Wednesday, September 18, 2013

That Pesky Question Of Fitness

Fitness is a painful subject for me just now.

At this stage in all the morass that is cancer treatment, I am not even certain what muscle tone is any longer.  That is how bad things are for me at the moment.

And it plagues me.  A lot.

But with five more radiation treatments to go (woo hoo! only 5 more!), the skin in and around the treatment area is angry, raw and beyond painful, which doesn't exactly lend itself to a fitness frenzy.  Moreover, I have no idea how long it is going to take all of this to heal, because none of the creams or usual skin treatments have done any good the last few weeks.  Because I keep getting irradiated, over and over again, while treatment is ongoing, my skin never really has a chance to heal, and thus stays incredibly angry.

All this to say, being completely unfit is driving me crazy.  But being able to do anything concrete about it is a far off prospect at the moment.

So, what's a girl to do?

The front end planning.  It's the only thing I can do.  Starting with menus for a few weeks of good, clean eating, and shopping lists for each of those weeks.  At least my body will be well fueled as it begins to heal, and I can work on portion sizes as well, right?

It's a start, anyway.

What I'm more uncertain about is how to work fitness back into the mix in a more regular way.  At a point when I can barely stand to wear clothes over my sore spots, the thought of straining with weights or pushing myself to do intervals with my cardio is unbearable right now.

So I'm trying to figure out a more gentle way to begin to tone up again, in a way that allows me to continue to heal but still moves me forward instead of continuing my spiral toward flabby and blah. 

We got an UP Band for me recently, so that I could at least see that I am getting some steps every day.  It turns out that I'm getting a lot more steps than I realized, and that I regularly get close to if not more than 10,000 steps in a busy day. 

That gives me a lot of comfort, even when the scale is telling me I'm not even close to rebounding.  But my still feeling blah and flabby says that I should at least start by working on portion sizes a bit more and cleaning up what I'm eating.  However, that doesn't help with muscle tone, which is desperately in need of help after so many weeks of sleeping and sitting through chemo (and, yes, I'm aware that chemo is really rough and whatever I did was all I could at the time, but that still doesn't fix the fitness conundrum as things stand now)

Walking is great, but it can't fix everything -- and heaven knows I have a lot that needs fixing right now.

I could use some advice from folks who have been through this.  How did your skin rebound (or did it?) from radiation burning and blistering?  What helped most with this for you?  Were you able to work fitness back into your life without making things worse?  If so, how?

I'm going to ask at my doctor's office today, too, when I go for my next round of radiation.  But I thought throwing this question out into the void might be useful, too.  If you have thoughts or advice, I'd love to hear it.

(Photo via Justin Liew.)


Suzanne said...

wish i had a suggestion for ya christy. i too am struggling with how to increase my fitness with my limitations.

i know its probably already been suggested but does arnica cream help any? i've used it on small burns in addition to the usual owies.

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Suzanne -- I have a burn cream that has both aloe and arnica in it, that was developed by a radiological oncologist for his patients. It helps a bit, but the bottom line is that my skin needs me to be done with this so it can heal. Thankfully, I only have 2 more treatments to go.

Sorry you are having so many issues, too. Big hugs to you from me, and I'll keep you posted if I find something that works better for me with all of this.

Suzanne said...

only two more treatments to go and then your skin can finally start to heal.

my limitations due to life with a cane are nothing compared to what you and yours are going thru hon... its big hugs from me to you (((christy)))