I've been thinking a lot about faces lately. Sounds strange, I know. Kate Ferry, an artist from Iberia Parish, painted our Games of Acadiana poster this year. She was inspired by the faces of Miles Perret Cancer Services.
Kate said, "Their faces all show such courage, strength and love of life."
Boy, isn't that the truth. There is something so powerful about the face of a cancer survivor. Here at Miles Perret Cancer Services, one face has been changing drastically and the transformation is awesome.
I've been drawn to Rebecca Trahan since the first day she walked through our doors. Recently, she reminded me that I was the first person she spoke to at Miles Perret.
She is like a lot of us. She is married and a mother of two young boys and she has struggled with her weight since she was a teenager. Before she got cancer, she thought the only way out was to have gastric bypass surgery. That was her plan before Oct. 29, 2008.
Then, she was diagnosed with cancer. She had a double mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy.
During her treatment and recovery, Trahan read about our Wellness Program.
"When I got the monthly flier I thought, let me try to do it that way and I did! I lost 50 pounds!" she exclaimed over the phone.
Rebecca says "awesome" a lot when I ask her about her life since coming to Miles Perret Cancer Services for support. She works out in our Wellness Center three days a week. She also attended a cooking class at Miles Perret to learn how to eat healthier.
"I think that I would still be 262 pounds and eating unhealthy stuff if they didn't have Miles Perret," she told me.
Our Wellness Center is inspiring cancer survivors, at all stages, to get healthy. Here's why it is so important.
n Science shows that exercising 10 minutes a day can reduce fatigue and stimulate the immune system of cancer patients during treatment.
n Evidence shows that cancer patients who participate in Pilates and Yoga classes have lower levels of depression.
n Endurance-type exercises such as walking and cycling are effective at increasing the body's natural levels of antioxidants to prevent recurrence of cancer.
n Strength exercises can improve muscle tone which gives us more energy and promotes a healthy body composition, an important way to decrease our risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
There is a picture of Trahan hanging at Miles Perret Cancer Services. She is 50 pound heavier in it.
"Oh my God! That is not me," she exclaimed when I brought it up.
She is right; it does not look like the same person.
"I feel so good that I inspire other people. I'm helping myself and helping others. They see me and say, I can do it, too."
Her face captures what Kate Ferry was talking about. I see courage, strength and a love of life.
If you have questions or comments about wellness and cancer, e-mail Julie Kelley at email@example.com.