Being diagnosed when I did allowed me the opportunity to become more active. I have been told that increasing your physical activity increases your blood oxygen levels — which increases your healing time.
It was worth a shot.
My husband Eric and I love the great outdoors and we were able to use it to our advantage. We live in a community surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery in Washington State. Nearly every available weekend in July and August were spent hitting the trails.
I was not in the best shape of my life since exercising often fell off the to-do list due to other obligations. I was determined to make a good effort at getting healthier. My husband and I started off easy with our six-year-old daughter in tow. Quickly we learned leaving her behind on our longer hikes was a necessity as we were averaging eight to ten mile hikes; her little legs could not last nearly as long. My husband and I pushed ourselves to hike as long as we could before needing a break. By the time we reached our destination, we often took at least an hour to enjoy the surroundings. Depending on where we hiked, dinner on the way home to celebrate our success was something we both looked forward to.
Throughout the hikes, spending some much needed time with my husband allowed for our relationship to grow. We often found ourselves talking about the upcoming mastectomies, what the plans would be during recovery, and joking about the new girls I would be gaining. Having him by my side, cheering me on, showed me he would continue to be my biggest supporter.
Unfortunately, our hiking expeditions came to a sudden halt when lightning sparked numerous fires in the area. Air quality in the valley became extremely poor — leaving us with absolutely no outside activities to enjoy. We found ourselves escaping every weekend as a family in search of cleaner air. I missed those hikes with Eric, but found spending time with the whole family was just as rewarding.
Did the plan work for a quick recovery? Personally, I think it did. I was surprised at how soon I was able to walk to the school bus stop to pick up my niece — only days after surgery. The more I was mobile, the faster healing took place. Whether I would have healed as quickly without exercise we will never know, but I wouldn’t trade those summer hikes with my number one cheerleader for anything.
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