Schmid had a background in health and fitness even before she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, but her principles of healthy living and exercise were further valued and put to use in her experience to get through breast cancer. After the cancer experience, Schmid was motivated to write a book to help those who know the breast cancer experience.
“The book is not just meant for survivors, it’s meant to benefit those around a cancer-stricken person as well,” Schmid said. “It also informs about cancer risk, and early detection, and how to support a person with cancer. It helps a person to understand better what a person with cancer is going through. It helps a reader to understand the cancer experience better.
“I would have loved to have had a book like this when I went through my cancer.”
Schmid’s book “101 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer” has glowing endorsements.
Dr. Pam Peeke MD, MPH, FACP and chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health and Chief Lifestyle Expert for WebMD said, “This book is a must for anyone whose life has been affected by breast cancer. Pam nails it with simple, easy to digest facts and figures providing an invaluable blueprint for not just surviving, but thriving through diagnosis, treatment, and embracing life beyond.”
Sharon Biglow, RN, MSN, and cofounder of Navigate Cancer Foundation, the sole nurse navigation services for LIVESTRONG said, “Every woman, regardless of cancer status, should have a copy of this resource guide in their home.”
Schmid tries to ‘clarify’ and ‘simplify’ details that come with the struggles with fighting breast cancer and she has many suggestions about approaches to take in the fight.
“Inside of the book is a compilation of everything that I learned,” Schmid said. “I learned the world of early detection, about cancer risk, I learned a lot about being mentored.
“I knew before the cancer that life was short and to be treasured for the experience, but I definitely increased in my appreciation for the fact that our mortality is right in front of us and you can’t take it for granted. I don’t take a breath, I don’t take a single day for granted. It’s [life] amplified, maybe more that for a person who isn’t facing cancer or a chronic illness. The bottom line is that we’re all terminal, we’re all dying, and it’s just that we have the gift of knowing that it may come sooner than later. That pushes you to live your best life.”
The book includes nine chapters of rich information beginning with facts about prevention, early detection, risks, dealing with breast cancer diagnoses, side effects, and her ‘Optimal Well-Being’ suggestions and concludes with a final chapter on survivorship.
The book’s existence was built on her total engagement of cancer-fighting activity and throwing her energy at educational causes.
After her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2004, Schmid began speaking and writing to educate and empower patients. Her business Priorities Simplified provides wellness services including wellness coaching, speaking and consulting to individuals, businesses, and organizations.
She is the creator of Healthy and Fit After Cancer programs that were established to give survivors a pathway to feeling their best with powerful, yet practical steps that inspire hope, possibility, and strength to follow their vision of health and well-being after a diagnosis of cancer.
Schmid was a founding member of the Duke Patient Advocacy Council, co-chair for the NC Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship workgroup, three-time Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG national delegate, Global Summit volunteer, and LIVESTRONG leader. She also was the recipient of the Jonquil Award in 2005, from the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Schmid’s central points of recommendations are to exercise and make healthy living habits and choices, and to know that your mindset needs balance.
Of course, a positive attitude is required too when fighting cancer, but Schmid said the natural negative emotion is part of the equation.
“The thing about that [negativity] is we have to be so careful because it is important to experience the grief and loss, for me, the loss of a breast, my bone health, my physical health, loss of muscle, losing hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, my good health that I had worked so hard to build, that was devastating,” Schmid said. “I was a positive person before but I didn’t say ‘oh this is nothing, I’ll just stay positive and get through this. That’s not healthy either.
“It’s healthy to experience the loss, to cry, have emotional release. You have to do what you have to do to work through the frustrations. But you absolutely have to get back on track with a positive mindset. Lots of women are depressed when going through something like this, and for good reason. Bad things can happen.”
Psychology certainly has a role in the fight too.
“Positive psychologists have said that thriving in the world is really about balancing positive with negative [emotions]. It’s a three-to-one ratio, so three positives to one negative,” Schmid said. “Positive emotions are things like gratitude, appreciation, savoring the moment, being present, being mindful, and allowing yourself to feel joy and have laughter. It’s not all about ‘oh I’m going to be positive minded through this no matter what. It’s not the Pollyanna kind of positive.
“Dealing with negative emotion is part of the experience and balancing them [positive with negative] is how you best function.”
Schmid is a stickler for exercise and will always suggest the importance of it. She recommends exercising during treatments if one can, and certainly taking up exercise after treatment.
“Exercise is therapeutic, its medicine,” Schmid said. “Exercise helps with the healing process.”
She, like many cancer survivors, have to continue to take medicine that cause side effects, but physical activity can counter any negative impact that the chemicals in the medicine cause on a person’s body.
“If I exercise every morning, I feel better,” Schmid said. “I don’t have that same fatigue that I would if I didn’t exercise. That goes for most everyone. Exercising and healthy lifestyle habits will help the recovery better in its quality.”
Table of Contents in ‘101 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer” by Pam Schmid
Chapter 1: Risk, Prevention, and Other Facts: Can It Happen To You?
Chapter 2: Early Detection
Chapter 3: When Someone Is Diagnosed
Chapter 4: Treatments for Breast Cancer
Chapter 5: Side Effects You May Not Know About and What You Can Do About Them
Chapter 6: Optimal Well-Being During Treatment
Chapter 7: Optimal Well-Being After Treatment
Chapter 8: Giving, Receiving, and Seeking Support
Chapter 9: Survivorship
Additional information can be found at:
www.pamschmid.com www.healthyandfitaftercancer.com www.prioritiessimplified.com
Buying the book “101 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer” from Pam’s website provides proceeds to scholarships for coaching cancer survivors. Book purchases in retail outlets do not provide the scholarship benefits in the fight against breast cancer.
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