After 5 months of chemo, Mike, 31, couldn’t run at all. So the Chicagoan started walking. “At first I could only go about half a block,” he recalls. “I felt so frail and weak after the treatment. It took a year of walking two miles a day before I even started trying to run. Then it was about two months just to be able to run a mile. Running made me feel healthy again.”
Mike set his sites on the Chicago Marathon. “My doctors have always told me I can do anything I feel up to,” he says. In addition to the lung and kidney issues that came with the disease, Mike dealt with bouts of nausea from the meds and anxiety. But he continued to put in the miles during training.
The effort paid off. Mike finished the 26.2-mile race. “It wasn’t until the last mile or so that I really thought I could do it,” he says. He finished a little slower than he’d like to, so he signed up for the 2011 event to better his time.
His advice for other WG patients who want to become more active? “Start small. It’s best to begin with something you can keep up long term,” he counsels. “When I first began running, I only ran one or two times a week. After a month or two of that, my energy level really improved and I was able to handle more.”
Published: March 2011
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