The benefits exercising during breast cancer treatment

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fitness Tip

The last time I wrote about my journey with cancer I was at the beginning of my chemotherapy treatments. I finished those treatments on December 14, 2006, two weeks later than expected because of some complications that caused my blood counts to be unacceptable to the doctor.

During the chemotherapy I lost all my red hair, my eyebrows and my eyelashes. As of today my hair is growing back, but no sign of my eyebrows or eyelashes. I also knew going in that I was going to go bald and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, but I thought I could push my way through the fatigue and go on as usual with my daily activities. Not!!! I was able to keep working with my personal training clients but had to give up my boot camps. The running pretty much came to a halt except for some walking on my really good days. My weekly mileage went from about 20 miles a week to 2 ½. Some weeks I couldn’t even do any exercise.

The good news is that since January 1st I have increased my exercise and I know eventually my stamina will increase. I may not get completely back to the level I was at before the cancer but I am certain I will improve from where I’m at currently.

I do believe I handled the chemotherapy better because I was in good physical condition before I started. I also credit some of my long Ride and Tie races and marathon training with helping me handle the mental aspect of the discomforts and fatigue of the chemo.

What I have learned from all of this is that everyone needs to listen to their own body and do the best they can. I was able to walk the Big Sur Half Marathon on October 29th with three of my clients/friends. Two of the people are mountain residents Carol Lard and Kristy Keyser. It took us about 45 minutes longer because of my slower pace, but it was just as satisfying as any of the other races we have completed together.

Many people have faced situations like mine, some much more severe and other not so serious. Think of people coming back from war with lost limbs but taking up running, skiing and other sports. People diagnosed with diabetes and finally realizing that exercise and diet are ways they can control their disease without medication.

So, my advice to everybody is this; exercise to prepare for your future no matter your age, current physical ability or past history. You can improve mentally and physically. You will be better able to handle aging, ailments and stress. You may also be able to ward off diseases. This is your future. Make it the best it can be.

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