Recovery after Cancer age 50

Hello all.

I worked hard to get fit and healthy and with the help of Myfitnesspal, nutrition advice and weight training went down from close to 170 at 48 to 147. I also was down to a size 6 and aiming for 135 or at least to get under 140. I felt fantastic, really strong and had lost a lot of body fat although a 2nd dexa scan still showed I had too much fat and needed to lose more for health (I was 119 before having kids as I am a petite build although 5' 5").

Last summer out of the blue I was diagnosed with lymphoma in my bones after developing back pain. I was on bed rest all summer. After chemo which finished in October I am doing much better although still on pain killers. I am gradually getting more active. I did gain some weight and have lost some. Currently at 157.5.

Has anyone else had cancer or other serious condition and got back to the same level of fitness?

I would love your stories and any photos. I do think my general good level of health helped my recovery.


  • Joyfulandactive
    Joyfulandactive Posts: 109 Member
  • isbfc2011
    isbfc2011 Posts: 7 Member
    I think the key would be to go easy with yourself at first. I had non cancer abdominal surgery a few years ago. Prior to surgery I was lifting a lot of heavy weights, cycling and logging.

    I was keen to get stuck in again but definitely went too hard too fast. I actually got a fright at how much the heavy lifting etc was taking out of me and I think that initial aggressive approach set me back a while. I was nervous of touching a barbell for a long time.

    Ease yourself back in is the best advice I can give.
  • pinuplove
    pinuplove Posts: 12,874 Member
    Happy to hear you're on the road to recovery! No firsthand advice, but paging @AnnPT77 for you :smile:
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 30,358 Member
    Not exactly the same story. When I was diagnosed with stage iII breast cancer in my mid-40s, I was sedentary, obese and unfit. After treatment (bilateral mastectomies, 6 months of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation, a start on 7.5 years of anti-estrogen drugs), I became very active, joining a rowing team, even competing as a master's athlete, and got into the best shape of my life.

    Though my athletic markets were pretty good (resting heart rate, strength, endurance, pace, etc.), I stayed obese for about another decade (it's easy to out-eat pretty substantial amounts of exercise ;) ).

    About 4 years ago, it finally sunk in that I needed to lose weight, for my health's sake. I lost about 50 pound in a little less than a year. I've maintained s healthy weight since. My athletic performance remains about the same as before, but my health is much improved (blood pressure, lipids).

    At 63, I'm in better health and fitness than I was at age 43.

    I feel confident that you can recover your fitness. As always, it will require gradual, steady work. But with that work, it's achievable.

    Best wishes!
  • lax75
    lax75 Posts: 118 Member
    I too was able to use recovering from cancer as motivation to improve my overall fitness/health. I wasn't hugely overweight when diagnosed with breast cancer, but I certainly wasn't fit either - when my children were little I coached soccer, ran around the playground, pushed strollers etc., but as they got more independent I didn't get the benefit of all that. I learned to row with the same organization for breast cancer survivors as AnnPT77 (albeit 1000 miles away), finding the sport that now pretty much dominates my life! Add in discovering MFP and now at 65 I am in better shape and health than I have been since I played sports in college.

    I told my oncologist (only half jokingly!) when I finished active treatment that his job was to keep me alive from cancer until I die of something else - I'll worry about all the other stuff. I agree with the advice of don't push too far too fast - you will likely get more discouraged than ever by any set-backs. Remain patient, and trust your body to tell you how much it can take.

    I know your cancer is a different type than mine, but you might want to check out the WeCanRow websites (each "chapter" has its own). A number of members have posted thoughts on the role rowing specifically but also exercise in general have played in their recoveries, and you might find some of it helpful/interesting.

    Wishing you strength as you navigate this next stage of your life - remember that the emotional recovery from cancer can be harder and longer than the physical recovery, but you'll get there!!
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