I feel lucky (or something) that I did not gain any weight through my cancer treatment. A lot of women gain a lot of weight; with the steroids, the other medications, the side effects, the lack of energy. I watched what I ate carefully so I didn’t overdo it during my steroid binges or taste aversions that made me want to eat nothing but potato chips and french fries. I worked out somewhat for the first couple cycles of chemo, then it went to nothing but walking. However I was committed to my walking, and hit my 10,000 fitbit steps nearly every day. So, I did not gain any weight (yay!), I did however lose a lot of tone and fitness. I can see that I am not as toned as I was, and I can feel that I have a lot less stamina.
So, I’m starting to ramp up my fitness now. It’s a bit hard because I’m in the middle of radiation and waiting for the shoe to drop. I don’t have a lot of skin damage yet, just a bit of pink blotchiness, but I know it is coming and the more I irritate that skin the worse it will be. I have to be careful to keep friction from the area and not wear anything too tight or constricting, and with breasts my size, that means no impact!
In May I did the Betty Rocker 30 day challenge, I loved it. It was a 15 minute workout every day, most of them are circuit training but some of them were lower impact and some of them are yoga. The first yoga one was very depressing for me, it was quite easy but I still couldn’t do a lot of it, because I had lost so much upper body strength. It’s amazing how quick that happened because the last yoga class I went to was the end of January, and I was still able to do a handstand! A few months later, I could not even do a proper chaturanga (low push up). I cried after that workout. Well…back to the challenge, it was great. Since I started radiation near the end of May, I wasn’t too worried about that and was able to do it right to the end. By the time I was done the challenge I felt a lot stronger and more fit, and good that I had gotten back in the habit of regular workouts. However, I was recognizing that I had to do things differently for June to protect my skin and because radiation can be quite exhausting, I am not suffering from fatigue yet but when it comes, I will have to find a balance between honouring it, and still being active enough to feel good about myself.
So this month, I am doing a few things. All of them are low impact, not as intense as I would like, but will hopefully help build up my strength while I protect my tender chest:
1. I am doing a Vinyasa (sun salutation) challenge. I made it for myself and the link is here. I know it doesn’t look like much, only a few vinyasas a day, however my goal is to do them with perfect form, which is a struggle for me especially when I get to the chaturangas! I know that if I can get to the end of this challenge with good form, I will be able to get my yoga back on track when I start practicing again, and also build back up a lot of upper body and core strength. Also, once I got up to a few, it takes more stamina than one would think. (I know a lot of people would stay I should return to yoga classes now, that yoga is perfect for someone going through what I am, and it is. Less intense types of yoga than I practice are a common work-out for those recovering from or still in treatment. But I do not enjoy that kind of yoga, and I’m waiting until I can do more vigorous vinyasa classes again. I know I could go and just modify, but frankly they are too expensive to do that).
2. I am doing a core challenge. The link is here. It’s an app on my iPhone, and every day I do crunches, sit ups, leg raises, and planks.
3. I am maintaining my 10,000 daily steps (which means I usually take a brisk 30 minute walk a day to do so).
4. I am throwing in 10 to 20 minute weight or circuit or spin or pilates workouts when I am up to it (hopefully a few a week). I have a YouTube playlist I like, it’s got a bunch of videos from Betty rocker and fitness blender.
Beyond June, I have registered for the 7K RBC Race for the Kids in September, and I will have to work hard to work up to it! If I really can’t do it, of course I will walk a lot or downgrade to the 5K…but running the 7K is my goal and as long as my skin is well healed and I am feeling well, I plan to start running again by mid July!