Is it safe to keep running when on chemotherapy?
Is it safe to keep running when on chemotherapy?
I'm on tx for hep c and can barely walk down the hall to pee most days, even with 40,000 IU of EPO/week. YMMV.
A good person to talk to about this is Jenny Goellnitz. She is a regular poster over on the RW site and also just started writing a column for Running Times Magazine. She consistently runs 100+ mile weeks and ran through cancer treatment as far as I know. I won't post her email here, but if you go to http://www.goellnitz.org/ and scroll to the bottom, her contact information is there. Here are her RT articles as well:
Sounds like you've got bigger fish to fry.
If it's a short treatment then you might as well not take a risk at wearing yourself down more than necessary. Rest during the treatment and know that it won't take you too long to get back in shape.
If it's a long treatment then it's probably pretty serious and it's probably best for you to rest up.
But hey, Dr. Fraunkensteen is no oncologist. Check with your doc.
I suppose it depends on the circumstances. Check with your doctor. Mine told me I could give it a try.
What type of chemotherapy are you undergoing? How often? How long?
I went through chemotherapy a couple of years ago. I continued to run... jog. Prior to chemotherapy, I was running 80-90 mpw, generally 6:00 pace. During chemotherapy, I was running 10-12 mpw, generally very, very slow. I suggest not wearing a watch.
As a precaution, I usually ran with someone else or ran on a track. Many days I could only make it 400m-800m. Somedays I would run 4 miles and feel fine.
I really enjoyed running. If you love to run, run.
Read Armstrong's account of what it was like to exercise while on chemo. Now you may be on different drugs with a different set of side effects. Many chemo drugs nuke your blood; you could become anemic or more susceptible to it, get infections easier, not be able to clot right, etc.
It really depends what you are on.
It's ok to get information from others who have done it. I agree with reading Armstrong's book, it helped me though my cancer was not treatable by chemo. Please discuss this with your Onc, educate yourself to what ever the side effects are and DO if you decide and are given the go ahead run with a partner.
STAY positive at ALL times though it can be hard at times, know you WILL beat this.
My thoughts and prayers are with you, run strong!
Everyone is different when it comes to the effects of chemotherapy on someones body. You are able to exercise when going through something like that but just realize that you have to take it easy or your body will not recover at all. Proper nutrition while going through chemotherapy will help you tons as well. I went through 9 weeks of chemo, during the beginning I kept running and then towards the end it was even difficult to walk 200m down the road. I think that exercising helped alot in my recovery though.
Yes, as the above poster said, but you should be running/walking to preserve your sanity - staying in shape will be the last thing on your mind as the treatments progress. You will feel worse with each treatment. I could barely cover a mile walking/running toward the end. But as my DR told me: " On your worst days you must remember that chemo is your friend and it will save your life. I posted that on my refrig. Believe me , some days I felt like dying was a better option. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed, some people are not affected very much at all-you may be one of the lucky ones.
So, always remember that chemo is your friend, that you will feel worse as the treatments progress and that the treatments are definitely finite! Ask your DR about procrit-it's an EPO drug that will help you feel much better, it builds up the red cells to help you fight anemia. They normally won't adminster it until you are near the end of the treatments. For me it meant going from not be able to function to living a somewhat normal life. Good luck.
Mark Conover ran 30-40 miles per week while on chemo. Then he qualified for the '92 Trials.
One tough SOB...
I was on CHOP-R for lymphoma and I kept up my regular workout schedule, just decreased the intensity and distance.
There are many types of chemotherapy, some will be rougher on your system than others. Talk to your doctor. I would not do anything very intense, but staying active is probably good for the spirit and the physical issues, not that anyone has ever studied this. We do see patients in the hospital with treadmills in their rooms going through the intense chemo preps of stem cell transplants, so others have certainly done it, although frankly most walked.
I would make sure you stay well hydrated, since de-hydration can affect your kidney function, and many of the drugs are metabolized/excreted by the kidneys, so you'd rather not have that fluctuating every time you go for a harder run. Good luck.
I'm the Jenny mentioned above.
Most of the evidence on exercise and chemo is anecdotal, but a few studies exist, mostly involving women with breast cancer. The evidence suggests that the exercise group does better -- less side effects, better able to complete the prescribed courses.
But they usually aren't talking about vigorous activity like running ... For that you're really looking stuck with anecdotal evidence.
I had Hodgkin's Disease, a type of blood cancer (specifically HD is a lymphoma). I did 8 cycles of ABVD (16 treatments over about 8 momths). In terms of toxicity, ABVD is not considered an extremely severe regimen, though 8 cycles takes you up to your maximum lifetime dose of Adriamycin (which causes heart damage) and Dacarbazine is extremely emetogenic. (In terms of Hodgkin's Disease treatment, 8 cycles of ABVD is considered aggressive. Most people get 6 cycles.) I got Arnasep (similar to Procrit) for anemia almost every treatment and Neulasta as a white cell booster.
My blood was very dangerously depleted of hemoglobin at diagnosis. It was 6.8 when I walked into my oncologist's office for the first time. (To give an idea, at 8.0 most people would get a blood transfusion.) How I was running with that low of iron is kind of a mystery, though my oncologist thinks it was because it dropped so slowly over time that my body adjusted and had adapted. I also had SVC syndrome because one of the chest masses had started to crush the superior vena cava and the blood wasn't able to fully drain from my head. And I had a super high heart rate for someone running 90-100 miles per week. By the time I was diagnosed I was struggling hard to run 11 and 12 minute miles.
So, I think it's important to understand when considering my case that I was actually quite sick from Hodgkin's Disease when I started getting chemo.
My doctor is a very good runner and he said I could run, and never raised an objection throughout treatment. He said patients who exercise usually do better (it seems counterintuitive, but exercise helps keep your energy). Plus, I think he knew it kept me happy. When you're faced with over half a year of chemotherapy, keeping happy is helpful.
I have found many oncologists are runners and so they are as a whole actually knowledgeable about running and understand that running is important to keeping sanity.
Running through that long a course of chemo was very hard. Bleomycin messed up my right lung and I still have a lot of damage there. But in terms of energy, I was lucky. My counts climbed higher and higher during chemo, and I finished with hemoglobin of 12.5 (I'm in remission and it is now 14.5). I found things got better as I went along, not worse. I basically started at the bottom. If I had gotten worse, I wouldn't be here. My doctor said he thought untreated I would have lived maybe 3 months.
I averaged more like 20 to 40 miles per week during chemo. By the VERY end, I was back up running high mileage, however.
But that running required A LOT of pride swallowing and walking. During chemo, I rarely ran faster than a 10 minute mile. I decided the stupid cancer could make my hair fall out, make my face swell, give me horrible hiccups, cause me to quit my job, and make me feel like hurling my guts out, but I wasn't letting it have running too, even if it meant I ran like a rank beginner.
I'm not a particularly fast or talented runner, but I currently am back out running 90-100 miles per week at an average 8 minute pace. I have side effects from chemo that prevent me from training hard (mainly the lung problem), but honestly, I'm just happy to still be alive and running.
My website was posted above, you can use that if you want to contact me.