Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Starting to exercise again

Over the last few weeks I have really started to feel well again. The tenderness from around the stoma reversal site has gone away and I'm really starting to feel strong again. So I have taken that as a sign that its probably ok to start doing some proper exercise.

Initially I started with just some light work on the exercise bike. Next I have started to add in some weight training although I'm using very light weights and doing lots of reps. I'm also using free weights, the idea being that this should also start to work my core muscle groups without hitting them hard with things like crunches or sit ups which I feel would be just too much at the moment.

Last weekend we did our first "proper" walk over tough terrain in preparation for the Snowdon Horseshoe fundraiser. We did about seven miles in awful conditions on Pen Y Fan and you can read the full and eventful account on my separate Snowdon Horseshoe fundraising Blog (the link is listed in the useful links section).

This weekend I vowed to tackle a tree stump in the back garden that needed digging out. I had been particularly wary about doing this as it would put the core muscles under quite a bit of pressure. So I vowed to start it and see how I got on. Typically the tree stump that "was from an old palm and only has a ball root that wouldn't take much digging out!" went down much deeper than I expected. In fact at the end of an afternoons digging I was now in a three foot deep hole and the root was still going! Luckily we plan to put a fishpond in its place so the soil I dig out was deposited around the garden and the pond project is now officially underway!
I have to say though that I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I had no aches or pains and no discomfort whatsoever. In fact it gave me confidence and backed up the feeling I have had of being stronger and ready to get back to some sort of proper training regime.

So yesterday I went for my first "run" since the MOAS. The last time I ran was the last week in January and I did about 4 1/2 miles on a lunch hour. I remember it clearly as at the time I did wonder if I was ever going to be able to do it again.
It felt great to be finally pulling on the running gear again and I did smile to myself as I laced up my running shoes. I decided to take things easy though and had planned to run "The Rut" as I had previously nicknamed the route. It was called "The Rut" as its the easiest of all the routes we run on a lunch hour and lots of people would just do that run as it was so easy and didn't push them. I hated it and wouldn't run it, but that was then and it was with some irony that I found myself planning to do this route to get back into my running again! The route is a dead flat featureless three mile loop and not particularly inspiring but more than enough for me at the moment.
The weather was hot (24 deg) and humidity was high. I was also just getting over my first cold minus my spleen and was still a little bunged up but my theory was the run should help clear the muck off my chest. Jerry ran with me to make sure I didn't keel over along the way and we just took things easy. It felt good to be out pounding the streets again. It didn't take long for me to realise just how out of shape I am at the moment and my pace really started to slow and my breathing difficult but I pushed on. The area I really seemed to notice it was my lungs, I felt that I couldn't get a good lungful of air in. The heat, humidity and my cold couldn't of helped but it was clear that my lung capacity had shrunk. This will return with time and exercise though and I'm just going to have to be patient. I felt like the new boy starting all over again.
We pressed on and soon met the only small climbs over the motorway bridges that bring us back into sunny Avonmouth!I was determined to run these climbs as hills are usually my strength and I really enjoy them. However they were a real struggle today and I wouldn't let myself stop until I was at the top but stop I did and walked for a short way cussing myself at every step. I soon got going again and managed to maintain a slow pace all the way back in.
I warmed down a little frustrated with myself at such a poor performance compared to where I had been before the MOAS but Jerry reminded me at what I had been through and it made me feel a little better. It was good to get out though and I enjoyed every minute of it and cant wait to go again later this week.

The only side effects that I have felt a day later other than the obvious aching legs is that below my rib cage on both sides I feel bruised. This again could be down to the battering that my core muscles got over the last few months but also could be a side effect of the surgery itself.

I am determined to take things slowly though and not push myself. I dont want to pick up any injuries between now and the Snowdon walk as there is a lot riding on that now. In a way its a good thing as it will have the effect of holding me back a bit to begin with and just taking things easy. But at the moment the future looks good again in terms of getting back into the things I enjoy. Learning to run again will be a challenge but I'm a stone and a half lighter and that can only help! And once I get Snowdon out of the way I can plan my return to caving.......


  1. Good luck on the climb -- hope you have great weather!!!
    p.s. I got my six month scan results yesterday -- I'm good to go! Whew!!!
    anon 2

  2. Hi Anon no.2!
    Fantastic news on your scan results! I am really please for you. I have to wait until October to go through that little ordeal.
    The weather looks OK for us at the mo although overcast so I dont think I'll be posting pictures of fantastic views of Wales! It should be a great day though and for a good cause.
    Please keep me updated with your progress.


  3. Second attempt at sending a message - I am a colorectal cancer sufferer of 2 years. No matter what the cancer diagnosis, and I have not heard of your type, the initial shock is no less traumatic. However in your case of thinking you only had appendicitis the shock must have been even more powerful. I can tell you are a positive person and it continues to amaze me how cancer sufferers develop some powerful inner strength that pulls them through the worst times. After 2 years following a CT scan July I am clear and I have been told the positivity and developing a healthier lifestyle have contributed to this. However one thing a cancer sufferer does is realise how short life can be and I must admit I crammed an amazing amount of my "wish list" into one year!! I think your Snowden Challenge (mine was Race for life in the first year!!) is wonderful and one of the most important things after the big "C" is to have a project and something to focus on, it is so important. I also have children and grandchildren and they have probably been my biggest incentive and forced me into exercising. Your whole perspective on life changes and adopting a healthier lifestyle is something a lot of us tend to do now. I am sure your venture will be a success and I admire your drive and bravery. We are very lucky in Bristol to have such good colorectal surgeons, mine being Dr. Dixon of Frenchay. People should not be afraid to go to the doctor about these things. I did the wrong thing and kept putting it off but having now seen what goes on it is not so horrendous to get these check-ups and well worth it in the end. I wish you good health for the future.

  4. good luck Dave and happy to hear you are recovering and starting you runs, i am still getting there but much much better, today got a good ct scan report, keep it up regards Paul & Anne from Sunny Malta

  5. Hello Anonymous,
    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner but its been quite a busy weekend with mountains to climb!
    Firstly thank you for taking the time to make a comment and offer your support. It means so much every time someone takes the time to write a comment and we have had some really good conversations with fellow cancer sufferers offering support and advice. Like you its not only PMP sufferers who have made comments and got something from the blog and it thrills me to think that the site is helping people in some way.
    Your comment regarding having a project to focus on is absolutely right. Like most cancer sufferers there isnt a day that goes by where I dont think about it in some way. But by doing the Snowdon challenge, writing the blog and being an active member of the Christies forum I can channel those thoughts into something positive that hopefully benifits others in some way instead of dwelling on things.
    I'm also very lucky to have come through this so well. As you say a healthy lifestyle and mind is a huge benifit and I was lucky enough to have adopted the healthy regime some years ago so it put me in the best place possible when things did go wrong. Now I'm getting back to full fitness again I am planning on getting back into caving and climbing again as well as mulling over idea's for next years fundraiser!

    Peace and good health,


    Hello Paul and Anne, Great to hear from you both! Fantastic news on the CT scan results. I have to wait until October before I have the worry of going through that and what the results might say.....fingers crossed.
    I have accepted your freind request on Facebook so you'll be able to see the early photo's from our fundraiser for Basingstoke. I have a very busy few weeks ahead now gathering all the photos and writing a full report on the blog site and of course starting to collect all the sponsorship money. We think we might just hit the £5k target!
    Speak soon,
    Peace and good helth to you all,