Update

I will admit that this will be the most uninspiring or creative blog I have posted. But it’s necessary. An update is in order for those of you far away that I haven’t had a chance to talk to. So this is merely a simple update to let you know what’s happening in life and treatment. I think my University Professor would take back the Distinction he awarded me for the unit on Creative Writing if he was to read the following…

Firstly: Surgery. I have received the quote and crunched the numbers. It’s on the higher end of my budget but it’s manageable. It is all locked in for July 31st. I have over (just) eight weeks of freedom. Eight weeks to enjoy my mobility.

Secondly: Running and fitness. I’ve had a goal to take part in the Gold Coast Half Marathon for many years. I’ve heard it’s one of the best courses for your first HM – it’s flat, very flat. I actually registered about six years ago but it never eventuated. Since being back in Australia it’s been on my radar, although I thought there was zero chance of being able to participate this year. Since my last triathlon I haven’t committed to any events for the rest of the year as that date for surgery was still not confirmed – they could have turned around and booked it in with a few days’ notice. Those on my Facebook know I had a ‘light bulb’ moment when I realised the HM was before July 31st. It’s July 6th. Standby for another running story – sorry. I am also trying to maximise my time at CrossFit to ensure I am in the best possible shape before undergoing major surgery.

Thirdly: Hair. I had my first haircut the other day. Exciting. It was starting to resemble and Afro – a dark blonde Afro. My friend Meg did a great job of trimming the back and giving it some shape. I haven’t escaped the “chemo curl” and the hair definitely has a mind of its own in some places. I’m starting to master the art of using hair wax and my brushes have been dusted off and resumed their position in my bathroom draw.

Lastly: Study. It continues. I have enrolled in my next unit: Writing Magazine Features. I have also enrolled in Certificate in Professional Editing and Proofreading. The Certificate allows me to work at my own pace so I will be able to take on more study post-surgery when I will be house bound. The other unit is through university and structured over three months. My brain seems to be coping with the workload, for now.

I have mentally decided treatment has finished, but on paper it’s a different story. I know I have major surgery to come, but I feel healthy and strong (I’m slowly making gains to where I was before). I am continuing to remain calm and content with the journey. It’s taking longer than I expected, or hoped for. But I am still enjoying life in the meantime.

That’s a wrap.

 

 

 

Why run when you can walk – courtesy of Medivizor

I can’t take credit for anything written below. The article is courtesy of Medivizor – a go-to website for anything medical. When you sign up you give your own personal diagnosis which helps them direct specific and helpful information to you.

I came across the following article. Running over walking. The benefits long-term… yee-hah…

For anyone newly diagnosed, sign up now: https://medivizor.com

To view the full article online: http://medivizor.com/blog/SampleLibrary/breast-cancer/why-run-when-you-can-walk/

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In a nutshell

This analysis examined whether post-diagnosis running and walking differ significantly in their association with breast cancer mortality.

Some background

Physical activity after the diagnosis of breast cancer has been shown to improve quality of life, physical strength, and significantly reduce symptoms of depression and fatigue associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment. A recent analysis has also demonstrated physical activity to be associated with delayed cancer progression and extended survival. In order to further understand the association between physical activity and cancer mortality, this analysis investigated whether running and walking differ in their effect on breast cancer outcome.

Methods & findings

This study analyzed the outcomes of 986 women previously diagnosed with breast cancer and participating in frequent physical activity since their diagnosis. 272 frequent runners and 714 frequent walkers were identified. The amount of daily physical activity performed, or energy expended, was expressed in MET-hours (metabolic equivalent of a task). One MET-hour is roughly equivalent to a one kilometer run.

