Eff you, CANCER!

Today, just over 4 years after I was released from the hospital in remission from AML (and I was confined to a wheelchair because I had spent 18 days in a drug-induced coma), I completed my first half-marathon!

I did it in defiance of what cancer tried to take away from me. I am healthier and more fit now than I was before I got sick, so take that!


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  • I need to make this change, it has been over 8 years and I need to get myself back in shape. What were ways that helped you? Setting goals? I find I am lazy and can't keep my gym schedule.
  • I did two things to start.

    I signed up for the Cancer to 5k program. They're based in the Baltimore/DC area, but I did their "at home" program and communicated with the coach almost daily via e-mail and a web-based workout tracking form. I did this program in the summer/fall of 2010. My first 5k race was in October.

    At roughly the same time as I signed up for the running program, I got a personal trainer for a few months to help get my strength back. For me, being held accountable by someone else helps me keep a schedule. Since cancer, I have not been as self-motivated as before, so I have to take steps to make sure someone else holds me accountable. My trainer focused mostly on core and upper body exercises. When I started, I couldn't do a single pushup. By the end, I was able to do 3 sets of 10. Same with crunches/situps and pull-ups. I did some free weights, too, and they helped a good bit towards those goals.

    I would go mountain biking once a week or so as my "cross training" activity. It was tough in the middle of summer in Texas, so I usually rode after dark with lights. It was still hot, but the intensity was a lot lower because the sun was down.

    After those programs ended, I continued to do the occasional 5k race and ride my bike because they were fun. I also started doing yoga, which also helps with strength, but also flexibility, which is another thing I lost a lot of. I don't currently do yoga, primarily for budget concerns. The studio my wife attends costs almost $100/mo. In the small Texas town we lived in when I was diagnosed/treated, it was a LOT cheaper. One of these days, I'll pick it back up because it's very good for the body so long as you don't push yourself too hard and injure yourself.

    This winter, while training for the half marathon, I also did a "6 week 6 pack" ab workout. The program was pretty well defined, but I had to hold myself accountable. I ended up taking 8 weeks to do it because I'd miss a day or two and have to repeat a week's workout to make sure I got it. It was pretty gnarly and went a long way towards shrinking my stomach. Long term prednisone does bad things to your body and they're very difficult to undo. I will probably redo this workout in the wintertime regularly. You just need a spot of empty floor. I used my yoga mat, too.

    As you can see, I mix things up a good bit. I just cannot go to the gym and do the same workout/routine over and over. Even lifting for different muscles every day, it's too repetitive for me. I can do a gym workout for a few weeks, but after that, I need to do some different kind of workout.
  • erikaderikad Community Member
    That is awseome, good for you!! I am going to look into it sounds like a good way to get back. Stay well ..
  • I gained weight during treatment. I had few side effects, so my appetite was good. I was on prednisone for 9 months, which made me pack on a good 20-30lbs over my precancer weight, which was maybe 5-10lbs over my ideal weight already.

    I am maybe 5lbs or so above my ideal weight now, so the weight loss I see is good weight loss. I'm less puffy in my face, and my stomach has been getting smaller.

    I am 4 years into remission and have no dietary restrictions. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and try to have at least one vegetarian meal per week. sometimes I will go almost a whole week without eating meat. but I am not vegetarian. I still enjoy burgers and steaks and bacon...just in smaller amounts than before. I ate pasta (vegetarian) with crusty bread & butter for dinner the two nights before the race. carb loading. for dinner after the race, I ate a greasy diner burger, had a plate full of fries, and an apple pie a la mode. gotta love recovery meals. I have had a couple of vegetarian meals in the week post-race, also. last night was a vegan stir-fry.

    I also enjoy beer (had one tonight with my pizza). I enjoy all the same delicious food as before I was sick, but the less healthy stuff I have in lower quantities. I have almost entirely eliminated sodas, though. I will have MAYBE one per month. At restaurants, it's usually water or unsweet tea. I drink my coffee black. No extra calories is a strong motivator for me to do it that way, but I can't do that with cheap, crap coffee. I have to drink good coffee (and no, Starbucks is NOT good coffee).