Fran Drescher is revealing her secret to staying healthy as she gets older.
During a recent interview, Drescher opened up about how she developed a healthier lifestyle and the lessons she’s learned about advocating for herself and her health following her experience battling cancer.
When it comes to her health, Drescher lives with the motto, “How you live equals how you feel.” “There’s no wiggle room in that,” she told Verywell Health for its digital cover story.
She added, “There are always things you can work on and improve — especially regarding your health.” One of the things she thinks people can improve on is managing their stress levels and “to recognize that stress affects many things relating to your health.”
“I’ve found that my immune system responds poorly to stress. I have to be mindful and say, ‘I can’t get this stressed, or I’ll get sick,’” Drescher said. “When I’m noticing stress, I will force myself to lie down and decompress. Or, I’ll take a walk in the fresh air and appreciate the trees.”
Drescher maintains that allowing stress to take over is not beneficial for her health, saying “you can’t stew in it,” and have to find ways to get out of that headspace.
The 65-year-old “The Nanny” actress explained her goal is to reach “optimal health,” by concentrating on what her body is telling her she needs. In her opinion, this is the easiest way to recognize when something is off, and go find a solution.
“As you age, it’s important to aim for optimal health. To do that, you have to honor your body and really listen to it,” she explained to the outlet. “Your body works hard, and you have to respect it. You can do that by listening to it. And if you think something is going on with your health, pay attention so that you can get to the root of the issue and make the necessary changes. We all deserve a long, healthy life.”
Drescher was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000, and after undergoing a hysterectomy, has remained cancer free ever since. While her story ended positively, Drescher explains it could have gone another way had she not been so vigilant in advocating for her own health.
“Many professionals subscribe to the philosophy that if you hear galloping, don’t look for a zebra because it’s probably a horse,” she said. “But if you happen to be a zebra like I was, there’s the potential to slip through the cracks. I went for seven different second opinions before being diagnosed with cancer. I felt it in my gut and kept seeking care to figure out what was going on with my health.”
Although it took longer than she had hoped to get a diagnosis which made sense to her, Drescher’s cancer was still in stage 1 and had yet to spread. Drescher explained she “had that cancer for at least two years,” saying, “by the grace of God, there was a larger plan for me, and my cancer was slow growing.”
After her experience with the health care system, Drescher started the organization Cancer Schmancer, which aims to help women learn how to stay healthy through teaching them about the importance of early detection, the importance of advocating for yourself and policy change.
“I’m a bit of a control freak. I’ll give a doctor a few tries, and if I feel like it’s not the right fit, I find someone else,” she said about the importance of self-advocating. “It’s important to take responsibility for your own health. It’s your life, and no one will care about it in the way you do. So, you have to do what’s right for you and what you feel good about.”
Drescher previously discussed her struggles through the diagnosis process and the treatment once she was properly diagnosed in her 2002 memoir “Cancer Schmancer.”
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