If you Breast Cancer? Don’t Stop Lifting Those Weights

If you’re a daily reader, then you recognize that exercise is one in all my addictions.

So, you will not be shocked to listen to that years past once I was diagnosed with carcinoma, I wasn’t too happy to listen to that I ought to ne’er elevate weights once more, lest I place myself in danger for hydrops, a condition after breast cancer treatment that, while not life-threatening, can cause unsightly and painful swelling, numbness and discomfort in the arm and the hand.

Lymphedema can occur when lymph nodes in the armpit are removed to check if cancer’s spread. Sometimes your remaining lymph nodes are unable to compensate for the ones that have been removed and fluid cannot drain adequately.

Despite my doctor’s orders not to lift weights – or anything heavy like my children, for that matter – I guess I was considered a “non-compliant” patient: I returned to the athletic facility as shortly as I used to be ready Associate in Nursingd slowly worked myself into an exercise program, including careful weight lifting. I continued to pick up my toddlers because I still needed to hold them and feel close. And I felt great.

I had regained not only my strength but my confidence as well. Breast cancer had altered most in my body and in my life and that I determined to not let it alter everything.

Interestingly, a new finding has just surfaced. Rather than worsen hydrops, researchers say, lifting weights can actually ease it. When they studied 141 girls WHO had already been tormented by hydrops, it was found that among the women who continued to lift weights the severity of their symptoms improved, as did their upper-and-lower body strength. You can read the full report here.

What does this all mean? Well, for me it means to trust your instincts. Granted, I am not a doctor, and that I was taking an opportunity by going against the well-meaning skilled, and fashionable recommendation. And I’m certainly not advocating ignoring your health professional. But I felt, deep in my gut, that movement and strength may solely have a positive result on a region of my body that was already thus compromised by my surgery. It also tells me that conventional wisdom, while researched and popularized, can easily shift in the opposite direction given time and reconsideration.