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What I Learned From Breast Cancer—Patti Gras

by Patti Gras

Two years ago around this time, I was going through radiation for breast cancer. I called the technicians doing it the boob paparazzi! I described the process as an intense photography of my breasts. It was no laughing matter, but I had to make myself laugh at least once a day as part of my therapy.

Looking back it seems like ages ago. I remember how easy it was to go through it until the end, when your skin is so burned and gets so sensitive, there is not much you can do but wait for it to heal. What is very strange to me now is that after all the treatments (I was lucky I didn’t need chemo) I never felt healthier in my life.

Thanks to cancer, I began Pilates classes, continued with my daily yoga and prayer routine and began to exercise every day. My diet also changed. I cut back on alcohol and sugar quite a bit when I found cancer cells could grow more when our bodies produce too much insulin. This in turn helped me release weight. I also cut flour and processed products because frankly, who needs them! In fact I have not been this weight since I was 28 years old.

When I tell people I exercise at least a half an hour a day, they look at me strangely, like, well of course “you don’t have kids” or “you don’t have a husband” or “someone must help you pay your bills.” Then I look back and I tell them. I just move, that’s all. Anyone can do it. I don’t go to the gym, or swim, or need beautiful gym clothes or special shoes. I just move. What do you mean they ask? I turn on the music, and dance! I climb the stairs when I find them. I walk when I go shopping. I just move. If you do housework, that counts as a workout too. I just want to let anyone interested know that because of cancer, I simplified my life. It is a simple routine I have so I can stay in the planet longer.

In sum, I move every day. I don’t eat sugars and flours or try to eat less of them. I pray in the morning and the evening. I do just 10 minutes of yoga a day and Pilates twice a week. That’s my routine. No big deal. There are no excuses for me, because I can’t afford to have them. My life is too precious and now, it is a lot simpler. I have to thank cancer for that.

Texas Conference for Women speaker Patricia Gras is an ardent storyteller, whether it is using the medium of television or music. Her current award-winning show “Living Smart” with Patricia Gras is now airing on over 200 PBS channels across the country. Across her career, has produced and hosted some of the most respected television programs in Houston, including, “Latina Voices: Smart Talk with Minerva Perez and Sofia Adrogue.” Gras is the recipient of more than 170 journalism awards, including six regional and Lone Star Emmy Awards and 16 national Tellys.