Exercise can continue

I just want to encourage ladies that exercise doesn’t necessarily have to end just because you are having chemotherapy. Before I started treatment I thought my running days were on hold for several months. I am an ultra runner and running is essential to my mental health. My oncology team encouraged me to keep walking /running as much as I could,.but warned me a half marathon was unlikely. I have had 2 rounds of EC, and other than nausea in the first 24 hours, I have generally been relatively ok. Bone pain is helped with running, and the fresh air helps headaches. I have walked / run every day except actual chemo days. Some days are really tough to get myself out there’s but I know I will feel better. I have done 2 half marathons since starting chemo, it is much harder, I am much slower, but I am still out there achieving, which I didn’t believe possible. And it does take me longer to recover. So ladies don’t just assume you won’t be able to

19 Likes

Thank you for this post, that is so encouraging, I too run ( more 10k than ultra!) & have always found it my go to for clearing my head and putting everything into perspective. I have been concerned that if I can’t run my mental health will decline as I go through chemo and radiotherapy. Just wondering, how long did you leave it before running post op?At the moment I’m 5 days after (lumpectomy & sentinel lymph node removal), still have some swelling and discomfort so only been for gentle walk so far, don’t want to do anything that might set me back physically, but really missing the effects of the running

2 Likes

Hello @olli3

Your situation sounds a lot like mine a 10k runner WLE and SNLB. I remember being quite surprised at the quite how little exercise was recommended in my post operation advice pack even for regular exercises

Your body is currently in healing mode and much of your body’s energy reserves will be focused on healing and even when the external scars start to look better, remember there is lots of healing still going on.

In the immediate period after your operation please follow the guidelines and listen to your body: I can’t remember exactly when I started running again after mine nearly 3 years ago but I distinctly remember the difference a pair of super supportive trainers made to the discomfort I felt in my breast due to the “jiggle factor”. Walking is just as beneficial to health as running and just getting outside will aid the healing process

I hope your post-op recovery continues to go well: you will be running 10k’s again one day!

AM xxx

1 Like

@olli3 I haven’t had surgery yet, I’m having chemotherapy first, so cannot really comment on your question. I’d just say get out and walk in the fresh air, but certainly check with your surgical team about the running. Good luck xx

1 Like

Thank you AM for this advice I really enjoy walking too so that will do for now while I let my body recover (and not lose sight of 10k again in the future :blush:)

1 Like

Thank you gromit12, yes I will check and walking will be good for now. All the very best to you, you are an inspiration!

1 Like

Hello again both

There is absolutely no doubting that exercise is absolutely the best medicine for everybody’s health: the trick is knowing when you have done enough!

I was diagnosed 3 years ago and since my diagnosis and treatment I am fitter and stronger than I was BBC but my activity regime looks very different I only really ran before.

Following my surgery I made sure I did my physio exercises every day and this lead me on to want to do more stretching based exercise I started with Pilates but now do a simple and effective yoga class. I continued to do a barre class which reminded me of how strong my body is even though it was a little damaged and bruised and I started to play more tennis. I didn’t have chemo myself but I know a couple of ladies who kept playing through their chemo treatments and undoubtedly felt better for it.

Please be patient, listen to your body, keep going but stop when you have to I promise you’ll get through it and whilst you may not necessarily “achieve” what you did before, the rewards are even better! :blush:

AM xxx

5 Likes

I returned to running about 2 weeks after my WLE and SLNB. I wore 2 sports bras. One with as much coverage as possible underneath, and one with as much compression as possible on top. I took it slowly and stuck to safe flat routes. It was ok. I found it harder to keep going during chemo, by the end of 24 weeks of it I had completely stopped. I started again about 3 months after chemo (time which also included a liver ablation on my secondary tumours). All stopped again when I went back on chemo - I just hadn’t built up enough resilience in the gap.

2 Likes

Thank you for sharing your experience Coddfish, that’s a good tip regarding sports bras. Sounds like you’ve really been through the wringer with chemo, I guess i’ll just need to take it all on stages as it comes as you have x

I recently took part in a discussion with Breast Cancer Now and other forum members about the advice Breast Cancer Now offers. One thing some of us mentioned was the lack of advice around exercise for those who are already very active. Telling people to “walk a little each day” isn’t useful if you normally run three or four hours a week.

When I was recovering from my lumpectomy last year I mentioned this to my husband. He said I was worrying unnecessarily and I should just try running and stop if it hurts. In a way he was right, but I think it is natural to worry that you are somehow going to damage something/stop things healing correctly if you start exercising too hard or too soon.

4 Likes

I wish I felt okay to exercise. I was still able to go out walking a couple days after Taxyl/carbo chemo, and was doing HIIT workouts again between that stopping and surgery. I made sure to do physio exercises within a few days of surgery, which made the healing quicker. Unfortunately, with EC chemo I am treated as an inpatient because of how I react, so im usually in the hospital feeling awful for 7 days, back home in bed for 7-10 days, and maybe a couple of days with some walking before being back again. It feels brutal, especially with the weight gain I have had with EC, and the chemo bloat on top!! I think we just need to recognise that everyones reactions are different, so if you can manage exercise thats brill, if you cant thats okay also. I am not looking forward to trying to lose the steroid/chemo weight and bloat!!!

2 Likes

@sb_01 so sorry you’re having such a tough time, I know I’m very fortunate

Well done you… exercise is amazing for so much. I have been swimming about 30/40 lengths every day with one or two rest days. I had 5 rounds of radiotherapy after a lumpectomy earlier in the year and my mindset was low with processing it all but since I’ve been swimming I feel like me again… it truly is my saviour regarding my endless worrying thoughts (mainly to do with reoccurrence risk although low still worries me) xxx Keep going, congratulations on your achievements you must be so proud of yourself and to do it during chemotherapy shows what a strong and admirable person you are :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: xxx

1 Like