Support important during illness

Sep. 30, 2013 @ 08:36 AM

I got married in 2006, and got diagnosed with lymphoma in 2007. But my good wife evidently took the marriage vows, in sickness and in health, to heart. She went to work each day, then came straight to where I was getting my cancer treatments and sat with me. Beth offered me nothing but total support all the way through, and I’ve been in remission now for more than five years.
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reminded me of how important having someone to lean on is when undergoing a serious illness. In this study of over 750,000 cancer patients, it was found that married patients who are diagnosed earlier are more apt to complete successful treatments and are 20 percent less likely to die from cancer. The study shows the value of social support; even people who were not married but had family and friends to support them had better results than single people or those without a social network.


Not only are we as a country getting bigger and more obese, so are our dogs. No surprise there, when you think of it. After all, if we are not out exercising, we probably are not about to take the dog for a walk. If we are putting too much food in our mouths, we probably are not thinking too much of giving our dogs nutritious meals. More than half of American dogs are overweight. According to animal researchers, the solution to dog obesity is pretty much the same as for people obesity. Eat less and move more!


With the official arrival of fall last week, the air outside will turn cooler and leaves will change to their beautiful autumn colors. Perhaps it would be a good time to start a walking program, if that is an activity you don’t now enjoy. Walking is safer than jogging, and burns almost as many calories, along with yielding pretty much the same benefits. Durham has many great parks and trails to walk on, or of course you can walk your neighborhood, or maybe find a nearby football field with a track to walk around. I must warn you though; walking can be addictive, but it is a healthy addiction to have.   

“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours, but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? Ride, Pleasure said; Walk, Joy replied.”   W.H. Davies

Lewis Bowling  teaches at N.C. Central University and Duke University. He is the author of several books on fitness and sports. His website is He can be reached at 919-530-6224 and at