On December 26, 2018 By Ree M. In post chemo life!
“Always remember how far you have come.. not just how far you have to go. You may not be where you want to be but, neither are you where you used to be!” ~ anonymous
Since I was diagnosed, I went through a lot of blogs and articles trying to figure out and set my expectation levels as to what to expect post chemo but, only until I had to face it myself did I realize the true strength my body had retained. For 6 months, the only physical activity I could do was meet my daily steps as I never found the strength to step outside just for few minute walks and I truly wish I did.
After completion of chemo, I had the hardest first week of as what I like to call it, my ” New Life”! The very first instance was when I had to power walk on the airport, with my bag pack, cabin bag and a wig on along with my fall boots.. *note to self and for everyone who is sailing the same boat… don’t repeat this mistake*, I was so hot and basically a hot mess! Until this episode I clearly had a misconception that my strength would not have deteriorated so much but, I guess I underestimated the power of chemotherapy just a tiny bit more than I should have. Since the 24th of November, it surely has been interesting as to how I wake up feeling, each day is a struggle for sure but, I have made sure that I do whatever I can with the strength I have left to dust the side-effects off of my shoulders and get back up! I think the best way to approach is by goal setting and starting small. Week 1 post chemo, all I could do without much difficulty was walk, the cold definitely does not favor this as it is very difficult to breathe in thin air but, you gotta do what you gotta do! Set goals for daily steps and make sure you meet them. It goes without saying, but I might as well mention it, obviously you don’t have to stress yourself about it but, push yourself. Each time you can’t perform an activity don’t give in, don’t give up and definitely DO NOT take assistance from others! Take your time and give it another shot… believe me you, you will be able to do it and this will not only make you feel better but also help boost your self – confidence. It is important to understand that your strength and endurance will get back to you but, it will take time and it definitely is going to require much more patience than your chemo infusion phase as now, you have the energy to do things you want but not enough strength. And that, is completely okay, frustrating but okay! 🙂
After about 12 days, I started working out properly. The best way to make sure that you are detoxing naturally is by sweating. Yes, it takes about 6 months for the chemo drugs to flush out completely and you can definitely aid balance your body fluids by your dietary intake. I have a huge sweet-tooth so, trust me I know how difficult it is when I say… try avoiding sugar, added sugar! Sadly it is your biggest enemy indeed as research shows, cancer cells feed on sugar. Try substituting your unhealthy cravings by adding more whole foods in your diet. Eat more fruits and especially post last chemo when your blood levels are still low, try eating immunity boosting food. At the same time make sure your electrolytes are balanced. Salads or anything raw is a big NO for me from my doctor for the initial few months so, I would suggest meeting with your doctor and nutritionist before your infusions end as to have a clearer idea on your do’s and dont’s.
As far as workouts are concerned, try basics like walking as I mentioned earlier and eventually start working towards the intensity and duration. Also, start with floor exercises or pilates as they would help burn the fat and get rid of the muscle mass without really tiring you out. YMCA provides a free 12 week program for cancer patients and it comes with a free trainer so you can always ask your doctor for it’s details as well. One of your additional issues like me might be the weight gain that happened during the treatment and I would say focus on gaining your strength back rather than working on your size : *learnt it the hard way*.
I strongly believe that eventually all pieces will fall in place, everything will workout one way or the other. You might not always get what you want or how you want certain things but hey, the least you can do is your part of working towards the small things which will come together to make things straight. Learn to let go of all your worries and anxiety, all your fears and sorrows. Meditate if you must, I am still on the learning path but I am willing to do everything that has proven to help! Cancer came, you fought and you won! If it’s gone, good for you but, if it comes back… make sure you retain that strength and courage to fight it back. Soon after my therapy ended, for some reason I developed this habit of self – pitying myself and feeling bad for my own self forgetting how lucky I was just to be alive and have survived the dragon! DON’T do this to yourself! Be strong, be courageous and never ever forget what came your way and how bravely you fought it and kicked its ass! 😉
So, I hope my blogs have helped you so far in some way or the other and I hope that they continue doing the same. Be kind, grateful, mindful and strong! Eat clean, think clean and live clean and you’ll be just fine! If this doesn’t work then… know that Life and luck can only mess with you for so long! There will be an end to all your worries and the sun will shine bright again!
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!