During an average follow-up of 9 years, 46 cases of breast cancer mortality were recorded. Among all 986 women, the risk of breast cancer mortality was estimated to be decreased by 23.9% for patients active at least one MET-hour per day. Running was associated with significantly greater reductions in the risk of mortality than walking. Among often runners, the risk of breast cancer mortality was estimated to be decreased by 40.9% per each daily MET-hour of running. Breast cancer mortality was estimated to be reduced by 87.4% for patients participating in 1.8 to 3.6 MET-hours of daily running. Breast cancer mortality was estimated to be reduced by 95.4% for patients participating in more than 3.6 MET-hours of daily running. In contrast, among often walkers, only a non-significant decrease in the risk of breast cancer mortality was estimated for each MET-hour of daily walking.

The bottom line

This analysis concluded that post-diagnosis running is associated with increased cancer survival compared to walking.

The fine print

Although a statistically significant association was demonstrated between running and cancer survival, it may be assumed that women participating in frequent physical activity are inherently healthier. This in addition to the small number of breast cancer related mortalities analyzed may have significantly influenced results.

I TRI

I think it’s clear I have a habit of throwing myself in the deep end. Act now; think later. Sink or swim. It’s a common theme in my life. Recently, it’s been clearer than ever: I signed up for the CrossFit open after month’s absence from the gym. I signed up for a 10km run having only run 2 x 5km in a few months. What next?

The past few months I’ve kept an eagle eye on the local triathlon schedule. Each month came and went and I was forced to peacefully accept that it wasn’t time to return to my new loved sport. Knowing surgery is weeks, if not months away, I re-visited the triathlon calendar. Hello April. Hello Luke Harrop Memorial. The race is conveniently held on the Gold Coast, an easy commute from Ipswich.

Now, I haven’t taken part in any specific triathlon training in the past nine months. I wasn’t allowed in public pools during chemo and I had a self-inflicted cycling ban (incase I fell off and broke something; me, not the bike). The goggles and bike have been collecting dust, literally.

Two weeks out from the race I finally committed and registered. I knew I would have to work my way back into things, slowly, so I signed up for the ‘Enticer’ distance. The, as I like to call it, ‘baby distance’. Also commonly known as the ‘fun distance’. It would be crazy of me to jump back into a longer distance race. This would be my tester race; see how the body holds up. I like to believe in muscle memory – surely the body will remember how a triathlon works and just go along with it. Right?

With a bit of time up my sleeve – two weeks – I emailed the head coach of the local Tri Club. I told him I was finally ready to start attending sessions. Two weeks and three training sessions came and went. I managed to get back in the pool and on the bike. It wasn’t enough training to expect a podium finish but enough to regain my confidence.

The morning of the race I was more relaxed than I’d ever been before. Even before a longer distance tri. Maybe because my expectations of myself were lower than normal. I hadn’t been training. It was just for fun… Right?

The parents and sister came for support. I gave them a tour of the transitions so they knew where to take some snaps and cheer me on. In no time we were heading to the swim start. I jumped in the water and swam some laps to calm my nerves – this was going to be my weakness, it had been nearly nine months since I’ve done any proper swim training. I exited the water and returned to the support crew to wait for the start. The race briefing started and the first wave commenced. Then the orange caps were called to start. That was me. A 300-meter swim would have been fun before, now I was concerned. The starting horn blared and the body propelled forward. No more thinking; just doing.

In standard race form there were legs and arms everywhere. It was all coming back to me. Unfortunately it was an uncomfortable swim. I couldn’t get a good rhythm; I couldn’t calm my breathing. But I kept going, one stroke at a time. The exit was in sight. Out of the water and straight into transition – this I remember; this treatment couldn’t have affected. The family missed me coming out of the water as I joked they would have time to relax and grab a coffee while I flapped around in the water. I should have given them a realistic time. It was only 300 meters. I was out in 7 min 44 sec.

