Returning from breast cancer - advice needed

I graduated a few months ago and almost straight away found that I had breast cancer, as a result of which I had a mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction which means I have abdominal as well as chest wounds. I am now counting down the days until I can start running again (21 days from today).

Has anyone else had a break from running for surgery? If so, how did you restart? My muscles seem to have withered away while I've been sat watching endless TV; think they've been replaced by chocolate!




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  • Great news that you have been given the all clear to start running again. With advice from your docs I would start off with gentle walking first and build up those muscles. They might allow you to walk before you can run so to speak. Always the rule of thumb is listen to your docs first then after that listen to your body and be honest with yourself. We all have to habit to ignore a little pull here and there but in Your case it would not be wise. Take it slow and steady and I am sure I won't be any time till your back out there like you used to. Happy healing.

  • It's great to hear you're "out on the other side" of the surgery and all the horror that goes along with that diagnosis. Really, really pleased to hear it.

    I can't really add much to RFC's brilliant advice. Sounds like she's got it covered.

    Happy (gentle!) running :)

  • You muscles will definitely have wasted - even a short spell of bed rest can cause muscle atrophy. I had a knee op some years ago and when I came out of the surgery my left quad muscle was practically useless. I couldn't even lift my leg off the mattress.

    As realfoodie suggested, walking sounds like a good idea...It will also be good for your general well-being. You could also do some isometric exercises (sort of tensing the muscle) or resistance bands on body parts that aren't too painful - legs certainly. You can achieve great things with isometric and band exercises even in bed as I've found. My triceps muscles were built in bed using a resistance band, lazy git that I am. :p So perhaps you could use the time on the couch to gently exercise your useable muscles?

    I'm sorry to hear you had to go through that trauma but it's good to hear your spirit is strong and you want to get back out there! You can achieve quite a bit in three weeks. :) All the best and I hope you'll keep us posted.

  • As a walker I think walking would be great for your mind and body. Nothing like a walk on a lovely day to cheer you up and exercise your muscles. Have you spoken to your doctor about what exercise you can do?

  • Sorry to hear about your brush with breast cancer but good to hear you have got through surgery. I had DIEP breast reconstuction last year and it took quite a while for the abdominal part of the op to heal. I hadn't done any running before my surgery but my doctor suggested taking up Nordic Walking which a lot of post breast cancer ladies do here in Germany (where I live). It may be good to start with that and then progress to running when you feel ready but above all I would say, listen to your body - which sounds like a bit of a get out - but from my experience it does work. You'll know if you're doing too much or if you can do a bit more. Trust your own judgement and good luck. Hope you make a speedy recovery. All the best.

  • Firstly, I'm so pleased you'll be well enough to start running again in a few weeks time. I know exactly what you mean about by muscles wasting away. I've been unable to run since I broke my ankle in February and it's maddening to see all my hard earned muscles disappearing. I guess we'll both have to start from scratch again and follow Laura's instructions. We did it once and we can do it again. Hopefully we'll still have some residual cardiovascular fitness to build on. Very very best of luck. I'll look forward to reading your posts about your return to fitness

  • So glad you will soon be getting out there again - I can only imagine how horrible the last few months have been. Lots of good advice above - I simply wanted to add my good wishes. Good luck.

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