Colorectal cancer survivors, caregivers, and loved ones were asked: What's the best nutrition advice you've ever reviewed (and stuck with!)? Check out their responses below!

DENELLE SURANSKI
Stage II Survivor

Denelle Suranski headshot

“Having an associate's degree as a dietetic technician and a chef apprentice, I am very passionate about nutrition and what I’ve learned. I can give the most solid words of advice: Eat to live; don't live to eat. For example, when you eat, think about how nurturing it truly is for your body. Are you eating because you're hungry or because it tastes good? It’s also important to eat farm to table. When eating, think about how many processes your food had to go through for it to look the way it does. Was it a lot, or is your food simple—like something straight from the farm? Are you eating a potato or a potato chip? This advice has personally helped me and fueled my passion for helping others.”

SHEILA SCHRACK
Stage III Survivor

sheila-colonoscopypreptips

"I reached out to a nutritionist after having increased abdominal pain and constipation. My GI had placed me on a prescription medication after he learned I took four MiraLAX® daily and still had issues. I was speaking with another advocate at Call-on Congress and she recommended a nutritionist from Chicago. Since I’m in Ohio, we had consultations via phone or email. I shared I had already cut out gluten, cruciferous vegetables, corn, and popcorn. We worked together on a meal plan and it helped greatly for a long time. But, slowly over time, I have begun having more problems. I am getting new tests done—a CT scan and a gastric emptying test. It is so frustrating and my quality of life has taken a decline. I have swung from being bloated and constipated to severe diarrhea. But, I don’t give up and I keep searching for answers, hoping to find what will help both me and other patients. I recently began PT for pelvic floor strengthening and it's helping.”

JOSH WIMBERLY
Stage IV Survivor

"Ask for a referral to a dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition coach. Trust their knowledge as much as you trust your oncologist's, for they should be part of your treatment team. Exercise goes right along with my nutrition advice and comes from advice I've learned from my coaches. BE CONSISTENT! That's the hardest and most successful strategy. There is no magic diet, no magic exercise plan, nor a magic wand. The true success behind any program is someone's discipline and consistency.”

EVAN CANTWELL
Stage III Survivor

"After eating corn chips for three years, I needed bowel resection surgery for a perforated small intestine. Listen to advice! Challenged physically with both a urostomy and ileostomy, I started being more intentional about both natural foods and non-sugary electrolyte supplements like Nuun, balancing my sodium and potassium. This is helping me embrace a more active lifestyle while staying hydrated.”

Spotlighting

Carrie Lynn Gibson, M.Ed & Wellness, RDN, LND
Assistant Chief for Nutrition and Food Service

Carrie Gibson

Carrie is a familiar face around Fight CRC. She and her twin sister Elsa are devoted advocates based in Puerto Rico. In fact, Carrie got permission from her hospital to represent Fight CRC during March and has presented about the impact of micro and macronutrients in CRC at conferences. Additionally, posting a #StrongArmSelfie and reaching out to representatives in D.C. are some of the many ways Carrie is fighting colorectal cancer.

In her role at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System, she works to improve the health of her entire community as a dietitian.

“I’ve always been curious about how our dietary patterns affect our physical and mental health. I was once told that nutrition science is always changing and evolving, and that dietitians will have to study forever...that sounded like a good challenge for me. I’m very grateful for this job and I enjoy every day to the fullest. Every day is a challenge; every day is very different. I interact with a lot of different people from all types of services to achieve positive results for our entire community of patients and residents. I love that my work directly impacts and can improve others’ lives.”

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Food. We can't live without it, but for many in the colorectal cancer community, it's hard to live with it. Yet as doctors, nutritionists, and research data all say: Diet and nutrition play an essential role in cancer prevention and treatment. Food is a topic we can't ignore.

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