Post-recovery care after treatment for nose cancer is vital for our well being, and so that we continue to have a good quality of life. This is what our NPC Support Group calls COPE, where members learn from each other and share their experiences in returning to as normal a life as possible. Here, I share with you my own experience on living a healthy life after nose cancer.
A good quality of life
Living a healthy life
My concept for living a health life started with some wise words from a TCM speaker, who spoke to our members at one of our monthly talks in 2009. The speaker's wise words are very practical for good living.
- Rest well
- Eat well and exercise
- Remove stress
The concept had been playing in my mind for sometime. It sounds so simple and easy to do. But what transformed the concept into reality for me was the living example of my 92-year-old father-in-law, whom I believe, and whom I have observed leading the life prescribed above.
My wife Margaret’s father is a picture of health. He does not look his age. He is radiant and youthful, he does not have any illness and does not need to take medication. He rests well, eats at specific times each day, exercises daily ,walking for an hour, stands in the morning sun absorbing its glow for his daily dose of natural vitamins, and he is a man of few words and does not have any stress. Appended below is a description of the three concepts mentioned above.
Allowing one's body to rest well means that the body has the time and the opportunity to refresh and recover itself. Going to bed and sleeping by 10pm and waking at 6am daily are good habits. In our hectic Singapore life, this is often neglected. During the day, have a shut eye for a few minutes if necessary. Listen and obey the signals of your body. It will tell you when you are tired. You will feel it. Don't resist, go to sleep and allow the body to do its recovery and refresh work.
Eat well. Have a good spread of food as your body needs the nutrition to replenish and re-build itself. If necessary eat smaller portions spread out over five meals, otherwise the normal three meals a day will do. One doctor recently told me that my tummy was showing but he quickly added that I should not go on a diet. This is because for cancer survivors weight gain means that we are recovering well from our treatment ordeal.
Many survivors go on a diet after their treatment. They tend to restrict their diet and shun certain types of food. My wife Margaret also put me on a diet and told me to avoid red meat, sugar and milk based foods after I completed my treatment in 2003. Personally, I don’t believe that food is the cause of cancer. If so, then everyone in the world will at one time or another contract the illness. But I do believe that certain types of food like BBQ food and the like, are not good for the body, so I avoid them.
Margaret, like all wonderful caregivers, is concerned for my health and well being. I therefore comply with her wishes and avoid the food mentioned above. As my family doctor once said, if I avoid these foods, it will make my wife happy. And if my wife is happy, I will be happy too, since she will not nag me. Wise words!
My doctor suggested for example, that I fulfil my protein intake with chicken and fish instead of red meat. Remember, eating well is vital to our well being. Our body needs the nutrition in order for us to put on weight. Putting on weight is a good sign of recovery.
Exercise is good, especially early morning walks in the park or the seaside when the air is still fresh. Take in the fresh air by breathing deeply into your stomach and slowly releasing the air through your mouth. Stand on the grass without your footwear and allow the negative ions to be discharged from your body. If you are up to it, ride the bicycle. The endorphin rush from the oxygen intake will be a good defence against cancer cells. Cancer cells cannot survive in a rich oxygen environment. There are many other forms of exercise, like qigong, yoga, and for the more athletic, long distance runs and even swimming. To each his own as long as one takes on some form of exercise.
Removing stress is easier said than done as we are always faced with plenty of it in our daily life. But making a conscious attempt to remove or lower stress in our body should be a priority. Many of us cancer survivors believe that stress is probably the sole trigger point for our cancer. So, do re-prioritise your work/life balance.
With cancer, we should look at how best to live our life to the fullest instead of going back to the daily grind. Don't get me wrong. We still have to work for a living but work should not dominate our life. Spend more time on walks, eating out with family and friends, laugh more, travel and take overseas vacations if you can - these are some of the ways of releasing your daily stress.
Looking good from the inside
Finally, I believe that if the inside of your body is good, your outside will radiate and look good naturally. People around you will be able to see it and they will say you look good because it is all natural coming from inside your body. You can then say surely, and with confidence, that you are a picture of health.
Calling himself a Nose Cancer Ambassador, Thiam Chye aims to de-mystify nose cancer by encouraging all survivors to share their personal experiences in their fight against cancer, to enable new patients to undergo their treatment with courage and minimal pain, and to lead a better quality of life on recovery. Should you wish to join the support group in its activities, or need guidance on this article, please email him at
We hope you benefit from the sharing by the authors. As each of us may respond differently to the experiences shared by our survivors, do exercise your discretion. The articles are strictly the personal views of the authors. They do not represent the views of the NPC Support Group and its members, nor the views of the
National Cancer Centre of Singapore (NCCS) and
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