“If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.” – Joey Adams
We all know that exercise is important for our physical well-being and our mental & spiritual well-being.
Dave was a champion racquetball player before he was diagnosed in June 2008. He was mostly a cardio guy. We used to argue about his need to do some resistance training, but then we used to argue about a lot of things! He played sports all through high school. Baseball, wrestling, basketball, football. When our children were growing up he coached for the Olney Boys & Girls Club. He was also a baseball pitching coach. He studied one of the master’s extensive training series and each of the children that he was hired to coach made the team they wanted to get on, and one was even a “walk on” to a college baseball team. Dave was very good and very proud of all of his kids.
When he was dx with Myeloma, his body dramatically deteriorated before my eyes. It was quite frightening actually in its speed and drastic-ness. At the time, the thought in my mind was, “I can’t worry about that now.” But it did impact me and frightened me. I needed to get his fear managed, his pain managed, and get him out of the hospital as soon as possible – bad for the psyche.
As we have moved through the major medical treatment, Dave is not in good shape in terms of his muscle mass and flexibility. He first lost 40 pounds, then gained 65 pounds, and now lost 20. He lost muscle mass, gained fat, and now is softly overweight, but looking and feeling much better. However, he is sluggish in his movements, bending and reaching.
As I mentioned in earlier postings, the fatigue is profound and he works in excess of a 40 hour week. So having much energy left to address physical exercise has been the new battle to wage. He does walk our beloved Kip (11 1/2 yellow lab) around the little park in our neighborhood every night. It helps that Kip will nudge him as soon as the sun goes down until Dave takes him, (literally and repeatedly with his nose, backing up with a bright face and wagging tail as if to say, “Come on!” If that doesn’t work, then he finds me and nudges me to tell Dave. Its hilarious really.) Dave doesn’t seem to mind his nagging.
Dave has recently been feeling much better and more wanting to begin the physical climb back. I’m thrilled. He has a Total Gym, which is great. You can get some resistance and cardio without the jarring.
“Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind.” – Patanjali (translated from Sanskrit)
Last summer we had a Yoga Instructor living with us and she worked with Dave in exchange for rent. It was fabulous, but when she left he was hammered with travel, meetings, conferences, and some major tech projects for the company nationwide. So as can happen, it fell by the wayside. However, when he was doing it, with modified poses at first, he commented that:
- he slept fully & deeply through the night
- he felt more stamina throughout the day
- he no longer was experiencing muscle spasms in his back mid-day
- his walking pace had picked up to normal and beyond
When our Yoga gal left, she recommended we order AM/PM Yoga from Yoga Works (where she trained). It’s important to learn what modified positions you can use if you are having trouble. A local Yoga studio would most likely be very willing to help you with this. Yoga is generally paid by the class or in a group of classes where you can save on the per class rate. You don’t have to sign contracts and it isn’t a set of classes where if you miss one, you miss one, but they simply deduct your class fee when you participate. Like a coffee gift card, swiped when you use it.
Yoga is great for its lack of jarring and increased flexibility and strength. This is a really great exercise as we age where flexibility, or the lack of it, can be detrimental to your physical health. It is also becoming part of physical rehabilitation in the medical community, so ask your doctor for a referral, who knows, you might get it covered by your insurance! I recommend it for both the patient and the caregiver.
We followed up all Dave’s Yoga sessions with a nice glass of CalMac (to prevent muscle spasms when he was done and it worked like a charm, every time.) I would recommend this after whatever exercise you engage in if you are experiencing any discomfort afterwards, soreness, stiffness, spasms, cramps, etc.
“Rebounding on a mini-trampoline affects every organ and is directly related to the efficiency of the lymphatic system and the immune function. The lymphatic system is a defense mechanism against infection, viruses, bacteria and disease.” – website
My other plan is to get a Needak Rebounder (soft bounce).
These are mini tramps. Some fold, and many have a balance bar you can buy to attach to it for maintaining stability as you bounce. The idea is that you gently bounce, not jump, on this mini-tramp and that this “bouncing” gently engages your body to get more circulation of the lymphatic system. As little as 5 minutes will engage the lymph nodes and be beneficial, but 15 minutes is preferred by diehard rebounders.
The Needak Rebounders are the best and most costly. You can get a cheaper version at your local sports store. If you aren’t sure, I recommend getting the inexpensive one and when it wears out then make the better purchase if you find you are gaining value from it.
What do you do?