A friend recently asked me in a Facebook comment if I was annoyed about my recent cancer diagnosis given how many hours I spend swimming, biking, running and prioritizing my health.
While I'm certainly not above irrational resentments, I'm not angry.
Exercise has always had intuitive health benefits, but a growing amount of scientific literature suggests that exercise lowers cancer risk, curbs disease progression, and enhances physical functioning and psychosocial outcomes. Evidence not only supports the positive effects of exercise before, during and after cancer therapy but also suggests that regular exercise (150 minutes a week) over time actually reduces the risk of even developing many cancers.
Yeah, I got cancer anyway. But I got one cancer out of tens of thousands of possible cancers and without exercise, my prostate cancer may have grown and spread faster.
Now that I have it, science says that given my regular exercise, my surgery will come with fewer complications both during the procedure and post-operatively.
A recent article in the Washington Post detailed the science behind what's being called "exercise oncology." Turns out, vigorous exercise prompts changes at a molecular level that can affect cancer development and growth, lessen the debilitating side effects of treatment and extend survival. There's also data to suggest that exercise can reduce the chances of cancer-related cognitive decline (CRCD) - AKA "Chemo Brain."
I'm thankful that I'm headed into the surgery on July 1st in the best physical shape of my life, with a strong heart, powerful lungs and with a clear head. I'm thankful that given the investment I have made over the last few years, that the surgery will be a little bit easier, recovery will be a little faster and while all surgeries come with some risks, odds are that I'll be up and around in no time.
I'm going into battle well-armed and well-prepared.
I'm thankful that while I probably won't be able to run on July 2nd, I got to run 4 miles last night and I will run again today.
And I will run every day until my surgery and probably throw in a few bike rides and some weight training because I can.
I get to.