Shoes on, race number on, helmet on. Pick up the bike and run. Transitions have never been my strong point. I can’t blame chemo for that weakness. Getting on the bike is also a weakness. I haven’t mastered the elegant movement of gliding a leg over and locking into the pedal. Have you ever seen a giraffe kicking their leg about? That’s me. Next purchase will be triathlon bike shoes. Every second counts…

Thanks to the coaching from my friend Scott while out riding last week, I was comfortable moving through the gears. I managed to keep a good pace. Every time I saw another competitor with standard sports shoes and pedals on their bike I sped up and overtook them – it’s as bad as a Barclay bike rider overtaking you while you’re in your professional cycling gear. It’s not acceptable. They should not be going faster than you. 10km was a breeze. I sped towards the end point and dismounted. A few seconds lost, again, but no embarrassing stacks.

I zoomed back to transition with cheers from the family. I racked the bike and changed into my running shoes. Now for the 2.5km run. After two track sessions with the Tri club, an average of 10km per session, this should have been easy…but it wasn’t. I’ll be honest… I struggled running. Frustration set in. I was mentally comparing myself to my former self – mentally I was heading into dangerous territory. I tried my best to block out the thoughts and continued looking straight ahead. Inching towards the finish line I picked up my speed and emptied the tank. There may be photo evidence that I overtook a young girl to sprint to the end. Hey, every second counts…

Then it was done.

Was it fun? Yes. Did it ignite the fire in my belly? Yes. I’m quietly happy it’s near the end of the tri season. A whole year to train and aim for podium finishes next year.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out I finished 10th in my category. Top 10. I really can’t complain. Overall my times were only one to two minutes slower than last year – pre-treatment. I’m confident I’ll gain those minutes back, and more.

The morale of this story is that treatment (and cancer) hasn’t ruined my life. It’s given me a new one. New goals. New targets. I have mentally decided treatment is over. I know I still have surgery to come, but I feel healthy and am feeling stronger every day. No more bubble wrap, no more cotton wool. Life is returning to normal.

A look of concern.

 

 

 

 

Twilight

As you know, I’m a sucker for a race. The invisible power of a crowd. You can’t see it but you can feel it. Pushing you beyond your limits. There have been a few races I’ve had my eyes on, but due to not having a set schedule for treatment, I haven’t been able to plan in advance. Twilight Running Festival was one of them. As last week progressed it was clear surgery wasn’t going to happen before Sunday 23rd. Twilight Running Festival was happening Sunday 23rd. This actually suits my personality. Impulsive Rochelle. I jumped straight onto the website. Registrations were available for 3 distances: 5km, 10km and 21km. 5km I know I can do. 10km is the unknown. Thinking back, I can’t actually remember the last time I ran 10km. My Nike running app shows a few 8km runs. I’ve done one 15km, nothing in between. Also, that was all pre-treatment. Was my body up for it now? The decision lingered. A) Stay in my comfort zone? B) Conquer the unknown? Lock in B, Eddy.

Of course, if you know me, you’ll also know I like to convince friends to join in my crazy antics. Ask my friend, Nash. He thoroughly enjoyed the Duathlon in the snow and Tough Mudder in the hail and rain. He swore he would never let me convince him to compete in any other event, ever. My Twilight target: Vanessa. She too hasn’t run the distance in a very long time. Of course she would be up for the challenge. The text messages started followed by some Facebook peer-pressure. Success came on Saturday. I now had a 10km buddy.

To add to the challenge the race was being held in the afternoon, at ‘twilight’. I have never run in the afternoon or evening before. I’m a morning runner. Roll out of bed, into the shoes and out the door. Apart from being an extremely hot day with temperatures forecast to still be 31 deg, I was looking forward to the foreign running conditions.

We arrived at 4pm for a 5pm start. Lucky for us, we had a ready-made support crew and cheer squad. A group of friends from Ipswich were there supporting runners in the 5km and 21km distance. They now had two more to support in the 10km.

With 10 minutes to go we maneuvered to the start line. There were a lot of very eager runners and the start line was already overflowing. We squeezed our way through about midway and found a gap in the crowd.

