That just might be my longest title on a post yet:)
We've all heard that we must exercise to help keep our hearts healthy, to keep our weight down, to help prevent diabetes and osteoporosis, to decrease depression, to help prevent cancer, yadda yadda yadda. But an excellent reason, one that I've never heard expressed, is that when you are at least minimally fit and/or active, it is easier to rehabilitate after periods of illness.
As you know, I've done nothing but sit on my arse since December.....mostly just sat on my dupa before that, too, at least since my blood counts bottomed out and, hence, my fatigue levels sky rocketed sometime in October; however, most specifically, since surgery in December and then the four rounds of chemo that I started in January and ended 3.5 weeks ago, I've not done much of anything physically.
However, the time has come for that to end. One of the side effects of the chemo drugs I've been on is peripheral neuropathy, which manifests in many ways, but one way is in muscle weakness and aches. Add to that my overall lack of activity, and I'm a flabby mess.
I'm still feeling quite a bit of fatigue, and I never know when it will hit. It seems like I crash mostly in the late morning and/or late in the day. When I say crash, I really do mean crash, very much like a teenager (I have the opportunity to observe that phenomenon nearly daily). That makes it hard to plan to exercise...I still feel like I need to pace myself. I still feel like I rejuvenate by sitting in the sun for hours. On some days, even that is tiring. Take yesterday for instance...after sitting in the sun in the front yard for an hour, I was so tired, I napped in the backyard for an hour.
Flabby + fatigue + the fear of fatigue = hard to motivate to exercise.
So I've decided that for this week, I'll walk each evening after dinner. Earlier this week, walking less than a mile made me out of breath and made my leg muscles shaky. Tonight, walking 2.3 miles felt awesome. I wasn't going at any speed by any means. My arms weren't necessarily pumping, but I felt great.
I can't imagine how frustrating and difficult this all would be if I hadn't been walking 5 miles every few days before I hit the wall of fatigue late last fall or if I hadn't been doing my best to stick with yoga before and after my surgery, regardless of my fatigue levels.
I have a long way to go with upper body work....between lack of use and age, I haven't had much upper body strength in years. It was never my forte. Now, though, it's embarrassing. I'm not too sure what to do about that, since I have to worry about lymphedema, which can be exacerbated by exercise but also may be helped by exercise. Actually, I love swimming, but the options for that are so limited in this area, especially with my previous teaching and childcare schedules. Now would be an ideal time to swim, but it's not recommended during chemo due to the potential germ exposure, not recommended during radiation due to needing to avoid anything drying to the skin, and prohibited for at least six weeks after surgery/reconstruction. That all means it's out for me until sometime in mid to late summer, I guess, if everything goes as planned. Once school starts in August, who knows how it will work with my schedule.
Meanwhile, I'm just happy that I'm able to feel stronger each day and that I at least started out, back before this whole stupid cancer thing started, with the ability to walk fairly long distances. With 20/20 hind site, I'd probably have put more emphasis on exercise so that crawling out of this cancer shit hole was easier.
I still feel like an old lady, and there are quite a few old ladies who are more spy than I around, but at least I'm out there moving, which three weeks ago seemed like it was never going to happen.