Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exercise your options...

Special guest blogger: David Haas.

You can find more about David at

The common link between physical fitness and cancer prevention has been proven time and again, though lack of a regular exercise program is acknowledged as only one potential risk factor. Still, it is one of the risk factors that individuals have control over, so the emphasis is justified. Cancer experts have found through a number of studies, both clinical trials and epidemiology, that fitness is just as important during treatment.

Exercise during breast cancer treatment, for instance, has been shown in over 30 studies to reduce the common symptom of fatigue, improve quality of life scores for patients and reduce the risk of recurrence. Unfortunately, it has likewise been shown that a diagnosis of breast cancer typically results in lower levels of physical activity.

Similar findings have surfaced for other common forms of cancer, including hormone-based and colorectal cancers. Exercise is an important adjunct to treatment, capable of reducing the problems caused by cancer and treatments. Loss of self-image can cause emotional disorders, and chemotherapy often results in a mix of symptoms, like nausea, insomnia and poor bowel function. Exercise provides relief from these problems in otherwise healthy people, and modern medical research found that it works just the same for cancer patients.

Risks of Exercise During Treatment:

The primary reason exercise is not being adopted faster by cancer clinics, despite recommendations by the leading research organizations, is patient safety. Doctors worry that patients can be injured or may reduce their body's tolerance to treatment. While it is true that certain forms of exercise are inadvisable in certain conditions, such as high-intensity aerobics during mesothelioma treatment; all patients are capable of and will benefit from the use of a regular exercise program.

What that program looks like depends on medical evaluation and the patient’s own preferences. Most breast cancer patients will be able to engage in moderate-intensity workouts like walking, while those with bone cancer may be steered toward a no-impact exercise, such as water aerobics. For those facing a terminal prognosis, exercise can still provide benefits by reducing symptoms. The more the risk of exercise increases, the more imperative it is to seek the services of a fitness expert trained in cancer care.

Role of Personal Trainers:

A growing number of clinics and insurance plans are providing physical therapists for patients after surgeries, because specialized exercises have shown valuable in speeding up recovery time. Personal trainers can do much more though, especially when working as part of the clinical team. They can give suggestions on the most appropriate forms of exercise, as well as share knowledge of local resources. They are also skilled in helping patients stick to the program. Check with clinics to find one that provides fitness experts.

As always. We have the bullet in our hand - JM

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012. My turn...

Come on. You DID NOT want to squirm and see Dick Clark suffering through another countdown did you?

I didn’t think so.

2012. Twelve years into a new century. Sometimes I laugh at the thought. As a child, I envisioned hover cars, transporters, Klingons, and new worlds. I suppose there is a lot to be disappointed about with the lack of advancement in regards to humankind. Wars are still waged. Global warming still, well, warms. Dogs sleeping with cats. It’s utter chaos.

I used 2011 as a year of introspection. Being a recovering introvert, I am pretty good at tearing my insides up and rebuilding them. Every person is a story and an interesting one at that. My story is no more or less interesting than the person across the street or on the other side of the world. There is drama, heartache, heroics, tears, laughter, comedy and all of the elements that make up something called Life. It is my limited experience that tells me, the difference between human stories is that one of the many elements of that person’s life may be inflated more so than the next person. Someone who has grown up in war torn Bosnia knows the tragedy and heartache of human folly more than the average Hollywood starlet. And that starlet may have personal trauma that no one within 10 clicks can understand. Someone wins a lottery, and someone dies hungry. Someone is born to live a century and someone is born only to die moments later. It is humans being and it can be maddening.

To that end, I have been evaluating all the relationships that I’ve forged in life. This is not an easy task. We meet many people hour to hour. Some are fleeting glimpses of passersby rushing off to their lives, never to intersect with our existence ever again. Others are temporarily permanent. That’s not a misprint. Permanence in our time means little. Those who are held longest in our lives are deemed ‘permanent’ but, in reality, they are just a protracted existence.

Still relationships, good, bad, dramatic, indifferent, take energy. So does blinking an eye. It takes energy, albeit very little. Blink one hundred times as fast as you can? More energy.

It’s well documented the medical miracles I’ve encountered. Perhaps this is the driving force behind my introspection. I am by no means cocky. On the health scale, there is someone out there, probably a doctor or two, who is holding their breath. I don’t speak from bravado. I speak all too much from feelings.

I feel 2012 is my turn and I want to take as many people as I can with me on this journey. That would mean some couldn’t make this trip. The energy is no longer there. The tank is empty but it's my tank, my turn, my guts, and my aspirations. This all is about ‘self’ and with that comes the instant association of ‘selfish’. I don’t believe this is true. I consider this a choice. The betterment of oneself. The pursuit of fulfillment. It’s a path that most ignore. Some recognize this earlier in life. Some never acknowledge it. To say “this is who I am” is being human.

Maybe it is a survivor’s instinct to kick forward with full force. After all, we’ve been told we only have so many bullets left – why not use them? What are we waiting for? We’ve been caught by the storm unprepared and we’ve been told it could happen again. I am no longer waiting for the hurricane to rage again.

It is time. Time for all of us to charge and time for all of us to change. We may be unsure as to when, or where or even how to proceed, but if you look hard enough, you will see your wall. You can see what it is that holds you back from being who you truly need to be. It may take more subtly than brute force, more planning than sheer will. I’ve never been a patient man but I have been a patient. I don’t want to wait for that again. If change is to happen, then I want it to happen, even a fractional amount, because of what I am dictating at this moment.

This is 2012. Twelve years into a new century. And now it’s my turn.