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How long to get strength back?

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 409
Joined: Dec 2017

I am on my second to last round. I said to my oncologist that I was so excited that I will soon be having energy again, because I was so tired even before the diagnosis and figured that was the cancer since I had tumors in bowel and liver. He basically said, don't want to burst your bubble, but it doesn't work like that. It can take a very long time to get all your energy back. For the record, on chemo, that first week, walking a block makes me need a nap, some where towards the end of the cycle, I can do errands that take 4 or so hours, with a lot of leaning and then need a nap when get home.

My question is, how long did it take y'all to get back to "normal" after treatment? oh, and about "normal" I am also weirdly having anxiety about transitioning back to "normal" because I can't remember what normal was, and I see danger everywhere now. So weird, because my emtions on this are worse than when I was first diganosed, and when I was first diagnosed, I was really bad off, like some were not sure I would make it. Never my oncologist or surgeon as they always were positive with me, but I aske d the resident who told me, and she said, well, 1 in 20 live 5 years. Later the intern, when my cousin was talking about positvie outcomes, the intern said, well, miracles do happen, in a sardonic way. Now, the next day, when I told my surgeon why I was so scared, he spent an hour with me telling me how he was going to save me. And he did. He had come in on his day off to see how I was handling my diagnosis.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2027
Joined: Sep 2014

It depends on the chemo, I think. I was on radiation and 5FU at the same time and was exhausted. The doctor said it would peak a few weeks after ending it and then I'd get better. Which is exactly how it went. Since then the chemos I've been on kept me fatigued for some time after they ended. From a few weeks to a few months but gradually getting better all the time.

Jan

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 409
Joined: Dec 2017

Thank you! It is probably good to set my expectations so that I don't have meltdown when I still can do everything I want to do right away. 

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 805
Joined: Aug 2013

I was so happy to finish the 12 rounds of Folfox that I took a Vegas trip and started at the gym, a month or two after, so I guess I didn't feel much linguring outside of some neuropathy. I hope it is the same for you....................................................Dave

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 775
Joined: Oct 2017

I've had injuries over the years and had to rehab something or other and I would expect about six months. We lose muscular strengh, cardiovascular capability and flexibility at a pretty fast rate and it's unrealistic to think that it's not going to take a lot of time to build it back up. It's a lot easier to lose fitness than it is to gain it. I'd recommend taking it slow, maybe getting help as in a personal trainer if you're not already knowledgeable, and keeping an eye on nutrition.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4400
Joined: Jan 2013

There will be no going back to how it was, just how its going to be.  I am five years out from treatment, four from my last recurrance, and life is FANTASTIC, but it is defintiely NOT like it was before diagnosis. 

It all depends on how you define normal.  

Energy is also a personal thing. Again, it depends on how your body responds to being off the chemo. It may bounce right back, it may bounce half way back, but it will bounce back. 

I don't have the stamina I used too, to keep going all day.  I work part time, and I am done by the end of the work day. I'm about to turn 60, and think a little bit of age is in the mix as well. 

As for survival, take every day and run with it.  I was given the 'five year' talk. I don't really care what they tell me about stats; I'll take every day I'm here and pray for more.

Do your best to eat right and get some kind of exercise. Lots of fresh air, family and friends and plenty of love.  Smell the roses and every other flower you pass; listen to the birds and feel the breeze on your face. 

So happy to hear you are about to finish your treatment. 

Tru

Dick L's picture
Dick L
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2018

After a couple of years of treatment I really do not remember what "normal" was, and I find it does not matter.  I just feel a bit better each day and enjoy what comes.  I learned many years ago to accept events as they happen, but to always look for the positive side of things.  I used to love climbing mountains, now I enjoy looking at mountains and telling my wife the route I would take if I could climb again - I appreciate being able to plan a route (my new normal) even though I don't really expect to actually climb (old normal) again.  I still have memories and I can still dream - I just have a different slant on life.  Things that were very important to me before (lot of material things) are not anymore.  My new normal is focused on enjoying each day, sharing time with family, and knowing the increase in stamina is slow but steady.

Butt
Posts: 36
Joined: May 2018

3 weeks after Folfox my energy looked pretty good.

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 409
Joined: Dec 2017

Thanks! I am hoping to slowly ramp back up. 

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5667
Joined: Feb 2009

People work through treatment so everyone's tolerance is different.  Like Jan stated it depends on treatment.  The chemo dragged me down, but was always to get out and do something everyday.  Especially going to McDonalds for coffee as I'd never miss that.  After a couple weeks you will gradually feel yourself getting more strength and doing more things.  Glad your surgeon is on your side.  You will see a better future once you are off treatment.

