Strength During Cancer Treatment



Since the holidays have come and gone, I find myself feeling like the Pillsbury Dough Girl. The weight gain from all of the holiday cheer has finally caught up to me. So, what’s a girl to do? I am upping the anty on my exercise regimen and am attempting to lose a few pounds. I am working on building my strength and stamina and would like to run in a 5K race. (Okay, maybe walk).Some days are better than others (though isn’t that the case with everything in life?). As I have been ‘wogging’ (walking/jogging) on the treadmill (and especially when I am in pain or struggling), I find myself thinking about the endurance that it takes to get through cancer treatment and how universal the concept of endurance is. Some fundamental components of endurance include:

  1. Establishing clear goals.During both cancer treatment as well as training, the ultimate goal for me has always been completion, getting to the finish line. In one piece!
  2. Following a routine.Routines were very comforting during treatment. I knew what to expect (for the most part) and allocated time and energy accordingly.  I find the same to be true when I am running/walking/wogging/jogging. I like my shoes tied a certain way, wear the same clothes and eat the same things before my exercise routine.
  3. Pace yourself.It’s never good to go out too strongly and therefore peak to early. When it comes to (pure) running, I like to start slowly and end strongly. When I was sick, I did my best to pace myself and not over exert my emotional or physical energy.  This philosophy was a lifesaver on more than one occasion.
  4. After every treatment just as after every long run, I allow time for recovery. Recovery between chemo treatments was challenging (understatement of the year!), but oh so necessary. Our bodies need to heal after extreme exertion and rest is the best way to do it!
  5. Record progress.When I am working on dropping a few pounds, I keep a record of my progress. It’s fun to see how far I’ve come.  I did the same when I was sick. I kept a calendar to focus on my progress, notes and a journal. It was inspiring!
  6. Choosing your attitude.You know this by now. It’s all about looking at the glass as half full or half empty.  Attitude is truly a choice. Sometimes it’s a really (really!) hard choice, but it is a choice nonetheless.
  7. Having faith in yourself.Know that you have inner strength and resources that, when tapped, can take you to unimaginable places, from finishing a year of grueling cancer treatment to completely an incredibly challenging 5K race. Know and believe that you CAN do this.
  8. Reaching out for support.Whether running with a partner for support or calling on personal or professional encouragement during treatment, support can be an incredible source of strength to buoy you through even the most difficult of circumstances.
  9. Counting your Shining Moments. Even on the darkest, hardest days, when your body hurts the most and you feel more exhausted than you have ever felt in your life, counting Shining Moments will not only get you through, but will inspire you to cross the finish line.

The Shining Moment is that I am MUCH happier training for a 5K rather than getting through chemo treatment, as if that were a question!



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