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Stephen Fry Reveals How a Routine Checkup Lead to Prostate Cancer Discovery

Actor and writer, Stephen Fry, posted a video on his blog today sharing a heartfelt story of how a routine checkup and flu shot lead to the discovery that he had prostate cancer. Since that discovery, he has recently had his prostate removed.

In the video, he tells of thoughts that he wasn’t ‘the sort of person who gets cancer’. He is currently awaiting test results but hopes he is now free of the disease.TV star urges other men to get their prostates checked for the common problem. Check out the video below.

Would you like to know more about prostate cancer? We’ve put together a few resources for you.

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

American Cancer Society

Mayo Clinic


Would you like to be inspired by cancer warriors in our community? Click here to read our Lyfe Ambassador Jessica Proto’s Lyfestory. Click here to see how Patient Entrepreneur, Dana Donofree, turned her cancer diagnosis into an intimates clothing line that is taking the world by storm!

Lyfestories: Jen White– Kidney Transplant Recipient

Hi my name is Jen (@mytransplantlife on Instagram). My page is educational in nature, as I’m a Registered Nurse with a graduate degree, having worked as a nurse educator, combining my health knowledge with my health experiences. My goal in starting my page was to be able to help others in their own health journey, whether with a chronic illness or through having a transplant, because it really is about spreading the LOVE!
I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease in my early 20s, as a result of idiopathic glomulernephritis (filtering units in the kidneys failing for no definitive reason). I was on hemodialysis for 3 months prior to receiving a kidney transplant in November 2008.
Both dialysis and transplantation are treatments for renal failure. I did not do well on dialysis, feeling sick before and after treatments. I was at very low kidney function when I started dialysis, in denial and also stubborn, as there was no way I was living on a machine for the rest of my life! After multiple ED visits and increasingly high creatinine levels, I was forced into doing something about my health and had a central line inserted for my dialysis treatments. I kept trying to live my normal life, running and working out, but it was too much for my body. I remember hardly being able to walk up 3 flights of stairs without being out of breath before I had my transplant.
My kidney transplant is a living unrelated donor, from my mom’s best friend and our antigen match was very high for 2 unrelated people. My donor is doing very well with her health having only 1 kidney. I have had a few complications following my transplant, include hydronephrosis and a bad infection because the stent in the ureter was blocked. My kidney function is stable after 9 years, with a few health issues here and there, including Melanoma (skin cancer), which is a risk factor associated with taking immunosuppression medication.
Overall, I would not change my decision to have a transplant. Yes, there are risks associated with medications, but for me, those risks outweighed having to live my life attached to a machine.

Lyfestories: “Cancer with a Smile”– Finding Life After Cancer

For many people including myself finishing treatment for cancer can leave you feeling a little lost. You expect to feel over the moon but often end up down in the dumps which can come as a shock. A recent survey by Breast Cancer Care discovered that more than half of breast cancer patients questioned struggled with anxiety after treatment ended and 26% said life after cancer was harder than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

At this weeks final Moving Forward course with Breast Cancer Care we had a group session with a councillor and all eleven of us said we found life after cancer much harder than we had expected. Initially when treatment stops, being out of the cycle of hospital appointments is unsettling. I found I had got used to the constant care and attention of the nurses and doctors. It was comforting to know they were on hand if you had any problems.

Then treatment stops and its time to get back to your ‘normal’ life, but it just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.

Talking to the other ladies at the course it became clear we all felt a similar feeling of loss but for different reasons. One lady even described it as being like grieving, grieving your old life and body. I could completely relate to this as, for me, hormone therapy and the side effects are something that, ten months in, I am still learning to live with. I feel angry and cheated that, at 35 years old, I am dealing with severe menopausal symptoms while my friends are all having babies. The physical changes that breast cancer brings is another big hurdle many women face. The war may have been won but there are still a lot of casualties to be treated, operations that haven’t gone to plan, unpredictable fatigue and painful scar tissue.

The overall consensus from the group was that the mental scars run far deeper than the ones on our bodies. Many of us feel frustrated that, months after treatment is finished, cancer is still bringing us down but we find it hard to admit this to friends and family. The fear of recurrence is also very raw and many of use don’t trust our bodies anymore, fearing that every little ache or pain is the cancer returning.

Fortunately there are lots of resources out there. Macmillan and Breast Cancer Care both offer courses and counseling that can help cancer fighters deal with life after cancer. I had six sessions of counseling through Cancer Support Scotland which I found really helped get my head in a much better place. We finished the course in a lovely way by writing a letter to ourselves that we will receive in a few months time as a reminder of how far we have come. Our group was keen to stay in touch with each other and the course leader very kindly collected all our phone numbers and email addresses so we can arrange to get together again.

The ‘Someone Like Me’ service that Breast Cancer Care offers is another fantastic way to find someone who has been through a similar experience. It’s also very important to remember our cancer nurses are there for us during and after treatment, so if you have any niggling questions or side effects they are only a phone call away. If you don’t feel happy calling your hospital the Breast Cancer Care Helpline is manned by specialist nurses.

Life after cancer is hard but we are most definitely not expected to handle it alone.

To check out more of Audrey’s amazing work, go here: https://cancerwithasmile.com/

Instagram: @cancerwithasmile

LYFESTORY: Lauren Plunkett, Type 1 Diabetic RDN, CDE, & Fitness Instructor

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), fitness instructor, public speaker, and proudly live my life as a healthy person with Type 1 Diabetes for more than 24 years. Like many of you, my story began with the realization that I needed to change my eating habits and exercise routine. I also needed to wholeheartedly embrace the fact that I have type 1 diabetes, but most of all I simply wanted to live better.