Kim

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 470
Joined: Apr 2017

Everyone is different.  For some, the "new normal" means an adjustment in activity.  For me, it has meant an adjustment in attitude.  It took me about a month to feel 90% normal after chemo.  The last ten percent has been seeping back in the nine months since chemo ended.  Despite the surgery and chemo, I find that I am able to participate in just about every activity that I did before my diagnosis.  Perhaps I am a little slower or a little weaker, but that could well be to increased age.  The future is uncertain and the present is all I have, but I strive to make the best of it.  I hope you will keep us updated at to how you are doing as the chemo fades.  Cheers!

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 775
Joined: Oct 2017

Last week I walked 105 miles. I don't think that I've ever done that before and it sounds like a lot but it isn't. I have some objective targets on prior fitness and I expect them to take considerable time to reach, if ever. The clock doesn't start until after reversal and port removal. I'm also trying to avoid injury while getting back.

I have a friend with agressive MS and she has to walk with a cane or a walker but she goes to the gym every day.

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 409
Joined: Dec 2017

That sounds like a lot!. I walked 15 blocks the other day and had to rest.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5667
Joined: Feb 2009

Awesome.  That is fantastic.  I'm afraid to go to far from the house walking but do try to get my 10,000 steps in a day with my Fitbit.  That is great and try to keep up the walking - maybe not that much each week, but as much as you are able.

Kim

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 775
Joined: Oct 2017

I'm in a competition at work on steps. We just started the third week and I'm in the lead by about 100,000 steps. The fitness center manager mentioned that one of the people here said that she didn't see how it was possible to run over 100,000 steps per week; she chuckled because I was on chemo for the first two weeks. So I'm doing a lot more steps that I usually would - normally I'm more balanced between cardio, flexibility, strength training and balance. The contest is a fun game-theory exercise - the folks that work here are very competitive people - you'd never know it to talk to them though. I'm going to miss at least a few days for surgery and probably a colonoscopy too.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5667
Joined: Feb 2009

My daughter works for a major airline that did a competition a couple years ago.  It's great that a company encourages their employees to get more exercise as sometimes jobs become complacent and people tend to not exercise.  I'm glad that you are taking part in it and wooohooo for being in 1st place.  Do you win anything if you place in the top 3?  Hope you win 1st place Smile.

Kim

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 775
Joined: Oct 2017

There are prizes for the top three males and top three females. There are also prizes for anyone that does at least 720,000 steps for the three months (works out to 60K/week). My approach is to do so many at the beginning so that nobody tries to catch up. Then I can relax. The top female has essentially done the same thing. So you have a lot of people competing for the second and third places.

myAZmountain
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2018

Energy seems like a rare commodity while underging FOLFOX --its 5 minutes up doing stuff and 15 resting. Hearing these recovery stories I have hope to be hiking up the mountain someday again!

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 775
Joined: Oct 2017

Or riding a horse. Sometimes it's fun to look through the avatars.

myAZmountain
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2018

Energy seems like a rare commodity while underging FOLFOX --its 5 minutes up doing stuff and 15 resting. Hearing these recovery stories I have hope to be hiking up the mountain someday again!

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 409
Joined: Dec 2017

Thanks! Yall have given me hope. Right now, even taking a shower wipes me out. And y'all have given me the ability not to feel guilty if I can only do 30 minutes or so of cardion at first while I am getting back to "normal". I feel so guilty right now that I didn't at least get things done around my apt these last few months. I honestly have maybe two days in my infusion cycle where I have say a four hour chunk of feeling okay enough to do something, and that is when I get the two weeks of errands done. I have been trying to make sure at the very least walk to the corner store every day. And that makes the muscles in my legs ache like back when I would do an hour on the eliptical. I think I need to try to go for a 30 minute walk every day. I have one infusion left! hopefully, i feel like saying that might jinx my post chemo scan coming back clear of cancer.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 5667
Joined: Feb 2009

You do it when you can and don't worry about cleaning.  Right now is about you and getting you feeling better.  Is there anyone that you could call to help you maybe twice a month on doing chores?  Don't worry about it though.  That is the last thing that should be on your mind.  If you feel you can walk - do it.  It sometimes picks you up more than you think but don't overdo.  Even if you do 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon is good until you start feeling better.  Hopefully you see an end to this like you said - one more.  Wishing and praying that this is the case.  Thanks for the update.

Kim

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 409
Joined: Dec 2017

Thank you!

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