During the first months after returning to Los Angeles following surgery and radiation in New York, rest was the name of the game. Emily battled extreme exhaustion as her body worked to recover from the huge ordeal that it had just undergone. While she still spends the majority of her time resting, Emily also has a firm focus on fitness and is incorporating more exercise into her daily routine to help improve her strength and develop additional capacity in her remaining lung.
The workouts started small with a slow stroll to take Ginny around the block each day. Much to Ginny’s delight, Emily’s stamina has continued to improve and now they can walk together for a slow, but steady, two miles at a time. Research has shown that cycling is one of the best forms of exercise for increasing lung capacity so Emily promptly bought a stationary bike online. Emily is working on building up her stamina and currently has a personal record of 22 minutes on the bike.
Recently, Emily met with her pulmonologist who performed some pulmonary function tests (PFTs). For the average person, the right lung is responsible for ~55% breathing capacity while the left lung is responsible for ~45% (it is smaller because the heart resides more on the left side of the body). During the PFT, Emily (who only has the left lung) tested at 54% capacity though – woohoo for increased lung function!!!
Emily continues to sleep 10-12 hours a night and spends most of her days resting. She is eating healthy and trying to consume as many foods as possible that have been shown to help with lung cancer (broccoli, whole grains, etc). Her regimen also includes supplements and vitamins with lung cancer fighting benefits four times daily.
Next up on Emily’s list of fitness goals – hit the 3.1 mile walking mark so she will be ready to tackle the “Your Next Step is the Cure” 5K run/walk in San Francisco next month. Stay tuned – there is more on that coming soon!! 🙂