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All TopicsForum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) → Topic: Running After Lumpectomy/During Rads

Topic: Running After Lumpectomy/During Rads

Forum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) — Just diagnosed, in treatment, or finished treatment for DCIS.

Posted on: May 3, 2009 10:02PM

AlohaGirl wrote:

Before I was diagnosed with DCIS, my primary forms of exercise were outrigger canoeing (missing this season for treatments), running and kettlebells (basically weights shaped like a ball with a handle on top -- great core workout).  I had a lumpectomy 3 weeks ago (no SNB, but they definitely took out more tissue than I had expected) and I haven't tried kettlebells (since most of the exercise involve swinging the weight in a way that makes my arm bump against my breast), but I did try running and it was definitely uncomfortable.  Burning pain (not that bad but I was afraid to keep going) in the lumpectomy breast and neck and shoulder cramps (probably from holding myself weird to keep my breast from bouncing).  When I am not exercising I am quite comfortable and so far my breast still looks good (fingers crossed -- doc says won't know for sure how it is going to look/whether it will be smaller for a while -- but that is a subject for a different post).  I start rads in a couple of weeks.

I'd really love to get back to my old routine and start running again.  I think it would help me to feel like I am getting back to normal.  Any thoughts on how long I should expect to be out from running, or whether if I run I can do it despite the pain without it getting worse? 

Also, I had been planning to train for a 1/2 marathon at the end of June, which is now out since I'll be doing rads and won't be able to travel to the 1/2 marathon location, now I'm thinking of training for another 1/2 or full marathon for the fall.  Don't have to go fast (I'm not a fast runner under the best of circumstances) but I think it would be good to have a goal to keep me trying to run or run part and walk part.  Is it crazy to think I might be able to run (or run part walk part) a marathon in the fall?  (I ran the Honolulu marathon this December and the Marine Corps marathon a few years ago so it wouldn't be my first but I anticipate that the training would be tougher this time around and I probably would have to train alone since I wouldn't be at the same pace as my friends.)  Thoughts?

If running isn't a good idea, any ideas re alternate exercises I might not have considered?  I spent some time on the recumbent bike at the gym and that is OK but I don't really enjoy it.

Thanks in advance!  I realize this issue is trivial compared to many of the things you (we) are dealing with but I'd appreciate any input.

Dx 2/18/2009, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes
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May 5, 2009 08:11PM Mouser wrote:

Hi ALohagirl --

It's not trivial: it affects your life, and how you feel, and not being able to do what you enjoy is one more bummer than you need right now!

You don't say if you wear a sports bra when running -- i found that helped me after my lumpectomy (not that i run, but i was 34DD then, and couldn't wear my usual underwire bra because that really hurt. The sports bra felt good! I would say -- avoid pain, but try different things to get back to what you like. I found swimming was good, once the incision healed enough (ask your surgeon!). I bike, but not indoors -- i bike to go places, like work, and that worked well.

Maybe someone else who actually runs has better ideas!

cheers, mouser 

mouser - IDC 0.4 cm + DCIS 1 cm, 2007; Stage 1, grade 2, ER+PR-, Her-; lumpectomy, rads, letrozole. More calcs 2008; mastectomy. Quit letrozole 10/09.
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May 5, 2009 08:46PM Eldub wrote:

I walked briskly or used an elliptical trainer daily throughout rads.  I found that after the first couple of weeks it was really important to follow the Radiologist's advice to keep my hand on my hip (on the treated side) rather than swinging my arms at all.  Hand on hip kept the skin under my arm from getting rubbed.  I also did not wear a bra - too much rubbing - but used a cami with a shelf bra, in a size too big.  So, not much support for my "girls" (Ds), but better than nothing!  Now, 2 weeks after rads have finished, I am comfortable in a "1-piece" jog bra (no buckles or seams) for exercise, and with that can walk or jog comfortably.  I have only just started being able to have my hands on the moving parts of the elliptical trainer rather than held at my sides - I still keep my elbows a little out to prevent rubbing, though.

As far as whether you'd be ready for a marathon come the fall - I'm not enough of an athlete to know (going for my first 5K in June!)  Two weeks post-rads I'm definitely not back to 100% normal energy levels - but am probably at 85%.  Not bad at all (as long as I get an afternoon nap!)

Hope that helps!  Good luck to you,


BRCA- but family cancer hx. I'm also the mom to a very busy toddler! Dx 12/3/2008, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-
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May 6, 2009 09:32AM AlohaGirl wrote:

Argh.  I just wrote a response and due to a computer error it didn't post!  My computer seems to be grumpy today.  Oh well.

Mouser and Linda, thanks for the tips.  I actually tried running in 2 sports bras the last couple of days (got the suggestion from someone on one of the fitness threads) and it worked great.  So I've run my usual 3 mile route (with some walking; not running for 3 1/2 weeks makes it harder) the last couple of days.  It feels great to be out there exercising!

I hadn't heard about the arm thing during rads (yet - maybe I will get more tips when I go for my simulation next week) but that makes sense.  Could make running a 5k with my sister on June 7 problematic.  But I can always walk (with hand on hip).

I was afraid to cycle right after the lumpectomy because it hurt being bounced over potholes, etc. in the car, but I plan to try during rads.  Maybe swimming too ... I could be a triathlete!  I suspect running won't work very well with the arm and bra issues.  I'll be hitting the gym too.  I'll be staying with my family in California from this weekend until early July for rads and I can get a short term membership at my sister's gym, so that is good.  I'm hoping to work only part time so I have some time to rest and also to try to stay (get) in shape.

Thank you!  It sounds like you both are doing well on the exercise front.  I hope you are back to 100% soon!

Dx 2/18/2009, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes
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May 6, 2009 09:33AM AlohaGirl wrote:

Oh, and my running buddy suggested that we do a 1/2 marathon trail run in early December so I'm going to aim for that.  Sounds more manageable than a marathon (which I think is really hard under the best of circumstances) and fun to try trail running!!!

Dx 2/18/2009, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes
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May 7, 2009 05:11PM MaryF2 wrote:

I had a lumpectomy,reexcision, and partial radiation 1 year ago. I was running and racewalking pretty actively before surgery.  I could only ski on a Nordic track without the arms or spin on a bike.The degree of 'bounce' dictated what I could do. I was able to swing my arms enough to walk in 2 weeks and run in 3 weeks.

You know pretty quickly if you're doing too much too soon as the 'bouncing' gets you!

Dx 4/23/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+, HER2-

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