For the past few months I have had the privilege to have been a member of the Survivor's Day committee at The Cancer Institute of NJ(CINJ) . The theme for this year's event was iSurvive... iThrive.
Yesterday as patients came through the revolving door at CINJ they were greeted by the nurses, doctors researchers and staff . There were many hugs and hand shakes and "it is great to see you" .
The day began with some participants taking part in a tour of two research laboratories .
Then the break-out session started in rooms throughout the center. Here are some of the topics the patients could choose from:
iTailor Treatments- the science behind personalized medicine
iIntegrate- complementary medicine
iParticipate- the importance of clinical trials
iGraze- healthy eating
iBreathe- letting go of stress
iMove- activity during and after treatment
I attended the iIntegrate and iMove sessions. Meg McQuarrie from the Elixir Fund spoke about meditation, acupuncture and yoga and other forms of complimentary medicine but the best part being able to learn some Jin Shin Jyutsu moves. I know I can easily put what I learned to practice.
The iMove session with Lexi Anderson from the LiveSTRONG at the YMCA and Dr Coups a behavioral therapist from CINJ explained how patients should not be sedentary during and after treatment but that we should try to be active every day. The goal is to reach 150 minutes per week of moderate activity. They explained that activity does not have to necessarily be a sport , like tennis or basketball but could include walking, gardening, riding a bike, swimming and even cleaning the house. They also said the150 minutes does not have to be in 30 or 40 minute chunks of time but 10 minutes here and there throughout the day are helpful too.
After the sessions we all went over to the atrium of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for an interactive lunch. After a brief exercise session by LiveSTRONG at the YMCA, Panera bread demonstrated how to make a healthy salad. Thanks Panera for the delicious food.
I saw many fellow ovarian and breast cancer survivors and their caregivers a well as many of the nurses and receptionists I know from the clinic. But I think Dr Susan Goodin , Associate Director of Clinical Trials said it best a lunch Survivors Day for her is like a "family reunion."Indeed, it was.
Every Day is a Blessing!