"Take Care of Yourself". I can't tell you how many times people have told me that. They aren't talking simply of being "healthy". We've learned through this that in some cases simply "being healthy" doesn't mean anything. Cancer doesn't care whether you are a fit and healthy 37 year old or a fat and unhealthy 70 year old smoker.
"Take Care of Yourself". Swap the first couple of words and you get "Care Take". When a friend, relative, S.O., etc. gets sick, you become their caretaker. Or at least that is what you end up being called.
Being a caretaker is hard, really hard. I'd never say it is harder than dealing with the disease, but it is hard. You are a partner, an advocate, a cook, a trainer, an insurance navigator, everything. The patient has one goal. I knew this. Our stem cell Dr. at MD Anderson confirmed it again.
I'm in a good spot because I don't have a traditional job right now. I coach enough athletes to take care of the day to day living. I'm in a good spot because I don't have a traditional job right now. I can be Amy's 24/7 caretaker.
I'm also in a bit of a rough spot because I don't have the financial stability of the traditional job right now, whether it was before this or after this. But even if I did...it would be difficult to be a true caretaker for someone in Amy's situation. The FMLA only requires up to 12-weeks of unpaid leave. Further, the US is the only major industrialized nation without a national paid sick-leave policy. Not complaining. Educating.
My main point is that to be a caretaker, you must take care of yourself. If I get sick, I am of little use to Amy when she is at home or in the hospital. If over the course of this year I put on stress weight, eat poorly, and generally become unhealthy, I am of little use to Amy when she is on the road to recovery. In addition to doing something daily, that last one of stable body weight is key as well.
My ideal minimum is 20 minutes, 7+ hours of sleep, and at least 1 big greens based salad meal a day. Some days my minimum has been a few trips up a full 7 flights of stairs at Seton. Others like yesterday it was 30+ minutes of walking the halls at MD Anderson. Everyone with 2 workable legs can walk. Everyone. Everyone can put down their fork or order something with a few less calories. Everyone can grab for the carrots instead of the cookies. To go from 20+ hours of actual training a week to 6-8 hours of exercising has been an adjustment. To go from 2 plates of food at each meal to 1 has been a bigger adjustment!
My average week has probably been 6 hours of exercise. 1 day every 7-10 days that might be considered a zero in most books. I've hit the gym, you'll be able to tell when I pose shirtless, 2x a week.
Amy was inpatient at Seton for 45 days. 45 days. Over the course of those 45 days her initial fitness helped her handle the chemotherapy. She probably averaged a 20 minute daily walk outside of her room, and on some days she rode an archaic Schwinn Airdyne 10-30 minutes.
20 minutes a day for 45 days while undergoing chemotherapy. What's your excuse?