Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Day 68 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
I went for a run after dropping the kids off at school. These days running has become less about fitness and more about the joy of living.
Running helps me deal with a number of cancer related problems.
It offers stress relief.
A lot of stress from cancer is found while waiting. And there’s a lot of waiting when you’re diagnosed with cancer.
You wait for doctors appointments. You wait for test results. You wait for chemotherapy to start. Wait for it to end. Wait for the next chemotherapy appointment.
Running keeps me from going crazy while I wait.
Running helps with side effects of chemotherapy.
I know it seems counterintuitive, but regular physical activity helps me manage the fatigue associated with chemotherapy. This is the main reason my doctors have encouraged me to stay active.
Thirty minutes of activity and I can get through the day with a quick nap. On the days I don’t run I lay around all day and feel worse than if I’d gotten up to run. It also helps me sleep at night.
Staying active seems to help the neuropathy.
I sometimes get tingling and numb spots in my fingers and toes. This is nerve damage from the chemotherapy drugs and an expected side effect. The neuropathy I’ve experienced is very slight. Some people have neuropathy so bad they have to stop treatment.
I’ve found that the tingling or numbness is much less after a run.
I try to be flexible when I set my daily fitness goals.
For me, this means ignoring both pace and mileage. Instead I focus on how I feel. I listen to my body more now than I ever have.
If I feel good, I run. If I want to move but don’t feel like running, I’ll hop on the elliptical machine or I’ll walk. If I’m really sore and tired, I take a day off.
I get tired a lot faster than I used to so I take more walking breaks.
My perfect workout these days is walking one minute and running two minutes, repeat ten times. Five minutes of warm up and cool down and I’m good to go for the day.
Today’s silver lining: I am grateful I can move.
Some days are harder than others, but I’m never sorry for running. Running is a gift. It’s a small celebration of physical freedom made all the sweeter because I know cancer can take this away from me.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but at some point I may not be able to run because I’ll be sick or because of surgery.
So I’m holding onto the freedom of running for as long as I can.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!