Chemotherapy Diary - Cycle #4: Day 16
One day, two years ago, before I became a carer, I decided that I wanted to start running for health reasons and to lose some weight. I live close to a park, where there is lots of open space and a good 2 mile natural circuit for running. So I started running. It was difficult and hard. To begin with, I couldn't complete the 2 miles, choosing to stop and start, and walk, and 'admire the scenery'. Day by day, sweat after sweat, I started to run further before I had to stop and walk to ease my tired legs. I set myself goals and told myself to run a certain distance, a little bit further than I did the day before until finally, I was able to run the 2 miles at a good pace without stopping. The main things which got me through this were:
- I got an app to measure myself
- I set small goals and incrementally increased them
- I don't stop, it's harder to start running again once you stop
- It turns out, your legs can't actually drop off. It's not physically possible to be running and them to just 'drop off'. And you really, really, really, won't die.
As a carer, I don't have time to enjoy the luxury of a run as at my peak, I was running up up 5 miles at one time, 10 miles per week. But I am still a strong believer in exercise and fitness and have retained those tips to a healthy lifestyle. As such, as a carer, I really like to encourage my mum to do exercise to improve her health, keep her body strong to endure the treatment she goes through and to enhance her emotional wellbeing. My mum is not a natural fitness fanatic at all, it can be painful at times, convincing her to go for a walk, just round the block and take a few additional steps but strangely, when we get home, she will always tell me she really enjoyed the walk, had a great time and feels much better for it. During the first week of her cycle, we do not even attempt exercise when she can struggle to walk up the stairs. At most, she will have the energy to walk out into the garden and back again, preferring to potter around the house. During week 2, we venture to start walking round the block, our favourite paths, passing the neighbours and friends, greeting them as we go. This is when we start to get to work. And that is how we regard her treatment, she gets out of it as much as she puts in. At her peak, she can manage a mile before her next infusion and then we start over again. I cannot tell you, how excited and ecstatically happy I get when she completes a mile, tantamount to a marathon in my eyes. So if my mum can do it and she uses mobility aids, I really think others can too. So go on, get your trainers on!