Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the tag “fatigue”

Let’s get physical for cancer patients

It such a great feeling when the rush of endorphins is released into the body. Other than day-to-day walking and pilates , it has been over 4 months since I did some form of regular physical exercise.  I broke the spell and decided to start swimming again.  Over the last 2 days, I eased my way and swam some laps.  Boy, it has been too long and I loved my time. Today, my arms are sore and I don’t mind it one bit. I am not the greatest swimmer nor am I training for the next Olympics.  I take my time in between strokes and I even stop for a minute every few laps before continuing. Swimming relaxes me, clear my thoughts and purely focusing my strokes.  The other benefits is that it helps strengthen my lower back and help me to cope better with side effects of chemo.

Fatigue is a very common side effect of chemo.  For me, this is one side effect that hits me quite hard.  For cancer patients, it is encouraged to include some light exercise like walking to help battle the fatigue, it boosts physical functions, and just makes the quality of life a little better.  There is an abundance of reports encouraging cancer patients to avoid inactivity. What a better way to get some natural Vitamin D by taking a walk around the park with family or friends. I know it is tough even on better days to muster enough energy and get yourself moving. The key message is to listen to your body. As a former gym rat who did squats with at least 100 pounds weight and ran 5km quite comfortable, I had to change my overall workout.  I tried to do a light jog after completing my first batch of chemo.  I couldn’t jog comfortably without feeling some aches in my knee-joint. I know that the chemo drugs had some impact on m physiological functions. Hence, swimming is the best workout for me.  Pilates is my other favorite workout.  It helps to build my core muscles and a perfect way to do some strength workout without the heavy weights.

Having said the above, the mantra of exercise and eating right to prevent or reduce the risks of cancer has been over publicized .  I have yet to come across any campaigns whereby medical professions encouraging cancer patients to exercise during and after treatments.  Why is that? I need to dig into this topic further.

Time to get some shut-eye.  Tomorrow is chemo round 2.

Round 1 is done and dusted

Ok, I am guilty for not sharing my post any earlier on this.  My energy level was so low that I had to muster myself out of bed, take a shower and eat when I am hungry. So here is the low down on what happened on the day.  Having a pretty good idea from the first batch of chemo, I knew the drill as soon as I stepped into the clinic.

First task is to get a blood test done.  Blood drawn and sent to the lab to test for cancer markers so fast that I didn’t have time to leave my butt imprint on the seat.  Normally I would have to wait at least 2 hours for results to come back but it wasn’t necessary this time.  I went in to see my oncologist so she can do her normal checks before I start my chemo.  She shared the expected side effects once again and answered my questions I had.  The drug will take 2 hours to administer.  I was ready to start but not before I had a quick bite of breakfast.

For those who remember from my earlier posts, I have very small veins and I knew it might take the nurse to hunt for one again. Tap! Tap! Tap!   I love the way the nurses keep telling me that I have such nice skin but pity that my veins is not the same. Ha! Even with the tourniquet in place, it took a good few minutes to find a possibility. Note to self –  I must resume my “squeezing the ball” exercise to bring out my veins.  She found one vein and a quietly confident to poke me with the needle. I felt the first prick and that was ok.  She pushed in a little further and it hurt a little but tolerable.  As she pushed a little further into the vein she stopped concerned that there was no blood coming through.  A little further nudge of the needle and a sign of blood trickled through.  Phew! With tape to secure the needle and place, the drug started to drip into my system.  For comfort, lights were dimmed in the room and I kept myself occupied by watching some TV series, “The Mentalist” on my iPad.

Over the side effects, I was ready to deal with the side effects.  Fatigue and waking with a headache the following morning was the first signs to crop up.  Then the nauseous feeling started to creep later in the day. Imagine waking with a hangover feeling that last for days.  Took a couple of Panadol hoping to relieve the symptoms.  I guess the drug in my body is not reacting as well to such medications.  I endured it. There was a glimmer of hope 2 days after chemo when headache subsided a little and some energy picked up in the evening. But it didn’t last for very long. By the 3rd and 4th day, my energy level was all time low and the headache returned.  I slept for most of the day. The best Rx for I could give myself is pure rest.

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6 days on and my energy is back to normal.  Looking forward to step outside of the house to get some fresh air and some natural vitamin D.

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