Part of my getting back to normal (or better) is exercising to minimize fatigue and to loose weight. During my treatments and for a few months following, fatigue was a big issue. As my wife reminds me, the chemotherapy and radiation were rough on my body and their effects don’t go away immediately. In January 2011, I started to track the number of steps I walked each day. I set a goal of walking 10,000 steps per day by my birthday on March 20, 2011. This also will be one week shy of a year after I was diagnosed with cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) at base of tongue and lymph node in my neck.
The pedometer I’m now using tracks not only number of steps, but also calories burned. Here’s how I’m doing.
Unlike most patients, I did not loose weight during radiation and chemotherapy treatments. And since I had gained about 25 pounds during the nine weeks of chemotherapy prior to radiation, I wanted to loose those extra pounds. Because I had difficulty swallowing in August and September, the doctor did not want me to loose weight simply by reducing my food intake. I was to exercise off the excess weight.
Dr. Barbara, my oncologist, recommended that I start exercising more and that walking is a good way to start. So I got a pedometer to see how much I walk each day. Since I work at home and was not getting out of the house often at that time, I was not walking very far each day. Only about 3,000 steps a day. That’s a lot less than the 10,000 steps a day that my doctor mentioned as how far “active” people walk. For the first several weeks, I just mentally monitored the number of steps each day. I did not record the daily steps and I did not have a goal.
I wanted and needed to get back “in shape” so I thought more about walking as my vehicle. The purpose would be to loose weight and to not be fatigued. In December 2010 I started to take walking seriously and set the goal of walking an average of 10,000 steps a day by my March 20, 2011 birthday. I achieved that goal. Now my goal is to maintain it!