Friday, 19 July 2013

Returning to Work..... a Good Thing or a bad Thing?

Assuming my PET Scan on August 2nd is good, then I will begin making plans to return to work after
Enjoying some pool time.
my last chemo session.  The goal is to be back at Sun Life in September.  I am thrilled to be going back, but also a little concerned.

My typical work style is one of workaholic.  I love what I do and love working with my clients, so tend to  push myself and work longer hours than normal.  Don't get me wrong, I am very good at relaxing and taking off early on a Friday afternoon, but on some days, particularly if I am working on the Sunshine Coast I start my days with my first appointment at 8:30AM and my last one at 8:00PM which means I'm usually not home and in bed until ten or eleven at night.  Two or three of these days in a row were how I liked to do things in the past, then I'd take the following day to get all the required paperwork done and arrange my schedule for the next couple of weeks.

This worked very well for me and it was good for my clients because it afforded them the time to see me after their work hours if it was more convenient for them.  Now as I consider my schedule going back I know I'm going to have to make some modifications.  I may feel like I am full of vim and vigour and ready to tackle things the way I used to, but I know I am only fooling myself.  Initially I will need much more down time and will need to force myself to really listen to my body, the last thing I want is to be stressed and over do things and bring this cancer back again.

That being said, I already have a lofty goal.  I'd like to make presidents club this year.  Now typically we have twelve months in which to achieve gold level, I will have about three months to try to achieve it.  Even being in the best possible health ever, this is a massive goal, so with my diminished capacity I am not certain if I can achieve it, but the way I look at it, I kicked cancer in the butt (hopefully, I'll find out on August 8th), and I managed to get through a year of heartbreaking challenges, so a mere three months to achieve gold level aught to be a breeze right?  NOT!  But hell, one never knows unless one tries.

I wanted to add this photo below to remind me of the things that are important to me and the beauty in life.  This is my daughter as she posed for my book cover for Pascale from Gadbois Photography.

© Gadbois Photography

So, here's to me starting back in September with both guns blaring and one eye open to watch my energy levels.  On that note, below is a link to a great article from Inspire Health about Cancer Related Fatigue.

Cancer-Related Fatigue & Exercise - Yes, It Can Help!

Posted on June 26th, 2013
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a common side effect of cancer and cancer treatments and can often persist for months or even years after finishing treatments. CRF is a feeling of exhaustion that is different from other types of fatigue as it cannot usually be improved with sleep or rest. CRF can be so debilitating it may stop a patient from continuing with treatment. It can also influence your daily activities, social relationships, moods and emotions, job performance, well-being and sense of joy.

What can you do to help alleviate CRF?

It may sound strange, but regular exercise is one way that you can significantly reduce your fatigue! Exercise is like medicine and has a dose-response relationship with the body. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise can be beneficial for individuals with CRF during and post-cancer treatment to help to improve energy levels, sleep and overall quality of life.
Walking, bicycling, running, swimming and dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise. Your aim should be to achieve 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. You may need to build up to this level over a period of weeks or months, especially if you are currently not active.

Appropriate Intensity

When using exercise to reduce CRF, it is important to ensure that your exercise intensity is appropriate. If you don’t work hard enough, you may not elicit any change in the body and if you work too hard you may exacerbate your fatigue and end up having days of inactivity (which defeats the purpose of the exercise). It is very important to see a Cancer Exercise Specialist (Kinesiologist or Exercise Physiologist with additional training in Cancer) to ensure that you understand the appropriate level of exercise for your body. Everyone is different, which is why you need to have an individualized exercise program to work off which uses heart rates and/or perceived exertion to measure intensity.
At InspireHealth, when prescribing exercise for a person with CRF, we work out your current fitness level, your resting heart rate, your current and previous exercise levels and your current level of fatigue. The level of CRF experienced can be measured by using different scales and questionnaires (e.g. Piper Fatigue Scale or Fatigue Symptom Inventory). Once we know all of these values, we can prescribe an appropriate exercise intensity, usually in the ‘moderate’ range!

Get Started!

  1. Get a fitness assessment from an InspireHealth Exercise Therapist (free for members)
  2. Once your assessment is complete, you will receive guidelines on how to exercise
  3. Get moving! Start by building on what you are currently doing. If you are currently doing nothing, try walking for 5 - 10 minutes 3 - 5 times per week. Build up to a minimum of 150 minutes per week.
  4. Be careful not to do too much! If what you are doing makes you stay in bed for a day then you have worked too hard and need to reduce the intensity of exercise.
Most importantly, have fun while you exercise. If you enjoy what you are doing you are more likely to stick with it!
About the Author
Sarah Weller, Kinesiologist (BCAK), Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP), Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist. She has over 7 years of experience prescribing exercise recovery programs for cancer patients in one-on-one and group-based settings. Sara works at Back on Track Fitness and provides health and fitness assessments and leads exercise classes for InspireHealth, Lower Mainland - Vancouver Centre.


Facing Cancer Together said...

Massive amounts of good wishes coming your way. I hope that PET scan brings back excellent results.

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