Last week was great! Each day I continued to get stronger and stronger, feel better and better. It was so nice not to be getting infused five-and-a-half hours a day with the chemo drugs. Strength keeps coming back, slowly, but surely. The only difficulty has been that I feel as if I am on home arrest. I have been told to avoid large crowds and places where people go when their sick (retail stores, restaurants, and church) while my white blood cell count is down. So we have been operating on the assumption that my white blood cell count is down until I am told otherwise. I have a blood draw today that should hopefully let me know in the next day or so where my white blood cell count is.
There are quite a few downsides to operating this way. I can’t eat fresh fruit unless it has a tough exterior that can handle being scrubbed with produce soap (this stuff is great). Which means I can’t eat blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and so on. I can eat apples, pears, and tomatoes as long as we wash them with the Environné Fruit and Vegetable Wash twice. Not only do we have to be careful about pesticides, but also all the other people that have handled the fruit or vegetables before us.
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Exercising has been difficult. Walking has never been a good speed for me. I prefer to run, or bike, or play a sport. I have felt pretty good so I have been doing some walking, but my brain has been going crazy. We had asked my doc about cycling and unfortunately he said no to that one. The reason? Cycling puts me at a higher risk of getting hit by a car or getting in some sort of accident. So if I were to get scraped up while my white blood cell count was low, the cut would probably get infected and ultimately I might die (Talk about incentive to stay off the bike!). But the doc said I could go on a slow jog. So two days ago I went on a “slow jog”.
A slow jog is very hard to quantify. What does someone mean when they say a “slow jog”? A slow jog for someone could be a fast run for someone else. How do you determine was a slow jog is? So I just pulled a number out of my head and decided to run with that (literally). I chose to keep my heart rate below 170 beats per minute while I was running. I don’t know if that is considered working hard or not, but I found that if I kept my heart rate between 150 and 160 beats per minute I felt pretty good.
4 miles later I was on my cool down around the cul-de-sac. It felt so good to run. It felt so good to get out of the house, my brain needed it so badly. It definitely put my mind in a better place after that run, even though the rest of the day I was very tired. I think I’ve said this before, attitude is so important when it comes to cancer. I have decided to fight with every ounce of energy I have, and part of that fighting spirit means I had to go on a jog. I don’t regret it.
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Again, my family and I are so appreciative of the love and support we are getting. I’m also amazed at the attention that I’ve been getting. I only hope and pray that this attention will help men everywhere see that testicular cancer is not something to mess with and that it is ok to talk about. Just because something is wrong down there, doesn’t mean that you’re less of a man. It just means there’s something wrong down there.
As men we struggle with talking about our weaknesses, physical weaknesses included in that. But guys, this is serious! This could mean your life, and it’s so curable. So check yourself in the shower once a month (here’s a how-to on that). And if something seems out of the ordinary, GO TO YOUR DOCTOR! Again, it’s ok. You’re not weak just because something is wrong.