Five Years Plus

I began Five Years Plus in the dead of winter, on the eve of the five year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. The act of starting the blog spun me into a period of over-excitement and sleep deprivation which I chronicled in Good Night Sweet Princess. In my third post I introduced my struggles with over-eating and the constant vigilance it takes to feed myself properly.

The subject of eating is a big part of my life and has likewise been featured in a number of blog posts. In Special Breakfast I introduced the general idea of food as medicine and that eating well is an act of self-love. At times I included recipes which reflect the changing seasons, such as cabbage soup in winter  and coconut ice cream in summer. I have written about foods that I use, like eggs or the sugar substitute stevia, and those that I’ve moved away from for health reasons, such as soy.

With the coming of spring I got fired up about eating locally, writing a series on this topic and coming up with four keys to get started:

  1. shopping at local farmers’ markets
  2. sourcing local pasture raised meat and eggs
  3. subscribing to a CSA (community supported agriculture)
  4. supporting local foods restaurants

As summer and berry season rolled around I added a fifth key: pick local (organic) berries

In addition to eating locally whenever possible, I am committed to the Paleo diet that features meat, fish, eggs, plenty of vegetables, fruit and some nuts and seeds, thereby resembling what our Paleolithic ancestors may have eaten. Although I was a vegetarian for many years I now choose to include meat in my diet. I have to admit, I find it an ongoing challenge to eat in accordance with my intentions, especially when eating out or on vacation. One of my most enjoyable eating experiences was a period of time where I was paying deep attention to the way I eat.

When we think about taking care of ourselves, diet and exercise come to mind first. Moving my body is fundamental to my own well-being and my work outside our home is dedicated to teaching others to be present in their bodies through yoga and tennis. I credit tennis with helping me “get back into life fully” after my breast cancer treatment and continue to better myself through competition. The desire to be strong enough to play tennis well helps fuel my motivation to work out two or three times each week.

Although my experience with breast cancer has infiltrated every aspect of my life, I see that only a few posts relate specifically to cancer or medical issues. I outlined ideas for getting started on an alternative path when first being diagnosed and written some advice about do’s and don’ts when dealing with friends who have been diagnosed. I touched on iatrogenic (medically) caused illness and the uncertainty of imaging techniques through a story about my beloved cat. I am also well aware that I have not settled my inquiry into breast screening techniques and that my next oncologist appointment is approaching.

Writing this blog does take a tremendous amount of time and determination. In return, it helps me to live a more examined life and to believe that perhaps through my efforts I am making a difference. As I reflect over this past six months I recognize that I have made positive changes in my life. My diet has improved, my workouts are regular and my sleep and moods are in equilibrium. At the same time I see there are areas where I continue to struggle and need more awareness and self-love. I believe we all have a great deal to share with one another and I intend to continue to learn to harness the power of the internet to benefit all of us.

This review is an exerpt from my 26th post. You can click on any of the highlighted words or phrases to take you directly to the post that it refers to. I really appreciate you reading Five Years Plus, commenting and passing the link along to others who might enjoy it. If you want to have each weekly post automagicallly delivered to your Email inbox, click on “Email Subscription” on the right side of this page and enter your Email address. Beware though, you need to open a confirmation Email which may end up in your “junk” folder rather than your regular inbox.


Love that you are living so intentionally. I am 4 years out this July and find that it is sometimes hard for me to remain vigilant to those things that I was so aware of during the early days of my diagnosis.

gyatazen says:

Oh absolutely. I find I have to start each day afresh. And even having faced a life threatening disease, I have to remind myself not to take this life for granted.

I am absolutely thrilled to find your site. I am a women’s health nurse practitioner with a private practice in Thermography. MY goal is help women prevent breast cancer. . . not just continue with the allopathic goals of only detection.

I believe food is our greatest medicine and you are a gift to this new paradigm of living in in a way that supports; that we are what we eat and we are what we meditate on.

All my love, Karin

gyatazen says:

Hi Karin,
Great to hear from you. Sounds like you’re doing some really important work. I look forward to exploring your website.

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