This is what it looks like to exercise during chemo.

For the most part, it doesn’t look too special. I walk every day. I strength train 3 times a week. When I can.

What you can’t see, is the 5 or 6 days after each treatment when I’m too exhausted to do more than walk. And, I’m lucky to have the energy to walk.

What you can’t see is that I’ve been significantly scaling my loads and my intensity because my energy and my stregth have steadily declined over the last four months of treatment. But, they’ve declined far less than they would have if I wasn’t still exercising.

What you can’t see is the frustration and disappointment of having to sideline all the goals I had for myself.

What you can’t see is that I haven’t run since August, because it’s not in the cards right now.

But what I hope you do see, is that I’m doing what I can.

I’m working with my body to support my treatment.

Lifting these weights, going through these motions, sticking to this routine has contributed so much to my moral over these last few months.

This is one not-so-small way I’m taking control back as I submit to a cascade of medical interventions ticked off my a random genetic mutation.

This is one way I stay connected to the reasons why I love my body.

The act of lifting heavy things reminds me that my body is still strong.

Stronger than the cancer working against it.

Cancer treatment can look like a lot of things. It can look very different for different people.

I’m in groups with people who are in the gym the day after chemo. That’s not me.

But I also know there are people that are wiped out for their entire course of treatment. That’s also not me.

But what I most want to share is that, with a little luck, it is POSSIBLE to retain this semblance of normality through chemo.

Chemo doesn’t have to take everything.

For anyone embarking on this journey, I would say this:

Go in with an open mind.

Understand that this chapter may not be one of strength, at least of the type that can be measured in pounds pressed overhead. But it’s possible to find a practice that honors what your body is fighting, lifts you up and energizes you.

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