Now, preparation has never been my strong point. Clearly. So why would the minutes prior to a 10km race be any different…. With a minute to go I tested my shoes and realised one was slightly looser than the other. Was this going to annoy me? Most definitely! The starting gun sounded and we set off – walking – towards the start. I decided it’s now or never to fix the shoe so made a quick exit to the side. I had already double knotted my laces so it felt like forever to fix the problem. Amateur! Sorted and ready to go I saw Vanessa had sidelined herself so we could start together. Your time is only registered when you cross the start line so I wasn’t losing time by making the adjustments now.

Finally, we were off. The crowd surrounding us was setting a good pace. A comfortable pace… I reminded myself this wasn’t my usual 5km distance. I would have to back off otherwise I would run out of steam. My Nike Run app was going to be my saving grace today. It was going to keep me in check. Soon enough I heard my first km split. 5:40. Probably a little too fast, 6 min/km was more achievable for the whole distance. Pre-treatment it would have been a slow pace. But for now, it was comfortable.

It was such a stunning course. Starting on the grounds of UQ St Lucia, over a bridge, past the cemetery and along the river. I reminded myself to take in the surroundings and enjoy every step. The km’s ticked over and before I knew it I was nearing 5km. I was already halfway! And I still felt good. By now the runners had reached the turn-around point and heading back towards us. I started to lose focus, I started drifting away with the fairies. I was too focused on trying to find friends in the crowd to cheer them on that I forgot I was in a race myself.  When I started to feel dizzy from looking to my right instead of straight ahead, I snapped back to the present. I was having too much fun.

6km came and went, 7km came and went. The km’s were rolling behind me. Then I reached 8km. I felt the struggle in my legs and breath. The pace was slowing; Nike Run was informing me of this. It was hardest km. 9km was in reach and the symbol of the nearing finish line, but it wasn’t close enough. And there was a hill. With a few final strides I made it up the hill and was back on the bridge nearing the final km. I was feeling good again. The sun had set and the final stretch was lined with supporters. Was I supposed to be having so much fun after running for nearly an hour? I thought by now I would have been regretting my decision. I wasn’t. I neared the corner and saw our cheer squad. With all their support and motivation they gave me the final push to sprint towards the finish. Then there were none. No more km. Job done.

I made my way to join our crew and learned that Vanessa had crossed not long after me – awesome running by Vanessa, also. It was now time to support the 21km-ers.

As I was watching runners push to the end I wondered what their story was. What were they overcoming in this race? What had they overcome to get to this race? Was this also their first 10km? Was this just a warm-up for something bigger to come? Even in our group we all had a story.

Achievement comes in all shapes and sizes. With running it is usually determined by times. You can be the fastest or slowest in the race, but there is no doubt in my mind that everyone has overcome challenges to get to the end. Even I was inspired watching other runners. We cheered, we laughed… we talked shop. Most importantly, we created memories.

I am beyond excited to now know I can run 10km. The challenge was set and achieved. The next one: 21km. That one I will definitely train for! Surgery will force me to be patient and start from scratch again…but I look forward to what’s to come.

Thanks Vanessa for joining me in the run. Thanks to the support crew for the cheers and congratulations. Well done to everyone else who ran. Hopefully everyone has recovered and is feeling good today.

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So close to the finish line and having so much fun. I think I startled the other runners.

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The whole crew: 5km-ers, 10km-ers and 21km-ers. United at the end.

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Vanessa and I

988832_10151961340537201_1891848612_nMy fastest (and first ever) 10km recorded.

International Women’s Day

It doesn’t take much to convince me to sign up for a run event. Well, a short run event (I have signed up for a Half Marathon in July… I may need to reassess that one…). When I saw a parkrun group had been set up for the International Women’s Day run, I jumped straight on it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may have to attend these events solo; I think I’ve exhausted the “join me for a run” request with my friends.

