A mother of a breast cancer survivor explains how she and her daughter creatively incorporated exercise into her daughter’s daily routine to improve her physical and mental health during treatment.
The benefits of exercise are well documented, for both physical and mental well-being. When my daughter Adrienne was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27, all the “-ologists” we spoke to emphasized how important it would be for her to move her body during treatment, particularly since one of her cancer medications was Herceptin (trastuzumab) which can impact heart function.
We both smiled and nodded and said she would. That was, of course, before either of us knew the physical toll that surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation would have on her body.
There are a lot of logistics that have to be managed with cancer treatment and one of the things that helped me with my mental health while I supported Adrienne was planning things out. I knew there was no way I could get her to do an aerobics class or train for a biathlon while she was going in and out of recovery mode, so I worked on ways to build in exercise that I thought I could convince her to go along with.
Since COVID-19 was not a factor at the time, we had a lot more options — so some of these ideas may not work for patients with cancer at the moment but may be of assistance in the future.