Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude, and your mood.
I remember wanting to go for a walk the same day I had my surgery done. I just felt like, okay, first step is done…so let’s go to step 2. The sooner I was up and healing, the better! Though my surgery was done robotically, I was still pretty sore. I still had my catheter in and they were giving me things through IV’s so I had to bring the IV pole for a walk too. My husband and nurse had to help me manage everything. All I remember is I was determined to get out of bed and at least go for a short walk in the hallway. After I made that first walk, I remember feeling like I was back in control of my body, even if it was just for a little bit.
Sometimes I felt like I was a little annoying during my 2-day hospital stay because I was wanting to get out of bed and walk throughout the day. Once they removed all my extra “baggage” and gave me the all clear to venture out on my own, again it felt like I had taken another step in my control. Don’t get me wrong I was tired too while in the hospital so rest was important for recovery. However, when I felt strong enough to walk, I could see that each time I was getting just a tiny bit stronger.
As soon as they gave me the okay to start moving, I returned to my 3 days a week Boot Camp. This Boot Camp does weight lifting with some cardio on Monday and Fridays and on Wednesday we use our own bodies as weight by doing things like push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, etc. When I returned, I was still on a lifting restriction so I would just walk slowly on a treadmill while the class was going on. I believe just being there was so beneficial for me, moving my body, and plus having the support of my group again. I also started going to Tai Chi and Zumba class, if I was able.
Throughout Chemo there were many times I couldn’t do what my body “use” to be able to do. I walked instead of jogged, I lifted lighter weights, and I did a few less reps. Every time my body could do just a little bit more, to me, it meant it was healing. I believed I had to keep my good cells happy and strong so the chemo could only kill the bad cells. By having days of feeling stronger, I also believed chemo can be more of a head thing than a body thing, for me anyway. It was also the support of all the people who run or attend the classes I participate in. They never made me feel I was someone with Cancer, we just picked up from where we left off, so most days I would forget too.
I still get tired and need rest, I still have days during the work out I don’t feel as strong as I believe I should be. My Gynecology/Oncology provider tells me it could take up to 1 year at least before I recover from the Chemotherapy affects. But I’m still showing up for fitness, thankful that this body is giving me another day.
They say you are only one work out from a good mood. Next time you need a pick me up, give it a try.