YOU + U S : To g et h e r in spire d ™
Hooked on Breast cancer survivor finds solace teaching what she loves
When Teresa Adams, of Bakersfield, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2015, she was determined to keep doing the things she loved. Especially her No.1 passion: teaching fly fishing to other women. Teresa, 67, and her husband, Brian, are avid fly fishers. Each May, they volunteer at a weekend retreat for women organized by Casting for Recovery, a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the sport of fly fishing. “My treatment ended three days before the retreat in 2016,” says Teresa, who is currently cancer-free. “It wouldn’t have mattered. My doctors knew I would delay my treatments if necessary, because I was going to the retreat.” Despite a family history of breast cancer— her maternal grandmother died of the disease—Teresa thought it might not happen to her. Her mother never had cancer, and both of her sisters were fine. Still, when Teresa got a call from the Adventist Health AIS Cancer
Relaxing retreat: Fly fishing and connecting with other women going through breast cancer comforted Teresa Adams. To learn more about weekend retreats, visit castingforrecovery.org.
4 Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.
hope & healing Center to come in for additional testing after her mammogram, she feared the worst. It was actually good news in some ways. Her screening caught the disease before it could advance and become more serious. “I was extremely lucky,” Teresa says. “My cancer was diagnosed very early. I only needed a lumpectomy and radiation treatments, and now I’m on tamoxifen for four more years. I wasn’t that scared, because the caregivers at the Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center are wonderful. They give you tons of information, and everyone answered all of my questions.”
Casting the blues away One of Teresa’s greatest challenges has been dealing with mood swings, a side effect of tamoxifen, which blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue. “That’s not something a spouse or family member can help you with much,” Teresa says. What made a big difference for her? The Casting for Recovery retreat—and the connections with the women there. “Fly fishing is a very soothing activity. When you’re casting a rod or you’re trying to decide where to put that fly, and trying to fool that fish into thinking that fly you have on the end of your line is a natural food for them, you really can’t think of anything else.” Teresa volunteered with Casting for
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a mammogram appointment today at wecanbeatcancer.org.
Recovery for two years before her breast cancer diagnosis. Going back as a survivor was different, she says. “It’s like suddenly you’ve crossed a line, and your mindset, everything changes,” she says. “I didn’t tell any of the participants. I wanted to make it a special time for them. The staff kept saying, ‘You don’t need to be here,’ and I said, ‘This is where I need to be. This is what I want to do.’”
Moving forward the only way she can While Teresa doesn’t dwell on the future, thoughts of whether her cancer will come back are always in the back of her mind. She just knows she must be diligent—and get on with life. “Going for your checkups and making sure you have regular mammograms is key. It’s really the only thing we can do,” she says. How does she cope when the uncertainty begins to crowd her thoughts? “I go fishing,” she says.
Casting for Recovery retreats
Go fish! Bringing together survivors and smiles Casting for Recovery, headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, gives women with breast cancer the chance to focus on health and happiness during weekend retreats. They gather in beautiful settings to bond with other women while learning the sport of fly fishing. • The retreats combine fly fishing instruction with peer support and breast cancer education. • Offered across the nation, they are free of charge to women at any stage of breast cancer treatment or recovery. Participants range in age as well as socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Retreating to beautiful Lake Arrowhead Women from Bakersfield can apply to attend the Southern California retreat, held yearly in May at Lake Arrowhead. Online applications for 2018 will be accepted from early February to mid-March. When the time comes, you can apply at castingforrecovery.org. All upcoming retreats are listed there. Look for “Retreats” in the main menu. Brochures for Casting for Recovery are also available at the Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center.
Did you know? Physically, the gentle, rhythmic motion of fly casting is similar to the exercises that are often prescribed after breast surgery or radiation to promote soft-tissue stretching. The rhythm of casting the line and being in nature also helps relieve stress and provides a sense of calm.