 

I could define myself in many ways based on my experiences, but most of all I am determined, strong-willed, and not a quitter. So, I raised the bar on myself and found a way. Now, my role is to pay it forward and share my knowledge.

 

My professional goal is to support people with T1D of all ages with nutrition education specific to their individual needs with regular exercise. Nothing makes me more excited than to work with athletes with T1D! I am very driven to provide education that I would have found valuable when I was a teenager. My philosophy is evidence-based through sports nutrition research but also from many years of personal trial and error while becoming more physically fit.  

 

One thing I have learned is that people with T1D are all at different stages of glucose management. Some may be thriving with what seems like effortless blood glucose control, while others struggle with the basics. Keeping track of test strips, dosages, and technology, can be so overwhelming! I believe in meeting a person where they are in the learning process because it’s so easy to cave under the pressure of perfect nutrition and an impressive A1c.

 

T1D management is a partnership within all the other aspects of what makes us who we are. Hemoglobin A1c does not define us. We are individuals first. Individuals with unique nutritional needs, interests, and fitness goals.

 

When I present education I often say that I did not become a nutrition expert the very moment I was diagnosed with T1D. It takes a massive amount of effort and will-power to master diabetes and I had my own struggles for years before finding my method of success. And that’s when lifelong health maintenance begins. This is one reason why I see myself in every person I meet with T1D and I am such a fan of anyone putting in the work.  

Social Media :www.lpnutritionconsulting.com

Instagram: @vegetitian

It’s Cancer of the Lymphatic System

I was sat in the ENT department waiting room, dreading hearing my name being called. It all began a month earlier. I had just arrived back home from a long overdue honeymoon. I was well rested and eager to get back to my dream job, which I had not long started. This is when I noticed several lymph nodes on my neck began to swell. I went to see my doctor who urgently referred me to a specialist. After many tests and biopsies, I was awaiting the results.

My name was finally called, my husband and I were escorted into the specialist’s office. We sat down and the doctor said, “There’s no good way for me to tell you, I’m really sorry but you have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Do you know what that is Kate?” I nodded. I had watched a few people go through this horrid disease at a similar age to mine. “It’s a cancer of the Lymphatic System.” I replied. I looked over at my husband, his eyes were wide. We both felt like we had just been hit by a bus. I didn’t cry until we left the doctor’s office. I was trying to process it all in my head; how could this happen.

I was 26, healthy, happy, fit, no history of cancer in my family. Why was this happening. Was this it? I have two young children, are they even going to remember me?

How bad is it? Has it spread to my organs, or my bones? I spent most the journey home asking why, and how.

I felt out of control. To confirm the stage and the treatment plan it could take a month. I could not go through feeling this broken for another month. I decided to take control! I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I started thinking back to some memory or experience that would help me here.

I finally knew why had taken all those nutritional advisor courses. I had done some work in the nutrition field and had studies many cases where dietary change had cured people of certain illnesses. I knew all about the foods I should and shouldn’t be eat. My diet was something I could control. I knew that although curing cancer with diet alone is almost unheard of, if I use my knowledge alongside chemotherapy, I would surely be improving my odds of beating cancer.

Instead of going home we went to the local supermarket and started filling the trolley full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and anything plant based. Completely giving up meat, and dairy for the most part. I began researching about anti-cancer diets, superfoods and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, because I knew that knowledge was power. The best way to win the war is to know your enemy and its plans.

I began chemotherapy on 26th October. My treatment plan was set for 6 cycles, that’s 12 chemo sessions, each two week apart. That amounted to 6 months of going through chemotherapy.

Now I am a person whose glass is always half full even if there is nothing left in the glass. But cancer and treatment has really tested my optimism. But I have learnt to deal with many of the ‘glamorous’ side effect that chemotherapy has brought:

  • Establish a routine – Take the first cycle to familiarise yourself with how you feel and on which day this starts and end. Keep a journal of what you eat, roughly when and what medication you take. Although the time scale and intensity of the side effect can be different after each treatment, overall there will be a pattern. For me the worst is the bone pain which begins on day four or five.

 

  • The 6 P’sPrior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance – It’s a saying that the British army like to drill into the recruits from the very beginning. I find it very fitting for most things in life. Having established a routine, prepare accordingly. If you know you get constipated, take some medicines to prevent this. If you get a sore mouth on day two, start gargling that mouthwash.
  • Drink Water and Eat Plant Based – Water will help flush toxins and drugs out of the system, while plant based nutrition is the most natural and will help heal and mend your body. Refer to your note’s, and figure out which foods make you feel better or worse. There will be many taste bud changes, so eat what you can stomach.
  • Reach out to people I stated an Instagram page @cancerchemocarbs. I wanted to reach out to others who are going through cancer and treatment. If I could help just one person, in any way, I would feel better. I have met some beautiful people. From different backgrounds, cultures, and countries. It really makes you realize that cancer can affect anyone.

 

The most important thing I’ve learned: stop dreaming and start living. For years, my husband and I have spoken of grand plans, and what we want to do, but have never gotten to fulfilling these plans. This illness has happened for a reason, one that in ten years’ time I will know, I’m sure. I am determined and I know that something good will come from this illness. The best view comes after the hardest climb!

 

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