CALLOWAY COUNTY, KY (6/23/12) – Keena Miller was always a prevention-minded individual, getting her regular wellness exams, trying to eat healthy and setting limits on physical activity to avoid injury. Over the past few years, however, she has been forced to take a closer look at how she approaches wellness.
After performing regular self-examinations, Keena was surprised in 2010 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer after a wellness checkup. The key factor she learned? Be sure you are not only doing regular self-exams but also that you are doing them right.
“Women usually do their self-exam standing up in the shower but at the doctor’s office they have you lay down. It’s two totally different ways to check and you should alternate when doing self-exams,” she said.
During the months of treatment that followed, Keena found herself realizing her previous attempts to eat healthy weren’t cutting it. She was eating out too much, reaching for empty calories. Her treatment left her with little appetite, and when she would eat badly her body would react.
“I could feel the direct effect of my eating choices that day. I would be sluggish or just feel bad,” she said. “I really learned the impact nutrition can have on your body.”
Since recovering and regaining her appetite, Keena said it still is a struggle to eat well, but she said she keeps her eyes on a healthy goal and does a much better job managing her nutrition than before. She’ll still eat out occasionally, but says she makes sure to adjust the rest of her meals that day so she stays in a healthy range (not skipping meals, though).
Even before the cancer, Keena would set limits on her physical activity. She would watch some of the more intense classes at the Center for Health and Wellness and think she was past the age where she should be doing activity that intense. One day, she saw some of her friends trying BodyPump and thought she would at least give it a shot.
“Turns out, I could do it. I didn’t think I could and had already set that limit. But you have to challenge yourself. Don’t put yourself at risk but you would be surprised at what you can do if you put your mind to it,” she said.
Through her experience with cancer, Keena has learned that wellness should be looked at from a whole body level. A body that is physically active and fed the right nutrition will fight illness and disease better, as she learned. On top of it all, she says to keep a positive mental attitude, even when things don’t look good. Health is never guaranteed, but she knows her approach to wellness has helped minimize the effect breast cancer could have had on her.
“I just keep thinking to myself that even though I’ve faced cancer, where would I be if I had not been trying to keep myself healthy?”
Information provided by Murray-Calloway County Hospital
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