These events cater for everyone. You can run or walk. With a crowd of 8000 your chances of achieving a personal best time are limited, unless you can get out in front of the crowds. It’s called a “fun run” for a reason. Mater Chicks in Pink were one of the major sponsors for this particular run. The Mater has been my home for many occasions through treatment; I was happy to part with $35. The money will go a long way to help women and their families through treatment and Brisbane runners raised $170,000 – the most ever for this event!! Brilliant.

It was a cooler morning; clouds gathered and showers threatened to keep the crowd of eight thousand (plus) on their toes… The lovely lady who set up the parkrun group collected my race kit prior to Saturday and we arranged to meet by the wheel at South Bank. After connecting on Facebook we learnt about each other’s treatment. Pip had started radiation on Tuesday, just five days prior to the run. It wasn’t just a 5 km run; it was a run to show mental and physical strength. Showing cancer whose boss!

I felt out of place as I waited. I was dressed all in black, in a sea of pink. After sending the, I’m in front of the wheel textPip and her daughter arrived and handed me my race kit. In the most elegant way possible I changed out of my black singlet and slid on my pink race shirt. I now looked the part.

In a crowd of 8000, I was surprised at how many people I recognised, or recognised me. From old friends I haven’t seen for years, to regulars from Ipswich parkrun. As I waited in the crowd at the start line I looked to my left and found myself next to Wayne, who had volunteered the day prior at parkrun! We talked shop, running shop and I realised this was my first 5 km run since January. I had no major expectations – have fun and get over the line without stopping.

The starting gun sounded and I shuffled along in the crowd, practically walking over the start line. As I was running solo I set my Nike Run app to start and popped in my headphones. The course was fairly flat and scenic. The legs felt good and I saw a 1 km sign ahead. Is that all… sigh. A pace report came through the headphones as I passed the first kilometre. It was fairly decent pace! How can that be, in a crowd this big! OK Rochelle… let’s keep going at this pace.

As I ran, I thought of the person in front. I wondered what their story was. Had they been through treatment? Were they running for a friend of family member? With my mind occupied I put one foot in front of the other, kept my eyes locked on the pink shirts and before I knew it, there was only 1 km to the finish. I switched on my old race mentality and targeted a few runners to catch. Having run at a steady pace, I knew it was possible to beat my previous time of 28:00. The last stretch was lined with spectators, the cheers and claps gave me the last push and I sprinted over the finish line. A glance of my iPhone revealed a time of 26.43. Stoked!

My next challenge is to get back to my pre-treatment time of 24.00. For now… I’m happy.

5 km Fun Run

5 km Fun Run

March 9. It’s time for another run.

Ipswich and Brisbane kiddies it’s time for another 5km run. Mater chicks in pink and Mater Foundation have supported me through my treatment so it’s time to give back.

parkrun has a team organised which I will be joining. Come join me.

BRING HOPE TO WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER

Below is a beautiful video showing another inspiring woman. “Stay positive, absolutely stay positive, don’t give up hope.” She is living as a stage 4 terminal breast cancer patient. A beautiful video to watch. Cancer touches all of us.

http://www.womensdayfunrun.com.au

CrossFit through chemo – it’s possible

I have said all along I believe if your body is familiar with something then doing it through treatment is OK. Before treatment I could deadlift 95 kg’s, squat 70 kg’s and do full range push-ups. Doing CrossFit during treatment I had to scale down the weights, sometimes I would only do bodyweight exercises. I believe exercise helped me feel better both mentally and physically. I may not have been able to keep up with everyone else but life is about challenging yourself and doing the best you can. So that’s what I did.

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Number 2-9-9 got me feeling so fine…

A little story for your Saturday…

Last year I was walking around my local bike store, Yellow Jersey, and came across a brochure for an event called Triathlon Pink. Triathlon Pink is an event in support of breast cancer. The distances are small compared to a normal triathlon; the short course being 100m swim, 3km bike, 1km run. I looked at the dates and saw there was an event on the Gold Coast in October. I sent around a group email to see who would be interested in trying out their triathlon skills. It would be the perfect event as the distances were manageable for beginners. It’s a ‘fun’ event.

