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Topic: Will my cardio stamina ever come back?

Forum: Fitness and Getting Back in Shape — Conversations about exercise, diet, and getting back in shape after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Jul 9, 2019 08:08AM

bam320 wrote:

Hi all,

I have finished 4 a/c and have my 4th and final taxol today! I have tried to remain active though out this because exercise is my stress reliever in life but I find my stamina while doing any cardio is terrible. I am wondering how long it took for you to feel good again when running or any other cardio activity. It makes me worry that my heart is damaged or something from the chemo.

Thanks and keep it moving!


Dx 12/3/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 8/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Jul 9, 2019 09:28AM Ingerp wrote:

Oh honey! Cut yourself some slack. I could only get to the gym a few days a week during chemo and did not do everything I had been doing but, really, I think forcing it when your body would rather rest is not a good idea. Congrats on finishing today but I don't have to tell you it'll be a while before everything leaves your system. You will get back to where you were, but I'd *really* suggest you build up gradually.

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/23/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/20/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/18/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/13/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 5/18/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/18/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jul 9, 2019 09:34AM Lexica wrote:

I'm curious about this too...I'm 18 months from chemo, and even light exercise (squats, lunges, plank) still makes my muscles sore to the touch for days. Stamina is still diminished, as well. I wonder how much the anti-hormonal contributes to this... It can't be the chemo this far out, right? Ugh.

Diagnosed at 34. 2 years of Ibrance via PALLAS trial (ends 4/2020) Dx 7/2017, IDC, Left, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/15/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Dx 12/27/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 5/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 1/16/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Jul 9, 2019 09:36AM - edited Jul 9, 2019 09:37AM by ElaineTherese

Did you do a heart scan before AC? I did heart scans every four months during chemo to make sure we'd know if I suffered heart damage. (Of course, I got both AC and Herceptin, both of which can cause heart damage.) By the end of Taxol, I had to give up scootering with my sons. They were just too fast for me, and I couldn't supervise them properly. (I also did some light swimming during chemo.) It's been 4.5 years, and I'm back to swimming at my regular pace. You'll get there! But, Ingerp is right. There is no need to push your body right now. ((Hugs))

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/22/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/16/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/16/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/16/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/11/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/24/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/8/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 9, 2019 09:38AM - edited Jul 9, 2019 09:42AM by santabarbarian

I had serious anemia by the end. I could barely get from my car to my house with a bag of groceries without becoming breathless, winded and swoon-y.

My "bounce back" took about 8 weeks to feel normal-ish, eg not panting from a one block walk, and another 8 weeks to feel actually quite normal. The first time I did my old routine and felt the same energy level as I did before cancer was about 5 months after final chemo (4 months after surgery, and roughly 2 months after rads).

One thing that really helped me bounce back was Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment. It pushes oxygen into the cells and you get a boost. It helps your bone marrow ramp up and it helps tissue healing from rads.


PS: still sleeping more than I used to sleep though! Right now I am ~7.5 mos post final chemo.

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo w/ integrative practices Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/13/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/11/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 9, 2019 09:42AM MountainMia wrote:

I just finished with my 4th AC on Friday. No more chemo for me. Fatigue is too great right now to think of any actual cardio yet! I'm eager to get there but plan to be patient while I recover.


Congrats on finishing your chemo!

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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Jul 9, 2019 11:46AM - edited Jul 9, 2019 11:52AM by Farfalla6

I had my last taxol (after 4 Acs) last wednesday and I was wondering the same thing. I was so energized the 2 days after my last chemo- a combo of being so happy to get it done and a TON of steroids. Now I'm so fatigued again I can't imagine going to the gym I'm exhausted just with part time work, getting ready in the morning, doing minimal housework. And I'm very eager to exercise since as that will be a big part of trying to ward off recurrence as someone with Triple negative. And at my down moments I also wonder if I already have heart damage from the AC. I think its also an emotional rollercoaster...

Before diagnosis I was running 30 minutes at a fast pace several times a week at the gym, along with other exercise. Now I can only run 2 minutes in a row without needing to stop and walk. and that's on my best days (for example on my steroid day last week). I know I will work up to it again and trying to take it day be day. My big physical challenge today is needing to go shopping for a suit for my teen daughter, for debate camp. Which will probably be more grueling than the gym..


