For those of you not aware of my situation, for the past 7 months my family and I have been privately dealing with my Breast Cancer diagnosis. We chose not to make this public as I am of the mindset that if you make a big deal of something, it becomes a big deal. Ok, so I know Cancer is a real big deal, but I have viewed this as an illness that just needs treatment and so far, this approach is working.
Having temporarily left the Middle East to undergo treatment in UK, I have just completed my 8th chemotherapy session. Now I won’t go into massive detail just yet about the chemo – that was a relatively unpleasant experience for me and for those around me – but I have got through it and am now 5 day post final chemo.
Someone once said to me that chemo changes you, now in some respects that is true – but only in as far as you allow it to change you. I admit the week after my chemo I am a totally different person – I am confused, tired, irritable, unwell – basically I came to refer to myself as a ‘Chemo Cow’ as I was pretty nasty and unpleasant. I would feel negative and depressed (mainly due to the steroids you take to help with sickness and side effects), and extremely irrational, sensitive and snappy. Even I didn’t like being in my company!! That said, after my week of self pity, I would be back to my normal positive self, becoming excited that I was another step closer to the end and being so so grateful for everything good in my life.
One of the things a lot of women struggle with during Chemo is the weight gain and the lack of control on your body. You have all these poisons circulating and you have little or no energy. The steroids can make you hungry and you feel sorry for yourself so you think you deserve that extra cake or biscuit. Why not – I do have Cancer after all!! Throw in some good old water retention (feet that look like pigs trotters!), and a lovely spotty complexion, then mix it up with losing your hair. Overall you end up feeling hugely unattractive, bloated and un-feminine. Now being a PT and a Nutritionist, I understand what you should and shouldn’t eat and to be honest, I was quite tough on myself. For 2 out of 3 weeks, I trained as hard as my body would allow and I followed my own 7 day detox (within reason). I did this to try and keep some level of control over my weight gain as I knew it would be tougher to lose it after chemo. Not everyone puts on weight, however, I have heard horror stories of massive weight gain, so I was quite pleased that I only put on 7lbs. BUT, it still needs to come off before I start my next stage of treatment. Part of exercising and eating right is about my body and mind being in the best physical condition it can be to help me get through the trials of life. It’s not about being skinny, but healthy and fit. As an aside, part of why I think I have managed chemo so well is that I was fit and healthy beforehand so had a head start.
SO, today is DAY ONE of my Body Takeover – that is taking my body back over from the chemo. Yesterday was a lovely day of indulgence, juicy burgers and ice cream, in preparation for today. This is not just a detox or cleanse, I am determined to fight forever to maintain a healthy body and mind. Although I have worked hard these past 7 months, my mental well-being has been compromised and it too needs a re-set. I know that what I have stated here does not just apply to people going through Cancer treatments, but also other health conditions, general weight gain, stressful lives, and generally life as busy Working Mum’s. We all need to be kind to ourselves and treat our bodies with respect to help us get through not only today, but tomorrow and the rest of our lives.
So, I hear you ask – what does DAY ONE entail??? Well, I have started my 9 day Cleanse from Forever Living. Lots of Aloe Vera drinking gel, natural weight loss tablets, fibre and a protein shake. It is a struggle as I love love love food, however, this part of the Cleanse is essential to clean your colon and re-set your gut ready for food on Day 3. There are lots of juicy free foods you can eat if you get desperate (strawberries, oranges, apples, broccoli, cucumber etc.).
I did 10 minutes of yoga this morning before the school run to stretch out and de-stress. I will also be training tonight (in the comfort of my own home), using Beachbody on Demand which is an awesome at home app where you can stream over 700 workout sessions, all filtered by time, fitness level, session type or trainer. I get bored very easily so love the flexibility this gives and think tonight will be a 30 minute Mixed Martial Arts class (MMA), with some of my favourite Mauy Thai exercises thrown in.
I will keep you updated with my body takeover quest – It is going to be tough at times, but definitely fun and most certainly worth the rewards.