When Keith Guernsey was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, he had no idea the trajectory his life would take. While his cancer was successfully treated, the momentum was short-lived when a follow-up blood test showed abnormal results.
He was quickly referred to a hematologist and diagnosed with blood cancer. Keith went on to complete induction therapy and an autologous transplant. Although experiencing a minor relapse now, Keith remains optimistic and is willing to share what he has learned with others.
Keith's 9-Step Plan for Living Well with Cancer
- Work with a qualified specialist and follow their recommendations.
- Surround yourself with a support system (family and friends).
- Take all medications as prescribed.
- Eat nutritiously (limit sugary/fatty foods and include fruits and vegetables in every meal).
- Get regular exercise - see more experience/advice on this subject below.
- Take vitamins and supplements only after discussing them with a medical team.
- Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water.
- Find a good sleep routine and stick with it.
- Cultivate and maintain a positive mental attitude.
How to Stay Motivated in Your Movement
Keith's fitness journey began after recovering from brain surgery and hitting the heaviest weight he had ever been. Uncomfortable with this added weight and suffering from obesity side effects, he decided to make a change.
At 4:00 AM every morning for the past decade, Keith enters the gym. He starts with some cardio (such as walking, running, or some cycling), followed by some weight lifting.
1. Start Slow and Stay Moving
If you're new to the gym, or exercise in general, it can be intimidating! Knowing where to start is one of the biggest hurdles you must accomplish. Although Keith had sports training when he was young and was familiar with core exercises needed to spark his fitness, his biggest piece of advice to all blood cancer community members wanting to get more active is, "Start slow and stay moving".
2. Find Someone to Train with or to Train You
Working with a personal trainer or an exercise physiologist might be best for those with significant fractures, lesions, or other concerns. You can ask your specialist or seek for resources at your local specialty center. Find someone familiar with cancer fitness training as there are certain movements and exercises you might want to avoid.
Another aid to motivation is finding someone to work out with. You can stay accountable to each other, entertain each other, and support one another physically and mentally.
3. YouTube Exercises are a Great Guide
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where the internet can facilitate exercise better than ever. If you are looking for a place to start, or wish to switch up your fitness routine, consider searching for easy activities to do at home such as stretching exercises, chair yoga or Tai Chi. You'll be surprised by what you can find!
Remember, the key to success in movement and motivation is to start slow and stay moving.
about the author
Audrey joined the HealthTree Foundation as a Community Manager in 2020 after previously working in the nonprofit field for 4 years as a director of Fundraising and Development. She graduated from BYU with a major in Spanish and Nonprofit Management. Audrey is passionate about serving others, loves learning, and enjoys a nice mug of hot chocolate no matter the weather.