Surgery 2/28/2019 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 3/11/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/27/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/4/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jul 9, 2019 11:56AM santabarbarian wrote:

I do think pushing through and doing several 2 minute stints will bring you back faster to a recovered state. That sounds about like what I did, I kept exercising and it rebuilt fairly quickly to a more normal level of energy.

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo w/ integrative practices Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/13/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/11/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 9, 2019 12:09PM DebraC wrote:

Hi bam320,

I am one month past chemo, still feel a lot of fatigue. I was never an exercise/gym person, but active in maintaining our property, 4 dogs, watching my grandson and active in a public ministry. Always seemed to have enough energy. Not anymore. My muscles hurt all the time. I think it’s chemo residual and maybe even radiation SE. Inthe middle of radiation, about half way done.

So ready to feel good again and some hair would be nice too. I know I expect too much from just a short time, but the muscles aches are discouraging.


Debbie - Dx age 55 Oncotype 63 Dx 1/9/2019, DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 1/23/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 3/5/2019 Lumpectomy Chemotherapy 4/2/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/26/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 8/1/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 9, 2019 12:35PM hapa wrote:

I had a six week interval between my last chemo and my BMX. I was feeling good enough to trail run only in that last week, but definitely not at the level I was running before diagnosis. Of course then I was laid up again for six weeks post surgery. And then rads took it out of me, and then I had a revision surgery so back out for another six weeks. I'm haven't gotten back to where I was but I've had a lot of starts and stops. Good luck!

Dx 12/14/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 2/14/2018 Ibrance (palbociclib) Dx 3/20/2018, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, 3/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 3/28/2018 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 3/28/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 3/28/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 8/22/2018 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 10/22/2018 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 12/21/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Targeted Therapy Nerlynx
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Jul 9, 2019 01:50PM DiagnosisDisruption wrote:

I am a little over a year out of TCHP and six months out of Herceptin. At every appointment they ask how I'm doing. I always answer with "I just want my stamina!" I worked out, and worked, all through chemo, lumpectomies and rads. Some days the stamina is there, some days it isn't. I've really learned to go with the flow and cut myself some slack. My oncologist says a year after last treatment I should expect to be at 90%. So that will in be January of 2020. When I put that into perspective, I'm doing pretty good.

BTW, after my 6th TCHP, I figured the next day I would be done with it, over the side effects. Like the last five chemos hadn't stacked on top of each other. Yeah, right. It took a while. Just keep plugging along and pretty soon you are saying you are a little over a year out.

Dx 12/8/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 1/23/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/23/2018 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/23/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 5/23/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/12/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/18/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 10/10/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 10, 2019 11:42AM bam320 wrote:

Thanks for all the responses and reality check! I really do listen to my body in terms of when I try to work out and I figure that doing something although it feels so minor is better than not doing anything. Like Farfalla, when I "run" there is a lot of walking involved too.

I just need to realize it will take time until we are back to or closer to our normal stamina level.

Thanks again!


Dx 12/3/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 8/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Jul 10, 2019 12:11PM Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

Bam320, Maybe you could try yoga or something calmer while you wait for your energy to return. And make sure you're doing the exercises to prevent lymphedema. Take good care of yourself, good luck!

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Aug 9, 2019 04:55PM Farfalla6 wrote:

Bam320, how are you doing with stamina? I am back to running my 20 minute 2 miles on treadmill and feel stamina is back to normal. Almost halfway through rads and I know that can be fatiguing near the end, but exercising now that I can.

Surgery 2/28/2019 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 3/11/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/27/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/4/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Aug 11, 2019 08:41AM bam320 wrote:

Thanks for asking Farfalla6! I have not been able to be really consistent right now with working out but when I do cardio I have more stamina and don't feel like my heart is going to explode like it did when doing chemo!

I start back to work (work for school system) on the 19th and will have radiation after work. I am going to 'try' to do something in the morning before work. Mornings aren't my best time though. Looking forward to when I can come home from work and go for a run to shake off the day! I am done with radiation on Sept 5th so it is not that far off!

Glad to hear things have improved for you too!

Dx 12/3/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 8/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Aug 11, 2019 08:46AM edj3 wrote:

I finished radiation at the end of June--I found that the fatigue was no worse when I ran. So I ran all through radiation. Just one data point for you :)

Dx 4/9/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 5/5/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Radiation Therapy 6/2/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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