Tamoxifen Anniversary

It’s my Tamoxifen Anniversary Month!

FOUR YEARS!

I KNOW… I can’t believe it either… IT’S IMPRESSIVE!

I MADE PEACE WITH IT!

I started taking Tamoxifen on 6 November 2012. It has been a rollercoaster of unexpected revelations filled with ups and downs and twists and mind boggling curves…. But guess what…

I AM ALIVE!

In all honesty I can say that it gets better, easier, manageable. The side effects lessen somewhat or you just get used to it. In my case I think that I just got used to feeling this way as its been so long that I don’t remember what I felt like BC (Before Cancer).

Yesterday I took a moment to look my body over and was alarmed to notice that I still look and weigh EXACTLY THE SAME AS I DID AFTER Chemo…. What this translates to is… an extra 12 kilograms!!! And I have not lost even a milligram of weight despite having trained consistently ALL YEAR!

Now don’t feel dismayed or get discouraged! I am absolutely elated at my progress. I am super proud that Since January 2016 up until yesterday I have managed to run a total of 675kms!!!

Despite the fatigue, the pain, the anger, the depression, the bone aches, the muscle spasms, the general unwell feeling, the brain fog, the insomnia, the judgement and the FEAR…

I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT!

That’s right FEAR – I remember how afraid I was of starting to exercise once I was done with chemo… And I am still afraid of exercising! I am afraid of running! It challenges me on so many levels to push my mind and body to the point beyond fear… and it’s scary! I never know if I will survive the onslaught LOL!

It was not easy, I did not just decide to start exercising and do it… Oh no! It takes courage! It takes Balls! It takes a fighting spirit! ASK ANYONE ON Tamoxifen or Post Chemo… I progressed gently from home workouts to Yoga and rebounding in early 2013, then Functional training and bootcamp till 2014 and then in 2015 I did Cross training until I felt brave enough to start running super slowly.

What I have learnt over these four years on this medication is that my ability to recover from intense workouts has diminished quite drastically. My levels of pain post training is quite intense as well. I just generally pray for calmness and hope that it will pass! I try not to rely on pain medication unless I really need it – when my arms or legs swell up and I can’t touch them…

BUT…. After I had a workout I feel amazing! I feel like I have achieved EVERYTHING and that makes me feel happy and a whole lot more human! And Yes I still hobble in the morning (unable to stand on my feet) my arms and legs still ache, my hips hurt, my armpits are on fire and the back pain is still there – Nothings Changed – Except My Mind!

I no longer feel that I can’t do it…

I BELIEVE AND KNOW THAT I CAN!

PS: I must admit that even though I am still overweight, I am a whole lot less jiggly!

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Running Goals

I am trying my best to change my body. I want to rebuild it, reform it, nurture it and reshape it. I know that running can and will do this. This is not a pursuit for vanity or to stroke my ego. This is a quest, a mission to get my body healthy with a kick-ass immune system and to keep myself Cancer-Free!

Therefore my goals are different to the average runner. We probably have similar goals but mine varies somewhat – same-same only different! I have no desire to participate in races. I am not mad about running in large groups because I am not competitive. I have no interest in social running either. This is ME TIME DAMMIT!

So my Number One goal is to keep me Healthy – I need to keep my weight down, minimal body fat equals less oestrogen equals less cancer, lean musculature means reduced impact on my bones (which are fragile), healthy heart and lungs (added bonus great legs and booty) and a revitalized Liver (which we can’t live without)… Therefore I am required to exercise daily for at least 30 minutes. I really struggled to do this at first because my body does not like to exercise everyday. It basically goes into shock and screams out ‘Fuck You!’ and decides to get back at me by getting a Cold!

So far so good… Body be kind to me!

Beacon of Health

When you run you become so in tune with your body. You listen and feel yourself. This element of running is of utmost importance to me. Personally I see running as my vehicle to keep track of my health. I think my body will definitely let me know if there is a cancer recurrence or if there are any complications involving the heart/lungs/bones/liver.

I am only running consistently for the past year. I was unable to run through chemotherapy and post mastectomy. I knew that I needed to exercise so I used to rebound and when I was feeling stronger I tried some personal trainers and gym, but never really felt satisfied with the outcome. Last year I decided ‘Right, enough of feeling like shit’ and went for my first slow run after struggling with health issues since my first pregnancy – like 9 years ago – SIESS!!!

Now don’t get me wrong, the keyword being consistent – I was active but NOT CONSISTENT!

During both my pregnancies I did Preggie Yoga and enjoyed walking. After each pregnancy I tried to get back into running but was never really fully committed to the experience so I tried new things like Bikram Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. I did Bootcamp workouts and really fell inlove with kettle bells and functional training post last pregnancy. I also spent copious amounts of time on the treadmill at gym – which is the biggest rip off you might as well be a hamster… Here’s the truth – NOTHING beats ROAD RUNNING!

My Running Story

I remember my first race. I was 8 and I ran my first 5km community race and then I won a prize for being the youngest finisher! Wow! What a memory! But I digress – that is NOT why I love running!

I was introduced to running by my father. He was the first marathoner I ever trained with. I started training with him when I was about 6 or 7. Him pounding the pavement and me riding alongside him on my BMX bike! I will never forget his first 42km race  – because I was not allowed to bike alongside him – the exhilaration, the excitement and the sheer nerves before hearing the Start Gun firing off!

As a family we always supported him at the races – even if they started at the most ridiculous times and inconvenient venues – I remember we even slept in the car overnight! My Dad’s training was inclusive, he made us ride, walk, crawl or run with him. His diet changed and so did ours. We were a really active family!

I only really started running with him when I was about 12 and I didn’t like it one bit… I used to think it was absolute torture and could not understand why you would want to do this to your body… At 16 I finally understood the benefits of running and was really grateful for the positive body image my Dad created by instilling such a healthy active lifestyle.

Running at least twice a week was our bonding time. Our alone time. Our meditative time. We were able to keep track of each other’s lives with long conversations and many debates which was absolutely crucial during my most rebellious years. In hindsight my Dad was really clever, because he instilled in me a love for something that we shared and gifted me with the ability of running that would positively influence my entire life!

I am eternally grateful for this and I hope to do the same for my girls!

In Shaa Allah!

Why I Run…

Heart pounding lungs heaving blood pumping… how much more alive could you feel? Adrenaline rushing through my body and all my senses heightened. Sweat releasing toxins from my skin and lymph drainage at it’s best! A little bit of pain here and there to remind me that I am not Super Human (not yet at least –  it’s a work in progress LOL) accompanied by a deep rooted satisfaction I have not experienced from anything else …

I LOVE running. It makes me feel ALIVE. I feel the Universe and I are One.

When I run I am able to quiet my mind which is such a blessing because I have a riotous, obscenely, torturously busy head! I am incapable of keeping track of all the things that I THINK ABOUT! I used to get really worried about how my mind can really run away like wildfire and I lose the ability to focus – pretty much like a hyper kid on a sugar rush! But when I run, I am able to control my thoughts and confront my problems with a healthy dose of ‘You Can’t Fuck with Me ‘cos I Got This’!

And Yes – I do believe that EVERYONE CAN AND MUST RUN!