Recently, a co-worker asked how I coped with joint pain from chemotherapy. I told her that exercise helped me both mentally and physically. I know it is hard enough to get in the mood to exercise for most of us; but I can testify that exercising worked for my joint pain.
It wasn’t easy. I knew I needed to keep myself healthy, so I signed up for a step class. Although I already had symptoms of Neuropathy – a loss of feeling in your joints, fingers, toes, and generally can happen anywhere – I never thought it would affect my ability to work out.
I went to my first step class with my spirits high. But then, about fifteen minutes in, I noticed that I couldn’t feel my feet! They were heavy like bricks and each step was incredibly difficult. I ended up hitting the step with my leg and almost fail.
It’s important to stay safe but to also persevere…
So instead, I scaled the exercise to my needs but I didn’t quit. Removing two sections of the step helped me to control my walking and balance despite the Neuropathy and I was able to continue on. On occasion, I would take ibuprofen for the pain. Just remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
Along with exercising, I made sure to eat as healthy as possible. This was a challenge because all I could taste was metal. It’s weird, but that is one of the side effects of chemo. Most of the time my appetite was low, but I had to eat to keep blood count high so not to delay chemo treatments. We definitely did not want that!
In reality, it was for my daughter…
If I wanted to set the example for how to live and face adversity, then I had to keep going. I never wanted my daughter to see me just laying around, so I took up the mantle and got to work. For me, exercising was the key and for many cancer patients and especially cancer survivors, exercise can keep you young and healthy.
So get out there and, however you can, get moving!