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Topic: Walking the Camino de Santiago (St. James Way)

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

Posted on: Aug 8, 2019 07:32AM

ksusan wrote:

I'm just a few days shy of finishing the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. If you have questions about walking this pilgrimage trail after breast cancer, or in general, I'll do my best to answer them.


Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 8, 2019 11:51PM Heidihill wrote:

Wow, congrats on getting this far! I have a hundred questions but mostly I'm concerned about accommodations. Did you have difficulty finding places to stay? Or did you arrange everything in advance?

Dx 8/2007, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, 2/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 3/24/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 11, 2019 11:45AM - edited Aug 11, 2019 11:46AM by ksusan

It is a busy time of year, and I knew I'd be walking through Pamplona during the running of the bulls, when the price of even bunk beds is exorbitant. I booked my first few nights to get me through. When I reached Sarria, which is the closest you can start walking and still receive the compostela certificate, it became harder to find a bed, whether at an albergue (pilgrim hostel), pension, or hotel. At that point, I booked my accommodations for the rest of the trip. I should say that by then I wanted my own room, so I did book pensions and hotels.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 11, 2019 12:31PM Moderators wrote:

well done, ksusan!!


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Aug 11, 2019 11:05PM ksusan wrote:

Thank you!

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 12, 2019 06:55AM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

Sounds like a great adventure. Brava!!!


Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Aug 12, 2019 08:13AM edwards750 wrote:

I know someone who has done it. Very impressive!

Diane

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Aug 14, 2019 06:19AM SummerRain wrote:

I am jealous! I have a friend who did the Camino a few years back.

Strength from within! Dx 9/20/2016, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 12/11/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 6/11/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Aug 14, 2019 01:33PM ksusan wrote:

It's doable, especially the section from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, which has to be walked if you want to earn the certificate, but can be walked slowly to accommodate, say, neuropathy in the feet.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 25, 2019 11:30AM ksusan wrote:

Can I tempt anyone to walk the Camino? I had my doubts, but it was doable after BC.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 25, 2019 11:54AM DearLife wrote:

KSusan your photos are breathtaking! Did you go on your own? I have always dreamed of doing The Way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now. Joni Mitchell Dx 12/1/1998, LCIS, Right Dx 1/9/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 3/1/2018, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 4/17/2018 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Aug 25, 2019 01:16PM ksusan wrote:

Yes, I was on my own. A friend (who also has had BC) joined me for several days in the middle.

Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 25, 2019 04:37PM Heidihill wrote:

Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing

Dx 8/2007, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, 2/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 3/24/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Oct 13, 2019 07:23PM JKL2017 wrote:

Wow, Ksusan, those pics are beautiful! You offered to answer questions ... What made you decide to make this particular pilgrimage? How far did you walk each day? And how many days did the entire trip require? Did you keep a blog of your experiences along the way? When it was over, did you feel like it had changed you?


Dx 2/2/2017, ILC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/19/2017 Multi-catheter: Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/23/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane)
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Oct 14, 2019 04:57AM vampeyes wrote:

WOW! Amazing ksusan, those pictures are stunning! Like JKL asked, did you keep a log/diary of your days? How beautiful it must have been to do this walk, and satisfying! You are an inspiration for sure to all of us.

HUGS

Diagnosed at 41. Oncotype 21 Dx 9/20/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/18/2017 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 11/15/2017 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 1/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Oct 14, 2019 02:11PM buttonsmachine wrote:

Incredibly beautiful and inspiring! I'd love to do something like that one day. Thanks for sharing. 😊

Initial diagnosis at 32 years old. Chest wall resection 18 months later due to skin metastasis, probably from needle seeding during initial biopsy. Skin graft from right thigh! Dx 8/2016, IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 11/1/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/1/2017 Whole-breast Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 9/2017, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/1/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/27/2017 AC Dx 1/2018, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/1/2018 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy Radiation Therapy 5/10/2018 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 7/1/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Chemotherapy 7/1/2018 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2019 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Oct 17, 2019 10:35AM LimnoGal wrote:

Wow - i am totally impressed, ksusan! My husband and I walked Hadrians Wall last month, but that is baby steps compared to what you did.

If I may ask, what made you decide to walk the Camiño? And did you backpack it, or use a baggage transfer service?

Congratulations on your accomplishment

Moving on.... Dx 11/2016, DCIS/IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/11/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy Balloon-catheter: Breast
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Oct 19, 2019 04:57PM - edited Oct 19, 2019 04:57PM by ksusan

We hope to walk Hadrian's Wall some year.

What made you decide to make this particular pilgrimage? I'd wanted to walk it since I heard about it. It had the option for a reasonably long walk (on the Camino Frances route), was well-marked, and had lots of service infrastructure. I also wanted to walk where there were lots of historical areas and churches, as well as looking for evidence of Jewish and Muslim presence prior to the expulsions.

How far did you walk each day? 0-15 miles, depending on the terrain and whether I was taking a rest day. Including rest days (0-3 miles, typically), I averaged 12 miles a day.

And how many days did the entire trip require? I gave myself 40 walking days, but to build in rest days and to accommodate needing to alter my progress a little in case friends joined me for segments. One did (also a BC survivor).

Did you keep a blog of your experiences along the way? Sort of. I didn't want to feel obliged to write, so I brought a tiny notebook to record basics, and used an online travel tracker (Polarsteps) where I posted a couple of photos and commented very briefly so my family would know where I was and that I wasn't lying in a ditch somewhere in rural Spain.

Did you backpack it, or use a baggage transfer service? I carried my pack (~20# with water and lunch) except for 3 days at the beginning, when it was very hot and I had blisters under a couple of toenails. I was scrupulous about adhering to my PT and MLD therapists' rules for backpacking, and did MLD frequently and stayed hydrated. I had compression garments with me, but didn't need to use them except on my flights.

When it was over, did you feel like it had changed you? Yes, to some extent. I spent much of my walk meditating and being mindful and intentional. I already had these practices, but it was great to have long, uninterrupted stretches to really get into it. I also had a goal of decreasing the anger and sadness that Catholic Europe brings up in me as a European Jew, and I feel that I made some headway in that. Of course, there was also a post-BC treatment piece about being able to do something like this. I was successful, but also noticed that I'm slower, so there was also a component of noticing that I'm aging.


Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)

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