On Wednesday, I was feeling so good I decided to attempt a run to the end of my street and home. That’s a distance of about 2.1 km (1.3 miles). This is the first time I’ve done anything since starting radiation and chemotherapy ten weeks ago.
Coach Brad and a number or friends are remarkable runners and are capable of gargantuan efforts. For example, Coach Brad and Terry ran about twenty kilometers (12.4 miles) this morning. That’s ten times the distance I did today.
I’m in a holding pattern of rest and recovery in preparation for surgery. I don’t have a date yet. Like everywhere, the focus of our medical system is on coping with the covid-19 pandemic. My treatment, and that of others in cancer care, has not come to a standstill but it has slowed.
In my case, I can swallow normally again and my appetite is back. I can eat everything I want and my weight is creeping back up to where I should be. At the same time, I’m feeling energetic and eureka; this week I do not tire quickly. Also, I’m sleeping better.
With that in mind, and since I have some time on my hands, it seems sensible to become more active. Being strong and healthy heading into cancer treatment has served me well to this point. It seems sensible that working on getting my fitness back will prepare me to better recover from surgery.
On Wednesday, I did my first run. My average heart rate was 156 beats per minute and at one point it hit 170. That is too high and unsafe for someone my age to sustain for any length of time.
On Friday, I did my second run over the same route as on Wednesday. My average heart rate was 142 beats per minute and at one point I hit 159. My pace was the same so that was a considerable improvement.
Today, Saturday, I did my third run over the same route. My average heart rate was 137 beats per minute and at one point I hit 153. That was excellent improvement. In just three runs I brought my heart rate from a dangerous rate to a place that is good for me at my age, weight and fitness level.
I set out on these runs expecting to struggle. Since the lifestyle changes I started three years ago, my weight reduction and improvement in fitness is remarkable. I discovered and engine inside myself capable of more than I ever thought possible. And here I’m surprised again. After weeks of hardly moving out of my easy chair; I’m back and ready for more.
My current goal is to head into surgery with a strong lungs and a strong heart.
I was warned to expect the radiation would cause cell damage to the bottom of my lungs and that would translate to a nagging cough. It also could make me more susceptible to infection leading the possibility of pneumonia. Thankfully that has not materialized and putting some stress on them through running will take care of healing any damage if there is any … at least that’s my hope.
In surgery, I will be on the table about eight hours. I understand being anesthetized that long is hard on the heart. It seems to me anything I do not to strengthen my heart will put me in a better place to cope with and recover from surgery.
It has been a good week. I am on the mend and feel ready to take on the world.
As always, thanks for being at my side and now that I’m working at getting more active, I invite you to join me in that pursuit.
Peace, Love and Laughter