As you all know, I started chemo in October. Back then I thought, “I can still do the short course.” As it turned out, I was advised it wasn’t a good idea as the event was ten days after my first round of chemo, and that would be when my WBC’s would be lowest. As I’m an obedient patient, I held off from doing the event; lucky because I ended up in hospital on that day (if you remember) from having zero WBC’s. Lucky… I looked again at the website and saw there was another event in January, and this one was in Brisbane. PERFECT! I was due to finish chemo in December. I’ll be fine for that event, so I thought… So again, around went the email trying to rope in a few friends to lock in January. Then, chemo was extended. Great. It seemed I was destined NOT to take part in this event. I made the promise to my friends that if anyone wanted to take part, I would be there to support them.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago. A friend of mine, Melissa had mentioned that instead of doing the triathlon, she had registered to take part in the 5km Fun Run Pink, which was open to both genders. She had signed up her boyfriend, Adam, also.

“Well I can run 5km!”

Screw spectating, I’m going to register, also. They were awesome and started a team family ‘Go Team Rocky’. So then there was three…

Today was Triathlon Pink / Fun Run Pink day. We woke up to beautiful clear skies, donned as much pink gear as we could gather and made our way to the Chandler Centre. I absolutely love the atmosphere at race events: the music, the crowds, people stressing about their bikes (usually me). We registered and lined up for our free T-shirt. I was a bit of a geek and took my race belt to attach my number; I was so excited to put a number back around my waist!

It wasn’t long before we were underway. 5km is nothing new for me, I’ve set out on a few 5km runs lately, but usually after 3km I would incorporate a few ‘walks’. Today, my aim was to keep running, no matter how slow. The course was a 2x 2.5km loop… with a hill (x2). We made it around the first loop, no problem. As we saw the hill ahead of us, for the second time, we all grimaced – well I know I did. One foot in front of the other is all it takes, I reminded myself. I kept my eyes on the turn-around sign at the top of the hill, and knew that I just had to make it to that point. What goes up must come down… The hard part was nearly over. I couldn’t have done it without the support of Melissa and Adam. There is something very special about having people around you to keep you pushing on. Melissa charged ahead up the hill and Adam stayed by my side. It was perfect! We all caught up together on the downhill and continued to the finish line. The official times are yet to be posted, but I think we crossed the line between 26-28 minutes. Very happy!

I honestly didn’t think I would be feeling this good three-months in from starting chemo. I didn’t think I would even be able to walk 5km at this stage. As you can imagine, I was beside myself with excitement that I had run the 5km continuously… but I couldn’t have done it without Melissa and Adam.

The perfect run was finished with a perfect breakfast at South Bank. What a start to the weekend! Now it’s time for some Australian Open action, and a nap.

** Side note: I spotted the event directors from Augustine Heights parkrun. Congratulations to the guy (I wish I knew his name), he was one of the top finishers!

CrossFit and Chemotherapy

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Now before you choke on your coffee and start dialling my number to give me a lecture, hear me out.

For those who are on my Facebook, you know I am constantly searching for articles that talk about exercise during cancer treatment. This week, a few more great articles were discovered (thanks Tishman and Fiona). The first article, written by Oliver Glass: CrossFitter by night, cancer researcher by day, fired up my desire to be back lifting weights. If I lived in the USA, I would be knocking on his door and asking if I could be his guinea pig. (Vidette he trains at CrossFit Raleigh – isn’t that near you?)

Before I get started, let me say I have never been to a CrossFit gym. I have, however, done CrossFit-style training and previous weight and resistance training. My old trainer in London, Des, trained me like a guy – not a girl. He taught me: how to do correct push-ups, deadlift 95kgs, smash a sledgehammer down onto a tyre, train with kettlebells, and much more. I feel confident and comfortable in this training environment.

