This week, Jacqueline talks about how exercise really helped her during her cancer treatment…
I think the power of exercise can never be underestimated…
When I was first diagnosed, two and a half years ago, I was very physically fit, I do think this helped me to stand up to the rigours of everything that was to come my way.
There’s no two ways about it, cancer treatment is brutal and would test the fittest of people. Multiple surgeries, you get up, recover, then chemotherapy – the Mount Everest of treatments when you frequently can’t get out of bed, can’t stand up in the shower, can’t walk up and down the stairs. Radiotherapy feels like a walk in the park! Your body is pulled apart, put through the mill, poisoned and you are left with permanent conditions once it is all over.
Then there is your mind….
I was once fit and sure of my body and it’s strength. I felt betrayed and lost confidence in my body when I was diagnosed. I was fearful to get into the shower and avoided the offending area, I couldn’t look at it. I was frightened to hug people, in case any pressure or bumps would cause another cancer. I was afraid of my own body.
I decided to start walking, every day, just a little. Each week, I walked a little faster, a little further and slowly my body amazed me that I could still exercise! I the started to jog a little and bit by bit my body got stronger. I have times when I am feeling poorly and need to rest, just listen to your body.
The fallout from my treatment is constant joint and muscle pain, and my loss of peace of mind and persistent anxiety. Whatever exercise you chose to do, whether it is a stroll or a power walk, or a full on run, I do believe motion is your lotion!
It helps with my joint pain, it helps with my mindset, because it gives me back a little confidence in my body. When you are walking or running, you are moving forward, with your mindset (once you have honoured and addressed the trauma you have been through) you must look forward too.
For tips on how to exercise during treatment take a look at the Ticking Off Breast Cancer page on exercise where you will also find links to lots of helpful resources.