It’s no secret that when you stop living an active lifestyle it’s hard to find that motivation again along with the strength! It can also be quite frustrating and that’s when people tend to give up. I believe that exercising plays a pretty important role for our bodies. I’ve definitely felt the effects of not exercising; you feel sluggish and you crave unhealthy foods. I’ve recognised that your mood can really impact on the way you eat. Have you ever felt emotional and just want to have a big binge sesh? That’s sort of like if you aren’t getting up and moving your body, it may make you unmotivated to create healthy meals. You may be at risk of injuring yourself more easy as you haven’t strengthened your muscles and bones and your mood can easily be impacted by lack of exercise therefore you can feel more stressed.
When I was treating myself naturally I was also living a really active lifestyle. I was going to the gym, adventuring up mountains and going for long walks. I absolutely loved it! But when I had to get the metal rod put down my thigh I lost a lot of muscle and strength. It didn’t help that two weeks later I had to start on an intense chemo. So these two combined really impacted on my physical abilities. Whilst undergoing chemo, I still had to push through the exercise’s that my physio provided me with. He told me how important it was that I kept these up before it got to the three month mark as your leg would become very stiff and make it much harder to move. Luckily I had my mum forcing me to do them, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have. Not only did it hurt like hell, I was super sick and tired from chemo. The last thing I wanted to do was get up and move a very sore leg.
Towards the last couple of weeks of each cycle, (once my leg was better), I would try go for little walks up the beach. And I mean LITTLE. Seriously, I couldn’t even get half way up. I would become very tired and I experienced a sharp, stabbing pain in my chest but I was just happy to be outside. Walking back up the stairs from the beach also appeared quite a struggle. It made me light headed to the point I would see stars and very short of breath. This would make me feel pretty down as I felt super un capable of doing the simplest of things. It even got to the point where I would start feeling a little bit embarrassed by it, as people who aren’t experiencing chemo might not really understand how much it impacts your ability to do things. But that was all in my head of course. I didn’t give up though and I was super determined. I would continue to do these little walks along the beach, and I got further and further, continuing to keep a positive mindset and began to learn that even though these accomplishments were so small, they were also big steps in the right direction. And that was forward.
About a month or two after I stopped chemo I was actually managing long walks without becoming short of breath or experiencing signs of dizziness. I even got up a mountain! Say whaaat!? These were huge achievements for me and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get back into more of a workout routine. I still couldn’t go back into a gym as there was risk of being around a lot of different people who may be carrying a virus. You just never know – better safe than sorry.
I remembered that my friend who I used to get trained by way back in the day had started her own business from home. I spoke to my doctor and got the all clear to go ahead and start exercising. By now I had started on immunotherapy, but to my advantage it didn’t impact on my everyday life. Happy days! Let’s just say, for a couple of weeks at her boot camp sessions I could barely do it. Like, I couldn’t even get through a full set of reps. I was soo puffed and I felt extremely weak! This was incredibly frustrating but I stuck it out as I was determined to get stronger. Plus it made me feel happy to be back doing things that I enjoyed.
I’m still attending the classes and I took some time to look back and reflect on how far I’ve come. I’m not aiming to be super muscly or shredded. That just ain’t gonna happen. At this point in my life, I just want to focus on building back my strength. Along with that though, it does have it’s benefits! And doing some form of physical activity whatever that may be, is better than doing none! I can actually get through a whole class without having to sit out most of the time and that makes me super proud! Sometimes, we’ve gotta clap and cheer our own selves on.
Since getting back into an active lifestyle my mood has been extra positive. Like, it’s peaking right now! I feel so happy when I’m out for a walk or I’m doing a class with positive, uplifting, motivating people! It’s proven that exercise can block out negative thoughts and distract you from daily worries. It also changes the chemicals in your brain such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones. I can 100% agree with this, because I have felt what it’s like not exercising and then what I feel like now I’m back into it. I’m incredibly grateful that I actually have the ability to be able to move every part of my body (apart from my leg restrict’s me with some exercise’s) but that’s okay! We work around it! I didn’t realise how much I took my body for granted until it was compromised. Not being able to physically move for (luckily) a certain amount of time was quite depressing.
As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, I do have a stem cell transplant coming up. Along with this, they will be administering an extremely high dose of intense chemotherapy which is intended on wiping out any tiny, microscopic cancer cells that they can’t pick up on a PET scan. This is also going to completely wipe out and destroy everything in my body. By living an active lifestyle now to the best of my ability, I’m hoping that it’ll help me recover quicker from bed rest. I’m aware from reading another young girl’s blog post on her stem cell transplant that it makes your muscles and bones weak again. This scares me – Falling backwards scares me. Because I have come so far since chemo and I’ve built my strength and mindset up so much to only have it knocked back again.
We’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it.
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain”
– Tom Hiddleston