Mike and Tania’s tips for living well with and beyond bowel cancer
Mike Powell, 66 from Gloucestershire, and Tania Greenwood, 58 from Buckinghamshire, have both been diagnosed with bowel cancer, and today they share with us their top tips on how they live well with and beyond the disease, as part of our ‘Living Well’ health information booklet.
I have been lucky and recovering well from the operation, I think this has been largely down to the wonderful support I receive from my wife Belinda. She has been incredible, looking after me and working miracles in the kitchen to create tasty meals from the limited types of food I was advised to eat at this time. For example:
- We remove skin from chicken and vegetables, like peppers
- Make our own soups using different vegetables, like cauliflower and carrots
- Puréeing vegetables so it’s easier to digest
- Mashing vegetables in to a “cake”, like carrots, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower
- Making our own fish cakes and fish pies
- Having salmon with edible lavender
- Pastas and risottos
- Eating porridge
- Scrambled eggs
One of the first things I did after having my operation was to try and reclaim both my fitness and some of the independence I’d lost whilst being so ill. I listened to my body and rested when I needed to, but I also tried to get out for a walk – fresh air always made me feel better.
At first I was walking very little and I had to go with someone to make sure I was ok. But soon enough I could do it alone. Every day I try and go a little bit further. I’ve even managed to get back to doing Zumba (though the instructor insists I do two songs and then I have a rest for two songs).
It’s also been tough realising that for right now, there are simple tasks I can’t physically do. Like changing the duvet cover or getting the ironing board up. Though I’ve decided to think of that as a mini holiday for me, whilst my husband looks after those chores.
Getting my life back bit by bit has been hugely helpful to me. It means I can look forward to the future and take on each day with positivity.