OutLive helps cancer survivors build healthy and meaning-filled lives by getting active outdoors and connected to others.
The time following cancer treatment can be as traumatic, or more, than time spent in treatment. The goal of treating the cancer has been met, and the team around you is no longer there. You're left with an opportunity for new life, but may instead find yourself facing a void of fear and worry.
Plus, now there are all these ongoing side-effects to deal with from the treatments and surgeries... not to mention health bills, and returning to work or child-rearing or school, and figuring out how to answer the well-meaning "no, really, how are you?" question politely.
One of the greatest difficulties can be a sense of uncertainty and aimlessness. You've been given a green light to return to "normal" life, but what is normal anymore when your cancer could come back at any time, or a new cancer could show up any day?
In most communities, there is a shortage of resources and information for people coming out of cancer treatment. (Time published an excellent article about this by Alice Park in November 2016.) OutLive does not claim to give all the answers, but focuses on two elements:
Setting goals: Goal-setting is an important way to find meaning and emotional recovery after a traumatic event, especially cancer. This is a central concept in the work of 20th Century therapist Viktor Frankl, famously covered in his story of surviving the Auschwitz concentration camp, "Man's Search for Meaning."
Being active outdoors and connected with others: These three elements are being explored increasingly in both general health and mental health circles as key tools for emotional and physical recovery and healing. OutLive provides a growing body of resources and tools for survivors and health providers, as well as hosting outdoor community-oriented events that help get survivors active and engaged with life again.
OutLive helps cancer survivors get active outdoors and connected to others by:
Providing educational and inspirational resources to survivors and their families;
Delivering programs in a variety of activities, settings, and intensity levels to match the needs of the cancer survivor, that connect her/him with fellow survivors and the community at large; and
Providing resources to health providers so they can guide their patients into getting active outdoors and connected to others during or at the conclusion of treatment, particularly within the context of survivorship programs.
These efforts are carried out through both self-initiated efforts and intentional partnerships.
Diet is another crucial piece of the cancer survival, prevention and treatment puzzle. However, it is also prone to wide disagreement, frequent changes in recommendations from the health community, and untested "miracle cures." For that reason, we are staying out of the diet discussion except to say, Eat fresher, eat less processed foods, eat less sugar and you can't go wrong. This article from the Boston Globe sums up our approach.