do everything I could,” she said. “My oncologist and nutritionist worked really well together and respected each other and also respected my choices.” 

            Through changing her diet and her stress level, she was able to manage other underlying concerns as well.  Even after treatment was completed, she maintains these worthwhile habits and is pleased to say she hasn’t had so much as a cold since, “My immune system is really strong now,” she said.

            Continuing a full-time job which required quite a bit of travel, Stenicka is thankful her employer was gracious about giving her time off when she needed it.  “I also learned to walk through a 600-plus person building without touching anything,” she said.

            Being pro-active in her treatment by doing her own research, asking questions and talking with others helped Stenicka felt secure in the decisions she made throughout her journey. 

            She also notes the encouragement and guidance from Sherry Martin at Penrose Cancer Center was indispensable and she was inspired by the Integrative Therapies Program.  Consequently, Stenicka is now an Easy-Chair Yoga instructor working with women in all stages of cancer.

            “I think people need to know that it’s ok to have different opinions,” she said.  “Gather information, seek the wisdom of multiple counselors, and make the decision that’s right for you.”

            Furthermore, she strongly advises taking your time to evaluate your options.  “You don’t have to make immediate decisions,” she said. “You can take a day or two, or a week, and make sure you’re confident in your choices.”

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