Don’t Sweat It, or Do!

Don’t Sweat It, or Do!

When I returned to work after chemo, I couldn’t wait to build my strength back up. I was determined to get back in the gym and get in great shape.

Before cancer, I had also always made it a point to work out a few times a week and I was motivated to get back to my old routine. Not quite sure where to start, I hired a personal trainer with money I didn’t have. Let’s be honest, do any of us actually have spare money after cancer? Those medical bills are no joke! Maybe it wasn’t the most responsible thing to do, but a friend reminded me that I couldn’t really afford NOT to make my health a priority so I convinced myself to somehow find a way to make it work.

Time for a change

It didn’t take long to realize just how much chemotherapy had affected my strength. With exercises that I used to be able to do with 30-pound weights, I was now struggling to use just 10-pound weights. It was so disheartening.

After a lot of frustration and many tears, I decided that I needed to change my outlook on fitness. It wasn’t fair to compare my current self to the old me. I did a complete reset and started with a fresh, clean slate. I was no longer going to think about where I should be physically, or what I was able to do before chemo. This gave me a chance to set new goals without any pressure of living up to the unrealistic expectations that I had set for myself. It also made seeing even the smallest amount of progress exciting. It’s important for anyone recovering from cancer to remember that chemo does a lot of damage to our bodies and we need to be patient with ourselves.

Cancer is my motivation

With my new perspective, I was able to use cancer as my motivation instead of as a reason to feel sorry for myself. I loved watching my progress pictures along this journey and once again, I found myself excited to get in the gym. I’m still not able to lift as much as I was pre-cancer, but I’ve managed to keep fitness a top priority in my life.

I’m not going to the gym nearly as much as I was when I first returned to my life after cancer, but I have found other ways to stay active. I really feel like hitting the gym early soon after I was done with chemo helped the transition back to normal life in so many ways. Now whenever I meet a recent cancer survivor, my first piece of advice is always to be as active as possible. Go for a walk, enjoy a bike ride, or find another physical hobby that you enjoy because it really does help. And remember, it’s ok to start over! Just a little bit of determination can go a long way.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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