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recovery time after 4 cycles of chemo

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  • recovery time after 4 cycles of chemo

    Just looking for some wild guesses as to what I might expect for recovery time after 4 cycles of chemo.

    I was in the last stages of testing for a job which has physical fitness requirements when I was diagnosed. I need to recover ASAP to get this job so I can support my wife and 3 kids.

    I'm 36 years old and I've sat at a desk for 10 years but I used to be a very competitive swimmer. The test requires me to run 1.5 miles in 13+ minutes and do 25 pushups. After training moderately for a month I did the run in 11:40 and 30+ pushups but I'll have to redo this test after the chemo. I think I'm sufficiently motivated to be very aggressive with the training.

    In addition, does anyone have any suggestions or even just thoughts about what I might expect when it comes to training? Could I expect to be able to swim or run at all during treatment? I just have no idea what to expect so I can't begin to plan.


  • #2

    I started 4 cycles of "EP" chemo on May 22nd and finished on August 11th. During the 1st cycle, I got pretty tired but was able to move around and do pretty much anything, including mowing the lawn and other yard work. By the end of the 1st week of the second cycle, I was beginning to feel the effects and noticed that I ran out of steam with little effort. Forget about the 3rd and 4th cycles. Just walking up a short flight of stairs caused me to have to lay down.

    Once I finished the chemo, I started feeling better immediately. Some of that was probably psycological but I had about 75% of my energy and stamina back by the end of August. Today, I'm back to about 95% and feel that I can do anything I did before I started the chemo.

    I would say that once chemo is done, you'll feel good enough to start training 2-3 weeks from the end of the last cycle. Keep in mind though that everyone responds and reacts differently to chemo so you situation can be much different than mine or someone elses.

    Good luck with the treatment and the new job.
    TC diagnosed 4/3/06, [email protected]; Left I/O 4/10/06; Stage IIa Non-Seminoma, 100% Yolk Sac; Started 4xEP 5/22/06 with [email protected]; Finshed 4xEP 8/11, AFP normal, CT scans clear! Now on surveillance


    • #3
      My son was tired during the chemo but still active, mostly walking to keep up the stamina. He recovered much of his strength a few weeks after it ended (the three major surgeries knocked him for a loop after the chemo but that's another story).

      Of course he is 20 and they tend to recover quick but after the first two rounds he had the chemo down pretty well.

      Are you getting Bleo? That is still affecting him, he is very sensitive to the cold and his fingers turn purple though that is getting better as well. He finished in March.



      • #4

        My experience is is it going to be tough to train and keep your fitness whilst on chemotherapy. If you read Lance Armstrong's book, he had huge difficulties with basic cycling whilst on chemo, and he's a super-athlete!

        However, some peoples experiences of chemo are better and than others, and you may breeze it, or on the other hand have a tough time. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it, I don't think I've come across anybody who didn't have pretty bad fatigue and general malaise whilst undertaking chemo for TC.

        My consultant said to me that given that the vast majority of TC cancer patients are young and fit, the chemo has been designed to therefore hit them very hard to maximise the potential of killing all the cancer cells, within the body's ability to cope with the chemo.

        I'd say 6 weeks after chemotherapy, you are getting back towards normal, although if you've done little exercise during chemo, I think you'll take a little while longer to build up your physical strength. For example, this ties in with the typical schedule for a post-chemo RPLND. After 6 weeks your general blood work is back to normal and you are deemed fit enough for the surgery.

        I do hope you have an understanding potential employer. What you should definitely get across to them is the effect of chemo is temporary, and your normal fitness levels will return.

        Best of luck with your chemo and your job.

        Diagnosed March 2006, Stage IIB, 3cm RP mass
        10% Seminoma, 90% Non-Seminoma (Embryonal, and a tiny amount of choriocarcinoma and teratoma)
        Prechemo bHCG-2648, AFP-582
        3xBEP March-June, markers normalised
        3 months postchemo - 1.2cm residual RP mass
        RPLND September 2006 - mostly necrotic tissue plus tiny amount of well differentiated teratoma
        June 2009 - TRT commenced to help out my lefty
        May 2011 - check-up, all clear