As I enter the second week of the corona virus/covid-19, the world around me is growing more isolated by the day. I am a 42 year old MBC patient in active treatment. When I started this life-saving treatment I knew all of the side-effects that came with chemotherapy. It seemed like the risks were worth it to remain alive. Most cancer patients have to learn to be ok with being at risk for all kinds things. Being immune compromised is the first thing we are told about and have to learn to manage all interactions with the outside world. Any germ or cold that is mild in the population can be severe or deadly to cancer patients.
So here I am in the midst of balancing my desire to be normal with the additional constraints COVID-19 has placed on my life and trying not to go crazy inside my house. The spring and summer are my peak times to be outside; I get so much joy in the sun and any activity that gets me out the house. Being inside my house 22 hours a day is getting old already. My normal has been to workout a minimum of three times a week. I love the gym; I can lose myself in pushing my body to its physical limits. I can’t control my diagnosis but I sure can control the weights or cardio equipment.
As more information was given about the transmission of COVID-19 and the at risk populations were identified, I had to heed common sense, medical professionals and the advice of friends. I decided to practice social distancing which majorly disrupted my gym routine. I started working out every other day as was my routine but as each day passed I was getting more anxious and restless. I tried to watch TV or read but I just couldn’t focus. Working out usually brings me so much joy that I thought “hmm… workout more”. Every other day workouts became daily workouts sometime twice a day workouts. Finally, I started to feel better.
Studies do show that being physically active helps to mitigate some of the side effects of treatment and I have found this to be true for me both during my early stage diagnosis and now as an MBC patient. Every person is different so please check with your physician before starting any workout plan. Another benefit of working out is that it also releases endorphins in the body. Endorphins are hormones that relieve stress and pain. I don’t know about you but I will take all the natural happiness I can get.
While it’s still early in the Covid-19 pandemic, making sure I incorporate some type of physical activity every day is the best coping mechanism for me. Be safe and WASH YOUR HANDS!!!
Written by Chawnte’ Randall, Tigerlily MBC Disparities ANGEL Advocate