Ovarian cancer is generally bad news, but with immediate action Lindy gave herself the best chance of recovery. Lindy started personal training with me she had undergone invasive abdominal and gynaecological surgery and extensive treatment protocols prior to being referred to me. When I first met her the cancer was removed and controlled, so she was healthy but struggled with fatigue and had not been exercising for about 18 months. Not everyone gets a second chance of living on your own terms after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, so when Lindy got that chance, she embraced it with both hands.
Lindy's view on surviving ovarian cancer - control the controllables
“Jo asked where I had any advice for anyone recovering from cancer, but I’m not sure I am in a position to do that. Every cancer journey is unique and each person is in their own family and life circumstance. For me, I guess I tried to focus on those things I could control, like exercise, healthy eating, rest and sleep. I learnt as much as I needed about my cancer and my treatment, but certainly tried not to let them “be my life” I resisted Dr Google, getting my information from my health team, the Cancer Council and other reputable sources recommended by them. I knew from my reading that exercise, in particular, was associated with increasing positive outcomes – it helps to boost the immune system and it helps the chemo to work more effectively and helps with overall physical and emotional wellbeing. As soon as I came home from nearly a month in hospital, I made it ‘my mission’ to walk a minimum of 6,000 steps per day. Some days were tough, but the ‘doing of the steps’ gave those days a reason to get out of bed and working out a way to achieve that minimum number! The higher the number of consecutive days of doing these steps the more determined I was not to break it and have to start from day 1 again! I know my mental health as well as my physical health condition were greatly improved with this exercise.”
When I first met Lindy, we gelled immediately. After assessing her posture and movement (like many of my clients Lindy had a few interesting ‘quirks’) we started by setting some goals. Lindy was keen to build her stamina for everyday life, play golf, paddle her kayak, and enjoy her young grandchildren. Fatigue is common post cancer so listening to the body’s messages is important to recovery. She also had a lot of abdominal scar tissue, but Lindy was a master at listening to and respectfully rested her body as needed.
The recovery begins
Initially Lindy attended 1 on 1 personal training. This way we could focus on each other, discuss how different exercises felt and ensure we got things 100% right, 100% of the time. Lindy regained her strength quickly, and she noticed she was able to play more golf and enjoy caring for her grandkids without debilitating fatigue.
It was not long before Lindy moved into a small group session which was a little longer in duration. She was responding very quickly and positively to exercise, getting stronger and feeling more balanced and confident. Shortly after she started her second weekly session – something remarkable was happening. Lindy’s fitness was so improved she was often the first one finished her program. She was leading by example in the group – working diligently and with focus. She frequently spoke about her future in a positive light “I’m getting myself in the best state for whatever the future brings”. I really felt that the shock of ovarian cancer and her remarkable recovery to date meant she took nothing for granted. She pulled back on work. She focused on her grandchildren and family. Her priorities had shifted, and she embraced her healthy and strong body and new levels of energy. Mindset is so important when you are challenged in this way, and as I said, not everyone gets that second chance at being healthy.
Can you beat ovarian cancer?? Lindy's story continues
“The chance of re-occurance is pretty high for ovarian cancer, but I can’t control that. I try to focus on being as fit and strong as I can so that I can fight it again if reoccurance happens, but in the mean time, it enables a quality of life continuing to do many of the things I enjoy; family, friends, kayaking, golf, the garden and maybe some travelling again. My walking, whilst beneficial, was not sufficient to get me “fit and strong”. Fatigue is an ongoing battle and a general weakness in all muscles was evident. My oncologist recommended Jo and from the outset it has been amazing. She understood, and responded with appropriate exercise, to all my individual needs. I feel stronger, fitter and have re-gained confidence in my own body again!”
Where to next?
Lindy has plans to retire to a sleepy Tasmaniane Town but has a plan B activated in case she needs to resume treatment down the track. But for now, Lindy is living her best life playing golf, kayaking, and enjoying her family. Recovery from cancer is not necessarily a linear thing, so she continues to rest as needed.
Lindy's words of advice on her cancer diagnosis
” I thought I knew what a cancer diagnosis meant having shared my late husbands 6 1/2 year journey. But, it is an entirely different story when it is your own mortality that is threatened! All the cliches are so true . . . . life is precious . . . . one day at a time . . . . small steps, each one counts . . . embrace every moment . . . family and friends are everything . . . . do not take your health for granted . . . . live while you are alive …. and be grateful”
Where is Lindy at now on her cancer journey??
Lindy had a re-occurance of symptoms towards the end of 2022. She has just completed another round of chemotherapy and radiation and awaits the outcome of this treatment. She has continued to take part in personal training right through her treatment, even when she felt unwell and fatigued. She always left feeling better. Lindy’s final word to anyone reading this is to trust your own gut on any health issue. If you are not satisfied with you medical team or their response to your query, keep asking until your questions and concerns have been answered. We will add to this blog when we know more.