Monday, March 28, 2011

Changing LIves

A friend's daughter, now in college and taking a journalism class, recently asked me if I would agree to be interviewed for a class assignment. I just love watching children grow up into curious and passionate young adults. I agreed in a nano-second, and in fact, her request made my day!

Her questions were good ones. I enjoyed reflecting on my answers. I thought some of my readers might like to read her questions and then also read my responses. Here they are:

1. What made you decide to write 'A Dietitian's Cancer Story'? Was it just because you, yourself, are a cancer survivor?

Pat Anstett, medical writer for The Detroit Free Press, wrote an article in April 1997 about nutrition and breast cancer that included information about me as both a Registered Dietitian and cancer survivor, highlighting what I was choosing to eat to optimize my odds for long-term survival from cancer. This article was picked up by the AP wire service (prior to the day when most newspapers or anybody for that matter were using the internet on a daily basis) and was re-published in dozens and dozens of newspapers all over the country. Over 1500 people found my home phone # and called me, asking for more information, saying they were not getting this information from their cancer center.

I subsequently wrote my book because:
(1) I felt a professional responsibility to share the information I was using for my own personal cancer recovery plan,
(2) to help other cancer survivors have access to reliable information (especially since the majority of cancer centers were not, and are still not, including food and nutrition as part of their comprehensive cancer care), and
(3) with hopes that others would have a cancer recovery journey that would be successful and also less difficult than my own had been.

2. Is there any reason you picked the specific ingredients that you picked for your recipes, especially your shakes?

All foods were chosen because they contain a variety of constituents (molecules, chemicals) that have demonstrated anti-cancer activity and are delicious (i.e., food that is just "medicine" is not worth eating).

3. What's the message that you want people to get from you? In other words, what are/were you attempting to accomplish with your book?

Achieving full health and wellness, i.e. going beyond just "surviving" to actually "thriving", after a cancer diagnosis and treatments does not happen by accident or passively. I hoped to provide both "information and inspiration" to other people on a cancer survivorship journey, to show where they can take control of their life where it can make a difference toward achieving full health again. I hoped to show people who read my book a real life example of what I call "active hope", to show them changes they can make in their own life to optimize their odds for long-term cancer survival and, perhaps even more importantly, an increased quality of life for each and every day that they live going forward, no matter how long or how short the number of those days are.

Who knows? Maybe this young woman will follow in the footsteps of Pat Anstett, the medical writer from The Detroit Free Press who changed my life and then (hopefully) through me, also helped to change the lives of other cancer survivors. This experience helped me fully comprehend "the power of the written word."

Our world needs many more strong, clear, passionate voices from our young adults. I am honored to be a small part of this young woman's future. :-)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Every post reveals to me a little bit more about how amazing you are! I feel so honoured to call you a friend & mentor.