I’m 32 not 50

…no offence to all friends and family over 50

I thought it would be a lot easier being a young Breast Cancer patient. I’m fit and healthy, I’m in the best possible shape to take on the battle. I am not denying this to be a very positive thing, but sometimes I feel I have to work harder to remind people THAT I AM STILL FIT AND HEALTHY. The problem I have – and I use the word “problem” very loosely  – I can’t relate to the majority of resources available. There are a range of support groups available for young woman, but what if I don’t want to just meet to talk about the illness, what if I want to be active and do what makes me happy to get through the illness…(note to self: develop a recovery programme for active young people!).

I’ll try and explain a little better…

I was so excited when I received a DVD from the hospital – “Strengthen your recovery: Pilates for Breast Cancer Recovery”. I quickly jump into my gym gear, pop in the DVD and worked my way through the programme: week 2-5 recovery, it had only been 3 weeks since surgery. I don’t want to sound negative so I will keep my reaction to myself…let’s just say the next day I moved onto the next programme: week 6-10 recovery. Again, I struggled to even feel a stretch in most of the moves.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sounds smug about having recovered well from my surgery, I understand people recover at different rates and they need a blanket programme to offer patients. The DVD was designed for people who have had either Mastectomy or Lumpectomy – that alone is such a broad spectrum.

Before being diagnosed I was training for triathlon, I could deadlift 95kgs and do full range push-ups (thanks Des).  I was fit – probably the fittest I’ve ever been. I knew I would have to be patient with recovery and getting back to my normal life…but 5 weeks on and I’m getting itchy feet.

Today I received another DVD – Yoga for Breast Cancer. It offered a good series of postures to build up strength and stretch the affected area *minor victory*.

If you stole my mac and Googled “running after lumpectomy”, “weights after lumpectomy”, “exercise after lumpectomy”…you get the idea…you would find all the options have been viewed already. I have spent HOURS on the Internet trying to see what other people’s experiences have been – recovery times, training through treatment etc. Out of all the searches, I have stumbled across TWO positive links. One woman continued with CrossFit through treatment, another continued to train for Ironman! *gleam of hope*.

After finally finding some inspiring articles I am even more eager to meet with my physiotherapist, yet I am still waiting for an appointment. I have asked if I can start back swimming freestyle – they are a bit hesitant until I have been assessed. I have always been a law-abiding citizen, so I haven’t done anything they have advised against. I do however, like to prove to anyone willing to listen, that I have my full-range of movement back. So if you see me in the street talking to someone and swinging my arms randomly in the air, you can guess what the discussion is about.

In the meantime I am settling for some lower body exercises – a few squats, hip bridges and lunges can’t hurt (CrossFit lady did 100 bodyweight squats in her hospital room the day after her Mastectomy! Now THAT is inspiring…what have I been doing the past 5 weeks!!!).

The physiotherapist at Ipswich Hospital has never met me before, and will probably wish they had been assigned to someone else. Number 1 rule, always have your questions ready:

“Hi, I’m Rochelle, when can I…”:

  • start running
  • start swimming again (freestyle)
  • lift weights
  • do push-ups
  • ride my road bike

So far the recommended exercise is walking. I have even been googling walking speed records, competitive much?

I wanted to try to get as much physical activity in before Chemo starts the next week. It seems I may not get the chance *sad face*.

My body may be limited, but my mind is still as active as ever…

My name will be on this one day…

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