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My Perspective: Living Well With Cancer

Written by Keith Guernsey
Posted on September 23, 2021

I have developed a nine-point plan that I follow faithfully. This plan has enabled me to feel healthier (both mentally and physically) at 69 than at any time since I stopped playing hockey at age 28.

Following these nine steps has made a dramatic impact on my physical and mental health:

  1. Get the best medical care possible. Get a second or third opinion, if necessary. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends to get the best care!
  2. Surround yourself with family and friends who will help and provide a support system when necessary.
  3. Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter regarding your prescriptions. This to me is the most important of all.
  4. Get proper nutrition. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables with every meal.
  5. Get lots of exercise — walking is great.
  6. Ask your doctor about vitamins. I take five different types every day.
  7. Hydrate, hydrate, and then hydrate some more! Medical experts say you should drink 64 ounces of a clear liquid like water (but not vodka!) per day.
  8. Sleep — get some! Experts recommend six to eight hours per night. I shut off my phone and all other electronic devices an hour before bedtime. I then take a long hot shower, shut off all the lights and am off to la-la land until morning. Michael Phelps gets seven-and-a-half hours per night and if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me!
  9. Cultivate and maintain a positive mental attitude. I have a very dear friend who is a retired cardiologist and says that my positive attitude has been instrumental in my beating cancer twice recently.

I am thrilled to be entering 18 months of remission and, in the words of my favorite band Chicago, "Feeling stronger every day!" I am convinced that my strict adherence to this plan has been an enormous help in getting me to this point.

I remember back to the day that I heard the magical word that I had prayed on for over a year. It was early February in 2020, and the phone rang with what I hoped would be good news. For once, I was actually correct!

It was my hematologist telling me that I was in fact in remission. I thanked her profusely and jumped for joy (but only as high as a chubby old guy can). I went dancing down the hall, and my wife Susan gave me that quizzical look — as she often does when I am doing something silly. She realized why I was doing it and joined me in a big hug and a good cry.

I realized then and there that I needed and wanted to help other cancer patients feel the unbridled joy that I now felt. In March of 2020, I was honored to be selected as a Myeloma Coach. This was the opportunity I had wanted to give back and help others feel as wonderful as I did.

It has been truly humbling to share my story on dozens of radio interviews, websites, emails, and phone calls. Each time I hear back from someone I have helped, I get a lump in my throat and a warm, fuzzy feeling. I will continue this mission to help my fellow myeloma patients feel better about the journey that they are on.

My Perspective articles discuss myeloma from a specific point of view. We understand that everyone with myeloma or caring for someone with the condition has a different experience. We aim to share as many of those viewpoints as we can. We’d love to hear from you. Please submit your proposal for editorial consideration to editors@myhealthteams.com. My Perspective articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyHealthTeams staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors.

Posted on September 23, 2021
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Keith Guernsey is a member of MyMyelomaTeam. Learn more about him here.

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