Live by Living Survivor & Caregiver Retreat

TONI  ABBEY  | NOV  30  2019

It’s here! Time to sign-up for Southwest Colorado’s Live by Living  2nd Annual Survivor and Caregiver Retreat. Blueprints of Hope has partnered with Live by Living to bring one of their awesome retreats to our region. This is a two-night free event that begins at 4 pm on Friday evening and ends on Sunday around noon.  It includes a hike, or easy stroll around the Blue Lake Ranch’s bed and breakfast grounds, yoga, meditation, and relaxation around the Casita to soak in the beautiful La Plata mountains. We even feed you! If you have any questions about activities, terrain, difficulty, food, please contact Toni at 970.403.3711. Spaces are limited, so please sign-up at Live by Living soon. If the spots are filled, we will add you to the cancellation list.  Can’t wait to connect with you — I’ll meet you there!



Holding Courage Retreat


Over the weekend we visited the Ghost Ranch to experience some of the awe-inspiring spiritual geology where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted in her lifetime. While there we discovered an incredible resource at Ghost Ranch specifically for cancer survivors – “Holding Courage Retreats,” which are designated as a week-long haven for women who are experiencing cancer.  Their goal is for women to “spend time in a positive process that melds inner reflection and creativity with spirituality through group discussion and sharing, guided mediation, massage, yoga, body and breath work, and art and music therapy.”  The program ends each day with a refreshing, star-filled sky of earned sleep within the majestic canyons and mesas which surround the Ghost Ranch.  For more information, please see Ghost Ranch Holding Courage Retreats or contact Deena and Maureen at The next retreat is August 21-August 27th 2016, and they will hold two more retreats in November of 2016.

What a wonderful gift to share with survivors in our region! Thanks Maureen and Deena for all your work to provide this wonderful experience for cancer survivors.



Surviving Cancer

Autumn country - woman walk dog in meadowSUSIE YOUNG, R.D.  |  OCTOBER 1, 2014

The word “cancer” experienced during a doctor visit is frightening, and the subsequent treatment truly changes a person forever. As a registered dietitian, I have patients ask me if specific diets or supplements “will cure their cancer.”  Below, I will list three common traits that are consistent among cancer patients who seem to do the best during treatment and who recover quickly once treatment has finished.

The most successful survivors I have seen follow three lifestyle patterns. Their success does not depend on the type of cancer, gender, stage of disease, or age – but rather the consistent pattern of these three things; decreasing stress, expanding diet variety and increasing fruits and vegetables, and exercising on a daily basis

1.  Decreasing stress – Successful patients will do two things to decrease stress; surround themselves with loving and supportive people and practice meditation and/or relaxation. This does not mean patients become dependent on others. Instead, they spend time with friends and family members who offer support, love, and respect. They also find time to relax and decompress every day. This mindfulness may just be 5 minutes of watching the birds out of your kitchen window: the key is to find the time to stop – and focus – on what is right in front of you.

2.  Increase variety of diet and eat more fruits and vegetables – The most successful patients eat a minimum of 5 vegetables and 2 fruits per day. There is always an ongoing debate about juicing or eating only vegetables and avoiding fruit due to its sugar content. The argument for either diet plan is unproven and can cause nutrient deficiencies and stress (see point #1). A far better way to eat is to include variety – eat broccoli, mushrooms, onions, berries, bananas, apples, melons, cabbage, Swiss chard, beets, potatoes – yeah, you get the picture. Eat it all, and if you want to become obsessive focus on adding variety. This rule is true for protein sources, dairy products, and whole grains. Eat it all and don’t feel guilty or create more stress.

3.  Complete some type of exercise on a daily basis, even if the exercise lasts 5 or 10 minutes. Exercise boosts the immune system, stabilizes blood sugars, maintains muscle mass, provides a social outing, decreases constipation, improves sleep patterns, decreases stress (see point #1), and improves overall mood and outlook.

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