I HAD A LYMPHOMA /39/ Exercise,Recreation and Cancer.

BACKGROUND

Many moons ago, I was fortunate enough to attend St Paul"s College Cheltenham for 3 years ,first to obtain a Teaching Qualification and subsequent to that,to follow a specialist course in Physical Education leading to the award of a specialist Diploma.

Sport had always been in my blood from childhood and my one of my greatest joys subsequently has been to see that replicated in my sons and grandchildren{boys and girls alike}. Even so, the course at ST PAUL"S took me into previously uncharted waters, one of which was Remedial Exercise. At the time this was a module, as they call them now, that like Anatomy and Physiology, had to be gone through but I would not be truthful if I said I was gripped by it. At the age of 22 I was concerned with the pursuit of excellence in sport and physical activity almost to the exclusion of all else. It was only when I began my Teaching career that I returned to my notes for help on providing assistance to pupils who would never scale the walls of excellence but who, nevertheless could benefit, often against their initial will, from a properly structured physical activity plan.It seems, from the chronic epidemic of Obesity we now are inflicted with, that the specialists of today in schools have either not taken this on board or given up the struggle. Either way, the ultimate costs to Society will no doubt be high.

Thus, with my background physical activity has always been something to be included in my life even though career demands have inevitably caused vast fluctuations in the activities undertaken, and the level and occurrence of them. Like everyone, there have been times when I have allowed inertia to take hold of me for one reason or another, but eventually have realised the error of my ways in time.

As I went into my 60"s and with the acquisition of a holiday base in Turkey, complete with well equiped gymnasium and large swimming pool , my own programmes were established to make best use of those facilities and extend some of them when back in UK.In addition, we are able both there and at home to take advantage of good walks on our doorstep. They have formed the basis of my own programme and indeed, it was only 2 days from our return last July from Turkey, that my bladder perforated. At the time I was very fit, having swum, for example, 600 metres daily for the previous 5 weeks prior to breakfast, as the base for the rest of the day. The Registrar who operated on me had no doubt that the level of fitness Ihad built up was a key factor in my recovery from the emergency operation.

That operation, my first apart from tonsillectomy as a child , really knocked the stuffing from me however, added to the fact that from it it, was discovered that I also had the T-Cell Lymphoma Cancer at 5 cm diameter attached to my liver and growing like Topsy.Following that, the commencement of Chemotherapy, was only another factor to try to get over and to try to recuperate from the operation whilst at the same time maintaining a positive attitude to the battle engaged with the tumour.

Regular readers will recall that I put great store in listening to my body, as advised by my former GP many years ago. I rate that the most important medical advice I have ever received and when I see others effectively burying their heads in the sand and steadfastly refusing to take note of what the body is telling them until it is too late, I am doubly grateful for the advice on the basis of "There but for the grace of God go I."

ACTIVITY.

i DO NOT INTEND TO BORE READERS HERE WITH A DETAILED LIST OF MY ACTIVITIES AS PART OF MY REMEDIAL PROGRAMME, SAVE TO SAY THAT THE PRINCIPLE OF RUNNING BEFORE WALKING IS KEY.

I am currently doing a treadmill walk daily at 6.6 kms. A month ago I began this particular activity at 3.5 kms and have increased steadily to ensure that the activity raises my pulse rate and takes me to slight, but not severe breathlessness. My target is to reach 7kms and then begin to increase the time of the walk to 30 minutes daily, again increasing from 15 minutes in small amounts as Ifeel able to cope with. Listening to the body again you see! Each activity session begins with a mobility/agility sweep through the body to stretch the joints and warm things up, and concludes with some light weight arm work to strengthen my arms. This is difficult at the moment as my hands, suffering from Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy, are not back to 100% efficiency. In fact they are now lagging behind the re-growth of hair on my head. In fact I now resemble a human being again and not an android! It is hard to describe the sheer joy of having eyebrows again.

However, enough of that already! Let me take those of you who wish to learn more on how exercise can be taken both during and post treatment to an excellent web site. The NHS Exercise and Cancer information to be found at www.cancernet.co.uk/exercise.htm gives easily read ,straightforward and direct information that all can follow and if so done will be found to be of benefit not only to Cancer Patients but even those with no apparent health problems at the moment. There is no doubt that doing too much, or excess of the wrong type of exercise can cause serious problems and sense is needed in application. On the other side, laying horizontal each and every day will also bring on unwanted problems. Regular exercise performed sensibly is the trick. I am fortunate to have my equipment in a spare bedroom. Others may use a gym. Either way ,excuses can always be found for not exercising, so Positive Mental Attitude to your own regime is essential.

LIKE STOPPING SMOKING, YOU CAN DO IT, BUT ONLY IF YOU WANT TO AND ARE PREPARED TO MAKE SURE YOU CREATE YOUR OWN MENTAL POSITIVITY.

Personal Progress.

SCAN 4 was undertaken yesterday and completed as required. This time the camera regime differed from the previous 3 with more centralising on my head, neck and upper body. The whole operation was, other than that as before and we now await results at next Thursday"s meeting with the Consultant. It is difficult at this time to consider the outcome. People constantly ask me how I feel and in all truth it is difficult to answer, for apart from the weakness in my hands and the occasional rumbles in the abdominal area which no doubt reflect more than likely on the previously perforated bowel, I feel ok. I am still tired at times, but less so than before and am enjoying the spring weather for jobs in the garden and the walking out part of the exercise regime. Then again, short of a loss of appetite just for a fortnight before the bowel burst, I felt fine then, so whilst I believe if you feel wretched you probably have something wrong, feeling ok does not necessarily mean all is well! Thus, till the results are known it is probably wisest to hope for the best but prepare for the worst and keep the two in balance. Easier said than done, but then nothing about Cancer is easy!

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