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Fall 2012

Cancer Survivor's Healthy Mindset

Overcome Life's Obstacles by Staying Positive and Healthy


Gerryanna Luscri, a nurse at Botsford Hospital and two-time
cancer survivor, counts her family among the people in her
support network.

In December 2004, Gerryanna Luscri was told she had breast cancer. It wasn’t the first time.

Luscri, a registered nurse in maternity at Botsford Hospital, had been diagnosed with cancer 11 years earlier. Faced with the impact of a life-threatening illness once again, Luscri could have fallen into despair. But she didn’t. Instead, the mother of three made a conscious decision to stay positive and stay alive.“

I said I didn’t need my breasts to live. That’s the attitude I had to take,” recalls Luscri, who was 40 at the time of her second diagnosis. She also adopted a mantra she learned from her grandmother—“I’m ready to die, but I’m not ready to stop living.”

Luscri, now 48 and a two-time cancer survivor, is living proof that learning how to manage stress can help prepare you for the unexpected.

“No one knows when things are going to happen,” she says. “It’s important to be healthy, so you can get through whatever life throws at you.”

A TOLL ON HEALTH
Stress can cause numerous health problems, including migraines, depression and high blood pressure. “Every dynamic of our body can be influenced. It’s our job to counterbalance that,” explains Luscri. “Many things in life cause stress. Whether or not we allow these things to cause distress is up to us.”

DON’T STRESS… ADAPT INSTEAD
Rather than trying to control or dwell on problems, Luscri advises women to communicate, adapt and focus on solutions. “We need to express what’s happening and look for solutions,” she says. 

Physical activity is also critical to managing stress and improving overall health, notes Luscri. “Exercise should be part of your daily routine. For example, take a walk outside three times a week, or do some lunges while brushing your teeth,” she suggests.

Other tips for managing stress and improving health include eating right, reading and listening to uplifting music. Luscri adds that women should protect their peace of mind.

“Guard yourself. Limit the time you spend with people who injure your spirit,” she says. “As women, we remember to care for others, but we also need to care for ourselves.

“Remember to surround yourself with encouraging and loving people. Luscri notes that her support network and faith assist in her stress relief and have been a big part of her survivorship success.

A positive outlook is another powerful tool for managing stress, Luscri says. “We must adjust our attitudes and change our patterns before we can realize any health benefits,” she emphasizes. “Cancer was part of my story, but it doesn’t define me, I am defining it.”

 

Resources:

Botsford Cancer Center