(Photo: Andrew Eccles)
Are you still off sugar, wheat, and dairy like you were during your treatment?
I’m not as strict as I was because going on a restrictive diet during treatment meant that I didn’t have a lot of the crummy side effects of chemotherapy. I went bald, but I didn’t lose my fingernails, I wasn’t throwing up all the time. But now, it’s very difficult when you’re living in a house with two 10-year-olds and two 12-year-olds. I’m not an all-or-nothing person. I have to live with some compromises in order to live congenially with my family.
You seem so much younger than you are, and I don’t mean just in looks. Do you have an age you are in your head?
Forty-five! I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that I’m 65. To me that’s totally not possible. I wear leggings and boots! I work out and climb mountains! I’m a young person! But of course, if you ask anyone, “What is a senior person?” that answer is: 15 years older than you are.
And it probably helps that you’re married to someone 10 years younger.
Here’s something: When I was 29 years old, I got married to a guy who was 39 years old. We had three kids, but our likes and life were so disparate. You know, like, he wanted to go to jazz clubs and I wanted to go to a Pearl Jam concert. We were just so different, and so we got divorced. Twenty years later, I got married again when I was 49—and again I married a guy who was 39. Again.
Related: >10 Little Things Connected Couples Do
That age is the sweet spot for you.
Yes. And the second time worked out much better.
So you’re married to a man 10 years younger, and you had two sets of twins, by surrogacy, in your 50s. Do you think something about the way we perceive age has changed?
We used to think that at 50 years old you were over the hill, and at 60 you retired, and you were probably dead at 70 or 75. Well, guess what: The average life expectancy of a woman is around 85 and men a few years younger. If we’re going to be living 20 to 30 years longer than previous generations, isn’t it that much more important to invest in our health? Like, who wants the extra 30 years if you’re going to have chronic illness and you’re going to feel horrible?
America hasn’t embraced this yet. Prevention is the one thing within our power, within our reach. And yet it’s easier to just say, “Well, you know, it’s destiny.” It’s not destiny. We predetermine our longevity by the life choices and the health choices we make today.
What other emotional factors have played a role in your recovery?
For the first 40 years of my life, I was incredibly shallow! I didn’t really introduce my real self to my spiritual side until I turned 40 and decided to take care of my health and change my life. I lost about 40 pounds, changed how I ate, and added exercise to my life. And I don’t think it’s that unusual for people who take control of their body on the outside to look for change on the inside. What if I could be more peaceful, more mindful? That’s where spirituality entered my life.
(Photo: Andrew Eccles)
How does mindfulness help you control your reactions to stress, fear, and anger?
I think most people believe how you react to events is not a choice. But you do have a choice. A simple example: Sometimes when I’m driving and I get all stressed out about something, I’ll say, Wait a second. Do you really want to go there?
Certainly one event that could have sparked a reaction was losing your hair. Do you still have the hair you buzzed off before chemo?
Yes! It’s in a piece of tinfoil in the back of my drawer. I can’t explain why I saved that hair. I also have all my wigs.
Related: >Why The Heck Is My Hair Falling Out?
You’ve kept the wigs?
It’s too fresh. Too recent. Too real. Too unbelievable to be able to give them away and feel comfortable with that.
Do you still keep a journal?
Yes. I’ve done that for years. And I always title my journals.
What’s your latest one called?
“I Will Survive.”
So does that mean your anthem has changed from “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face”?
Now I think it’s “Fight Song"—it’s the song played at all breast cancer events. I’ve done 15 breast cancer events in the past few weeks, and I’ve always walked out on stage to that song. [This is my fight song / Take back my life song / Prove I’m all right song / My power’s turned on / Starting right now I’ll be strong]
I just met the artist, Rachel Platten. It’s a song that can mean something different for everyone, but she told me, "I worked for 16 years to try to make a career in music, and I’d just about given up, and then I wrote that song. I still have the fight left in me.”
And I put my arms around her and said, “Do you have any idea of how much you have empowered women battling breast cancer?” And both of us were in tears.
Related: >10 Things Your Breasts Say About Your Health
The Many Reinventions of Joan Lunden 20s: View photos
(Photo: Micheal Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
While her peers stressed about finals, Lunden spent her last year of college building her future. “I opened a modeling school, because it was something I could do,” she says. Then-20-something Lunden put on fashion shows—and still finished her homework.
30s: View photos
(Photo: Joe McNally/Getty Images)
Lunden caught her big break as a feature news and consumer reporter for Good Morning America in 1976. Four years later, she jumped to GMA cohost and became a household name to her devoted viewership. “I was in their living rooms for 2 decades,” she says. “And I’ve shared a lot of my personal life with them.”
(Photo: George Holz/Getty Images)
After she left GMA in 1997, the 47-year-old mom of three spent 2 years traveling with motivational speaker Tony Robbins and speaking to crowds of 20,000, despite her fear of public speaking. “My chest got red and rashy, and I would get a stomachache,” she says. “But I turned a total fear into a passion.”
(Photo: L. Busacca/Getty Images)
By the time she reached 50, Lunden had married a man 10 years her junior and raised three daughters from her previous marriage—but she wanted more. Through the help of a surrogate mother, Lunden and her husband welcomed a set of twins in 2003 and another set in 2005.
(Photo: Ruven Afanador/Corbis Outline)
In June 2014, at 63, Lunden heard three scary words, “You have cancer.” After 9 months of aggressive treatment to rid her body of breast cancer cells and two tumors, Lunden’s disease went into remission. She still lives with the worry it’ll come back. “Cancer is not something that you get and get cured and never worry about again,” she says. “It really isn’t.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Joan Lunden)
Even through 16 rounds of chemotherapy, Lunden stayed upbeat and positive. Now, having beaten her cancer, she’s found a new purpose in life—to support and empower women facing breast cancer. “I feel compelled to go out there and make other women more aware and vigilant.”
By Judith Newman
This article ‘ What Life Is Really Like After Breast Cancer—Joan Lunden Gets Personal’ originally ran on Prevention.com.
Source : https://ca.news.yahoo.com/what-life-is-really-like-after-breast-cancerjoan-205954813.html