Workin’ Out

Two Miles!

Two miles – nailed it!!!

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.

Bike Assembly

Much to Miles’ dismay, the bike did not come pre-assembled.

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!! 🙂

Emily Beyond

Rest & Recovery

After nearly three months in New York which included major surgery and a daily battle with nausea (radiation side effect) for six straight weeks, Emily was thrilled to board a plane and return home.  However, returning to Los Angeles did not mark the end of recovery.  Rather, as we have learned over the past month, it’s going to be a long road.

Doctors told Emily she would experience fatigue as her body recovered from radiation, but nothing could actually prepare her for the extreme exhaustion.  For the first few weeks home, simple activities like walking from the living room to the kitchen or even moving from one couch cushion to another resulted in five minutes of catching her breath.  Although frustration had a few appearances, Emily managed to remain optimistic and set her sights on recuperation.

Even though she still has a way to go, Emily is starting to regain her energy.  She has provided her body with ample rest – 13 hours of sleep at night is the norm, and while awake she often spends a majority of her time on the couch following through on DVD and TV show recommendations.  She is increasing her lung capacity and activity levels by walking Ginny daily.  Needless to say, Ginny is the most excited of all that they have made it up to four blocks now.  We are encouraged that these effects are radiation related, and not due to the removal of her lung.  She was walking two to three miles at a time in the period between surgery and radiation, so we are confident she’ll be able to get back to that point and beyond.

Celebrating Recovery

A nice night out to celebrate NED and continued recovery progress.

Many of you have asked about the current treatment plan.  At the moment, no traditional treatments are being administered.  Once Emily became NED via surgery and radiation, it was determined that maintenance chemotherapy would not be needed.  We have researched many supplements that have benefits for lung cancer patients (benefits to NK cells, immune system, etc.), so we’ve been playing around with which ones Emily can tolerate, and she is now up to about 20 pills a day.

Although the past month has not been incredibly easy, Emily can state without a doubt that it is all worth it.  This past Tuesday, she had her first CT scan since before her surgery.  The results came back clear.  She is cancer free and NED.   Upon hearing the news, I ran around the house whooping and screaming in celebration.  However, Emily simply remained lying on the couch with a big smile and finally said, “That’s great to hear.  I knew it.”  She may be still regaining her strength physically, but mentally there is no one stronger than Emily.

Next Up:  The next CT scan will be in three months.

Much love.  Live in the moment.

Miles & Emily