When I talk about the positive benefits to training during chemo, I don’t want you to think I am making it up. Research HAS been conducted regarding exercise and cancer treatment – YES, even training during chemotherapy. Hands down, this is the best article I have read thus far:

http://activeptblog.com/2013/11/12/exercise-for-women-diagnosed-with-breast-cancer

Here is a snippet:

In a study looking at the correlation of aerobic and resistance exercise on chemotherapy side effects, 242 women undergoing chemotherapy were randomly assigned to three groups. The first group was used as a control group, and they were instructed to not exercise and take the commonly heard advice of resting while undergoing treatment.  The second group participated in supervised resistance training, and the third group had supervised aerobic training.  The aerobic training group preserved aerobic fitness and maintained pretreatment body fat levels.  The control group’s body fat levels were increased at the end of treatment.  The resistance training group experienced increased muscular strength and lean body mass.  In juxtaposition to the non-exercising group, both the aerobic and resistance training groups experienced considerably decreased negative effects from the chemotherapy treatment (Courneya).

Now that is research that makes me jump up and down!

I was told shortly after being diagnosed: “The problem is, people are diagnosed with cancer and automatically decide to get fit and healthy and start exercising heavily. The body is not used to this activity so exercise becomes problematic as the body is essentially shocked.” This is not the case for me. My body IS used to such exercise. If I start doing some push-ups, my body isn’t going to scream “What the hell are you doing to me?” it’s more likely to say “Welcome to the party, what’s taken you so long!”

CrossFit has definitely taken over Ipswich. Mother and I have been discussing joining for a few weeks now. She suggested waiting until after Christmas, but I wanted to utilise my energy levels now, before my next round (next Thursday). In my usual fashion “act now, think later” I signed up for my first session. At CrossFit Western Front, you have to complete three one-one sessions prior to commencing classes – to ensure you have correct technique and understand the movements. Today seemed liked the perfect day to book in for my first session: Friday 13th.

I decided I would to take my balding head “naked” to my session: a) I am comfortable like this b) it would be too hot training with something on my head, and c) I would have to tell them I was having chemotherapy. I know my training will need to be adjusted depending on my energy levels. I am not completely crazy! I may not be able to keep up with everyone else when I attend the group session: even if I can only manage bodyweight squats, compared to everyone else doing 30kg, big deal! I will still doing squats!

So in I walk: balding head, patchy eyebrow, triathlon t-shirt and pink shoes: “Hi, I’m here for my first CrossFit session.” I have to admit, I was really nervous (it has been over four months since I set foot in a gym!). How much strength and ability had I lost in the last four months? I wondered. I informed him about my cancer treatment and he was completely thrilled that I wanted to do some strength training to counteract the effects from chemo.

I was taken through five movements that are commonly used in class. He checked my technique for: squats, deadlifts, strict press, push-ups and pull-ups. Lucky for me, and thanks to Des, I haven’t lost my technique and we blitzed through the session. I then completed a work out of: 5x pull-ups, 5x push-ups and 15 squats – continuously for 10 minutes. I managed to get through five rounds. It was challenging and my legs now feel like jelly. But you know what, before cancer treatment, workouts like that were hard, and my legs felt like jelly. So nothing has changed. Exercise will always be hard. I accept that later through treatment, I may be flat out getting through the warm-up! I may also only have the energy to stretch and roll around on the foam roller. Hey-ho, let’s see how we go.

I want to reassure you all of this (because I know a few friends will still be worried): I am very in tune with my body. If I don’t have energy, or am not feeling 100%, I know not to push myself. But, if the next few rounds are anything like this one, I will be doing what I can. I have had two weeks of feeling completely normal and healthy. I know the days my WBC are lowest and ensure I am extra careful. I am going to try and keep a journal of my training. Maybe one day, I can help other young, fit people who are faced with cancer treatment and are unsure of what is achievable.

For now, I am back home, on the couch, in my PJ’s, watching the cricket. It’s all about keeping a healthy balance.

#cancer #chemotherapy #crossfit #training