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Moldaw Resident Shares about Surviving Breast Cancer in her 80s to Raise Awareness for Cancer Control Month

Gladys Weston of Moldaw Residences  reflects on overcoming breast cancer.
Gladys Weston of Moldaw Residences reflects on overcoming breast cancer.

She is active and optimistic; she believes in maintaining a healthy lifestyle through nutritional dieting choices and daily exercise; and she is a true survivor. Gladys Weston, an 86-year-old at the senior living community Moldaw Residences, is sharing her story of survival to inspire others during Cancer Control Month. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and anxious about her diagnosis of breast cancer in her mid-80s, she felt calm and secure. Weston believes in going to the doctor for regular check-ups and being intentional about making consistent healthy choices. Weston has victoriously moved on from her battle with cancer and enjoys an enriched life of retirement with her husband at Moldaw Residences. She recognizes there are many preventative options available now, and when caught early, it may be possible to beat it. She hopes her story will motivate others to take control of their personal health.

“I consider every year of life a real gift and give thanks for each one,” said Weston. “I encourage everyone to really stay on top of their medical health. You can’t just slide along and wait until you’re not feeling well to go to a doctor. Having regular check-ups and follow-ups to ensure you know what’s going on in your own body is all part of good preventative care.”

Weston is a prime example of courage and strength. Part of the key to her success over the disease was the way she took immediate action and discovered the cancer early. She was having hormone replacement therapy and noticed a small lump, so she wasted no time asking her doctor about it. The biopsy revealed cancerous tissue, and it was up to her to decide how to proceed with a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Weston bravely chose a double mastectomy to ensure she would be rid of the abnormal tissue in the area, which could have led to more cancer later in life if left alone. A team of medical professionals - which included Weston’s own daughter, a local plastic surgeon, helped her through the reconstructive procedure after the surgery. With renewed confidence and good health restored, Weston continues to monitor things regularly with her oncologist.

As a cancer survivor, Weston is always looking for ways to prevent another battle with cancer or any other health issues down the road. Research has shown that physical activity lowers the risk of several cancers and helps lessen the emotional and physical side effects of diagnosis and treatment. Weston takes advantage of the state-of-the-art gym connected to Moldaw Residences at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center to stay fit and encourages everyone to do the same with any nearby fitness center or to just get out and walk more.

“I believe a lot of what determines if someone develops cancer is related to genetics, and unfortunately many of us don’t know enough about our own genes,” described Weston. “However, we can all be more active and engaged physically, socially and intellectually which is good for our overall health. If you don’t use it, you lose it, so that goes for everything. And nothing feels as good as good health.”

Weston saw beyond the diagnosis of breast cancer and realized the opportunities that still lay ahead of her in life, so she took control of the situation to make sure she could enjoy such opportunities. Weston lives a thriving and active life with her husband at Moldaw Residences. They have been there since the first year it opened nearly five years ago and have taken full advantage of the numerous programs and activities provided there. They have learned how to play bridge and enjoy programs offered in collaboration with the community center next door, like musical theater performances with Bonnie Weiss, as well as Moldaw’s current events program. Weston also stays socially engaged and entertained by participating with a group of women there in a weekly game of Mahjong, a calculation game of strategy that originated in China and is similar to rummy. 

“We can learn a lot from remarkable residents here at Moldaw like Gladys,” said Miki Raver, lifestyle services director for Moldaw Residences. “She has enjoyed 67 years of marriage with her husband, George, and believes we all should make the most of our lives. Making healthy decisions like getting check-ups and engaging in physical activity are fundamental steps to doing that.”

  

ABOUT MOLDAW RESIDENCES

Moldaw Residences is an innovative senior living community located at the 8.5 acre Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, adjacent to the 130,000 square foot Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. As a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), Moldaw Residences enables older adults to age in place by providing independent living, assisted living and memory support. Opened in 2009, Moldaw Residences offers 193 maintenance free, spacious apartment homes and extensive social and cultural amenities. Affiliated with the Jewish Senior Living Group, it is open to all faiths, ethnicities, and racial background. 

For more information about Moldaw Residences of Palo Alto, visit www.moldaw.org or call (800) 873-9614.

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