Jodie Guerrero is a consumer advocate and creator of Jodie’s Journey, chronicling her incredible battle with incurable Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Jodie has undergone intensive treatment for years, including no less than 63 rounds of chemotherapy, and is still in the fight. Her story has been featured in numerous Australian media outlets and she is a fierce advocate for women’s health and cancer research. Jodie is truly the epitome of a beautiful survivor: we are thrilled for her to share her tips for surviving beautifully here:
This may sound very simple but believe me, when you lack energy and have fatigue or pain from disease and/or treatment, you will almost always reach for the easiest option and avoid all exercise. It’s a Catch-22 situation because we cancer patients often have to be more disciplined than the general population.
When first diagnosed and locked up in my hospital for 10 weeks, I was weak and my body was threatened by death. But I made a point to (at least) twice a day walk around my ward, just outside my ward or to a nearby garden. Plus I would stretch in my room, move my legs and my arms. Sometimes I would visit another patient in another part of the hospital. When you’re eating right and exercising (even in the smallest capacity), your body and spirit feels better all round.
When you are the correct weight or close to it, you automatically feel better mentally and emotionally (this is particularly so for women). Not only does carrying extra weight create a compromised body, but also a compromised confidence – this may even affect the way you interact with your doctors and family!
I know for myself that my pain makes me reach for pleasure-inducing food (sugar and sweetened foods). It tastes good short term, but works against an-already struggling body in the long term. You may have to find ways to better manage your physical pain to stop your body craving the comfort of sugar/fatty foods. Working with a kind health consumer advocate may help you achieve this.
Drinking more water will also help your body to shed weight or move toxins out; this is very important particularly when you are having active hospital-based treatment. Drinking sparkling water or iced water may be more enjoyable and you’ll consume more.
When I am out shopping, I’m always on the lookout for ‘ocean’ scented soaps and body washes. This happens to be my favorite scent and makes me feel and smell beautiful. It also reminds me of my favorite place on earth, and helps me to understand that beyond this experience, a new life and the beauty of earth is waiting for me. To use it gives me a feeling of serenity and contentment, which makes my mind/emotions also feel calm.
Sometimes, the cruel process of tumor and disease can create physical pain, limb weakness and muscle atrophy. The disease process itself can create trauma related (sometimes delayed) mental illness, which impacts our desire to shower and take care of our regular beauty routines. It is important to remember that we should try to continue with what we did pre-diagnosis, even if we need to replace a full shower with a ‘Top n’ Tail mini-bath’. Any kind of body cleanse is good for your skin and for your face: it’s nice to glow.
When we are healthy, we forget how beautiful we feel on a daily basis and how this impacts your overall self-worth, which also impacts your desire to keep fighting your disease.
The disease sucks so much out of our body – it’s a robber, stealer and destroyer and it does not belong there. The medical doctors work on keeping us alive, but we must continue working on keeping our bodies looking presentable and ‘Easy on the Eye.’ Let’s face it: treatment is toxic, its poison and you’ve got a war going on inside your cells.
Donate or sell what no longer makes you feel wonderful. Simplify your look and your home. Find what you love, buy what you love and wear what you love: it will always reflect in your countenance.
The beautiful inside supports a beautiful outside. Have you ever met a person who is stunning to look at, but when they open their mouth a lot of negative talk pours out? This is because they may invest little time injecting what is good, peaceful and lovely into their minds.
Surviving beautifully is partially about the skin and the outside, but also all about the spirit and creating a beautiful spirit out of something destructive (the disease).
Go to the places that make you feel calm and refreshed, suck it in and enjoy every morsel, every breath. Take your favorite positive book or maybe a book of scripture, prayers, poetry or an inspirational story. Let the place and the words on the page minister to you and breathe life into your skin, spirit and heart. Do this every day – even if it is in your hospital room. Find your spot of peace and tranquility.
Jodie Guerrero is a consumer advocate and creator of Jodie’s Journey, chronicling her incredible battle with incurable Follicular Read More