Most patients before, during or after multiple myeloma treatment are exhausted. We've all been there. Anemia caused by the myeloma can cause severe fatigue. Long-term drug combinations or stem cell transplant can really take it out of you. So why consider upping your fitness when you may want to lay back and take it easy? Because your fitness level MATTERS for your outcomes. Doctors are segmenting myeloma patients into categories (Fit, Unfit, Frail) based on their fitness levels and are basing treatments on these levels and not on age. Being able to receive or continue treatment because you are fit enough to manage it can mean longer overall survival. For a caregiver, health matters, too. Patients depend on you and the healthier you are, both mentally and physically, the better you can help them, while also taking care of yourself. According to the NCCN guidelines, fitness also reduces fatigue for cancer patients, not to mention the endorphins that will give you a lift every time you get moving.
Next Monday, we begin the new Muscles for Myeloma program. This is the first of an annual fitness challenge to encourage you, your friends and family to get moving. It doesn't matter WHAT you choose to do. A walk around the block or lifting with 1 pound weights may be all you can manage, but what IS critical is that you take a step in the right direction to get moving.
Decide how you'll exercise between March and April. Next Monday, March 1, plan on starting your program. You can walk, run, bike, swim, dance, play, lift or do anything that gets you moving. Create a plan that is reasonable and doable and you'll be more likely to stick with it. And always consult with your doctor before beginning a program.
Be ready to participate on March 1, by setting up your personal page now-- simply click here, then look to your right and select either Participate as an individual or Join a team or Create a team. It's free, super easy and fun. Seriously, just thinking of ways you can get moving and setting personal goals can be exciting! Upload your photo, take a video and even consider including your own “before” and “after” photos.Then on March 1, you’ll be ready to put your plan into place and start building your Muscles for Myeloma while also supporting two amazing myeloma clinical trials.
We're also joining locals walks and runs in the months of March and April around the country. Want to be a team captain? It's easy! Here's how you can find an event in your area to join and invite other myeloma friends to join you. We're building new events daily, so keep a watch in the right sidebar on the Myeloma Crowd site to find one near you. Muscles for Myeloma Walks/Runs
Now that you have your page in order, you can invite your friends and family to sponsor your goal. They can make a one-time donation or sponsor how many minutes you exercise. Anything goes!
To get your creative juices flowing on setting up your page, here are some examples of what your myeloma friends and their family are doing: [columns ] [column size="1/3"]Katelyn Ebert is participating for her dad who was diagnosed in 2011. Currently in remission, he is doing well.[/column] [column size="1/3"]Jim Preisel was diagnosed last year. After a stem cell transplant, he's in remission and working on building back up his strength. [/column] [column size="1/3"]Lizzy Smith was diagnosed in 2012 and has endured three stem cell transplants, the latest just two months ago. She is ready to start getting back in shape. [/column] [/columns] [columns ] [column size="1/3"]Mollee Kauzlarich is planning to work out 45 minutes/5 days a week. [/column] [column size="1/3"]Dana Holmes created an awesome Smoldering Myeloma Team page. The team is hot on the trail and already raising money! [/column] [column size="1/3"]Paul is working out to support his mom who has myeloma. He plans on looking like this by the end of the challenge. [/column] [/columns] So regardless of where you are on the fitness spectrum, Muscles for Myeloma is a great incentive to get moving, get stronger, and get better. So do what you can, set realistic goals, and get moving-- one step at a time, one day at a time.
All proceeds raised from Muscles for Myeloma will benefit the Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative, which is funding two promising clinical trials. These trials are happening NOW and they are trackable. This means your support won’t go into the “big black hole” of research. We survivors and supporters "get" the need for urgency-- we cannot wait, we want progress, and we want to see it FAST.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.