Part 10 – Recovery Progress

It’s been a few months since I updated the blog and that time really has flown by! I’ve now got a full head of curly blonde-ish hair (used to have straight, very dark brown) and thankfully am really feeling back to my self in every sense.

Check out those curls!
I feel like the following will be potentially a rehash of thoughts I’ve blogged about before but I think it’s realistic I blog about them now because it’s my current thought process.
Transitioning from having my treatment on my mind 24/7 to no longer having that as a concern has been a huge transition. I was wanting to do everything in one go, all the tennis, all the sport, all the outdoor stuff, but the body not being fit and healthy enough to was very frustrating. Sure I could do some and I completed my 5km in early June which was fantastic but I wasn’t ‘fit’ and healthy.
I read up a lot and it is quite common that people after their treatment ends suffer bouts of depression, because although you are ‘fixed’ that everyday focus has gone and people begin to obsess and focus ahead to the big check ups. Ultimately if anything flags up as a concern on a check up, immediate and often drastic action has to be taken. Depression also affects people during and after chemo as they have been very static and their body is pretty unhealthy which does have a knock on impact on the mind. I have been conscious that I need to do everything I can to ensure this doesn’t affect me. The best way to do that is by looking after myself. Sounds and obvious thing to say but its true!I have hospital check ups for 5 years to ensure that if anything returns it can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. For the first 2 years the checks are regular and then they become more spread out as you become a lower risk. I had my first big important check up last week (chest scan) and I was very anxious for a few days before the check but I managed to get my mind under control. There is no point worrying or thinking about the ‘what if’s’ because ultimately it is all out of your own control. The guys who did the check scan expressed a lot of interest at how large and healthy my lungs were, which was great to hear. BEP treatment that I had has a lot of side effects, one in particular is ‘lung toxicity’ and various other damaging side effects, so this was great! I have been very aware that if I ensure I get my body in really good condition, strong, fit and healthy it will give me the absolute best chance at tackling any curve balls head on. Which brings me onto my health update…

I now feel GREAT! I genuinely would never have believed that within 3 months of my treatment ending that I would feel so good, physically and mentally. I remained as healthy as possible during my chemo, I was eating as well as I could (less cake more fruit shake) but I can’t stray away from the fact I was eating sporadically, excessive amounts of food I was able to taste (SO much pineapple) and although my weight seemed to stay roughly the same in the long term I don’t think that was an accurate assessment and that didn’t factor in times where I lost lots of weight and then put lots of weight back on. My weight varied from 11 stone 8 upto around 13 stone 10, so roughly a 30lb swing.

I never intended on doing a ‘picture in my pants’ update but I think in the context of the recovery it is worth me uploading it. So here we go!

These photos are taken all roughly 8 weeks apart. Body image and health is something I’m sure many of us are conscious of, and I certainly was after my treatment. People had said it takes months if not years to get your health back, both in terms of fitness levels and regaining muscle. I really was concerned, because I want to be doing everything I’ve not been able to for the last few months and going straight into heavy intense exercise isn’t really an option – that would be a sure fire way of getting lot’s of injuries very quickly. I mentioned before, and it definitely is the case, your body after treatment just feels awful. Really concerning muscle wastage and very odd feeling skin, but that does all change don’t panic!
I started to built up my fitness from early June to now by doing short sessions and working upto where I am now where I could do a 2h gym session early on and then play tennis for a couple hours in the evening and not be in bits by the end, yay! I didn’t do anything drastic with my diet but because I had cut out a lot of sugar during my treatment I was out of the habit of reaching for chocolate and more in the habit of grabbing fruit instead. There is a really long way to go, and this is just the first stage, but I’m really pleased with the progress in my stamina and overall health. That sounds really arrogant to say, but I really want to show that after treatment ends…go for it! Go and do what you want and set yourself whatever goals you feel like setting. Channel your thoughts into something and don’t worry about checkups or doctors. Everything will turn out better than you imagine!

One comment

  1. Your journey post-treatment is simply inspiring. I can’t imagine it was entirely as simple as how you’ve described it here and I’m sure the mental energy you needed was as tough as the physical. Keep going mate.

    P.s. please feel free to send me pants pics any time you like!

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