PAVING the Path to Wellness: Tiffany's story
- Mass General Cancer Center patient Tiffany Hogan shares in her own words how the PAVING the Path to Wellness program supported her through breast cancer treatment.
- Tiffany also shares healthy changes that she's made since starting the program.
- "This time I felt ready to handle whatever is thrown at me. I felt empowered with information and support."
"Learning I had cancer was the worst day of my life. The weeks to follow were bleak. Telling my family and friends, meeting with doctors, taking medical leave, figuring out schedules. I wondered if I’d be around to see my children grow. Thankfully I had an amazing medical team and support system. Over time as treatment began to work and I met with my therapist, cancer felt less like a scary black hole I’d fallen into and more like a part of me I would learn to accept."
"During my treatment plan – chemo, surgery, more chemo, and finally radiation – I had down times to ‘recover’ before the next regime. During these down times I began to think about how to live life after active cancer treatment. I spent hours Googling. And there was A LOT to take in. Should I be on a keto diet or go vegan? How much should I exercise? What types of exercise? Should I take supplements? Which ones? How do I reduce stress? It was overwhelming and often I threw my hands in the air feeling exhausted and parallelized."
"Enter the PAVING the Path to Wellness program. Twelve weeks of meeting once a week with amazing woman affected by breast cancer. Some were still in active treatment, like me. Some had been out of treatment for months to years. All were there to learn and support each other. Each week we discussed the science and practical application of healthy lifestyle choices – nutrition, exercise, sleep, social connections, etc. Slowly I felt empowered. One day I was feeling down and decided to write out the daily changes I’ve made since starting the program, and there were 25. Twenty-five healthy changes!"
"I finished radiation yesterday and leaving the Cancer Center I had a very different feeling than I’d had in the past. This time I felt ready to handle whatever is thrown at me. I felt empowered with information and support. I will always have a risk of recurrence but instead of focusing on that risk, I will focus on what I can do to live a healthy, happy life, whatever may come. Thank you to Dr. Comander, Ms. Haggett, and Ms. Abraham and the many guest speakers for generously sharing your time and expertise with us. Thank you to my soul sisters in the program. I look forward to continuing to support each other in this journey. Whatever comes our way, we now have the tools to handle it thanks to what we learned in the PAVING program."
I will always have a risk of recurrence but instead of focusing on that risk, I will focus on what I can do to live a healthy, happy life, whatever may come.
"Things I've started doing since the beginning of the PAVING course (they are mostly daily habits now):
- Enrolled in Noom – app to track calories, water, exercise – to help lose weight.
- Started listening to Ten Percent Happier Podcast, The Happiness Lab, and On Purpose.
- Four weeks ago began meditating 30 mins a day.
- Started weekly acupuncture sessions.
- Started working out 30 mins a day/5 days a week using Apple Fitness app.
- Try to eat 5 cups of vegetables a day (eating more vegetables than I have ever eaten!).
- Drink Spindrift and tart cherry juice.
- Use strength training bands 3-5x a week.
- Don’t eat after 7pm – start eating at 8am (13 hour fast).
- Consistently sleep from 11pm-7am.
- Use gratitude journal and mantra book most nights.
- Use toxic free makeup, facial regimen, shampoo, nail polish, laundry detergent, and cleaning products.
- Add ½ cup of matcha to latte or smoothie each day.
- Have Daily Harvest smoothie for lunch each day.
- Read 10% Happier and re-read self compassion book.
- Meet with some friend each week to connect.
- Take a 10 min break to do a daily crossword puzzle (started this in January).
- Only eat meat at dinner.
- Eat one fish a week.
- Limit red meat to one time a month.
- Learned how to apply makeup like a pro.
- Continued to see therapist.
All combined help me feel empowered to be in the moment and able to handle anything the future brings."