By Jessica Spencer from
Congrats! You are now part of a special club that no one wants to be a part of, and have received a diagnosis that you wouldn’t wish on absolutely anyone.
You’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, and suddenly your world starts spinning out of control.
Doctor’s appointments, to do lists, writing down questions—it’s not long until you begin feeling completely helpless, and find yourself questioning every single thing you’ve ever done in your life.
“Was it too much caffeine?”
“Too much meat?”
“Should I have paid more and bought the organic vegetables”
“Birth control, it has to be the birth control.”
The questions never seem to stop. Most of them don’t even have answers. But either way, they have a stunning ability to make you feel as if you are no longer in control of any aspect of your life.
That being said, if you are like me, you try desperately to take the control back. You find daily reminders that your body isn’t entirely broken, and look for the rewarding wins in the small tasks.
My form of breast cancer required both chemotherapy and radiation. So, as you can imagine, it equated to a very long treatment path.
I’m a young woman with two very young children, so I knew I had to go all in. I had to slay this beast of a cancer and be done with it.
So I did. 8 rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation. BOOM!
And can I tell you one of the only things that kept me going?
It might sound crazy and you might be rolling your eyes, but it’s true. Exercise helped me regain some of the control that I was so desperately seeking.
I’ve always been an active person. I’ve run several races, enjoyed a good weight training class, yoga, pilates—you name it and I’ve probably tried it. But finding simple ways daily to stay active has always been my goal.
I was determined to continue this part of my life when I was diagnosed. I was actually delighted to hear when my radiation oncologist told me that working out 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes could actual increase energy, and was actually quite beneficial while undergoing radiation treatment.
Hello control. I actually felt like I was winning this battle!
I realize that some people might not have the same reaction towards exercising. You may feel overwhelmed when starting a new workout program, you may be scared to learn how out of shape you are, or you have never even had a daily routine that included exercise.
And that’s ok.
There is no better time than now to start creating new healthy habits. And remember, you want to start taking some of that control back.
I know new routines can be scary, but don’t let fear get in your way. You can do this—believe me, you can. Your body is stronger than you think. There will be times, especially in the beginning, that you can barely get out of the bed. Your fatigue might feel like the heaviest weight ever on your body, and maybe just walking down the hall is a challenge for the day. Your body might even be so sore that you can’t even tie your own shoes. I’ve been there and felt it all. But believe me when I say, “keep going as it will all be worth it.”
Here are some of my simple tips to help you get started:
* Start small: take a walk around the block and start adding in time each day. If you enjoy the outdoors, go on a hike, find a fun trail, just move your body and build up a sweat 5 times a week
* Have your friends & family hold you accountable: 75% of people will complete or accomplish a goal if they have extra support from others or they have friends actual joining them in the goal
* Write down your goals: write them down and post them everywhere. Be specific in your goal setting. These will be the daily reminders that you will read several times a day and help you stay on track
* Don’t compare your goals with others. You have cancer and you are doing everything possible for your body to beat this. This is your goal, and should always remain your #1 goal.
* Be gentle on yourself. This is a marathon not a sprint, so no need to go all in and burn yourself out the first week
* Tell yourself you can exercise and be positive
Once you are able to get out of your comfort zone and push yourself, you’ll be surprised at how far you can really go. I promise you, when you start, you will fall down. Maybe even several times. But keep going. Keep pushing yourself. There will be some tough days, and you are embarking upon the toughest journey you will ever take. But in the end, you will become a better you.
If you miss a workout or are too busy one day, don’t beat yourself up. Life happens. But get yourself up and get back on track the next day. Don’t let yourself skip more than 2 consecutive workouts—this is very important. Remember, we are teaching our bodies new habits, and missing more than two workouts might cause bad habits to slip back in.
Your body has all of the strengths and even the weaknesses to be better. Practice self love and start with your body. One day at a time.
Strength is never easy to come by.
Girl, take that control back and continue to slay this beast. You can and will beat this. 💗
*And please, always remember to consult with your doctor before starting to exercise. It’s important to ease in at your own pace. What is best for one person may be completely different for another. *