Running, Walking and Prostate Cancer:
A Personal Journey

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I’d like to share a personal experience I have had in recent months related to my health and fitness. And, as you might expect from a ChiRunning and ChiWalking Instructor, running and walking played a key role during this journey.

At the beginning of this year I was in excellent health and was doing my typical fitness activities; running, walking, tennis, ice hockey, cycling, etc. Little did I know that in the preceding months, the beginnings of prostate cancer were taking hold deep inside of me. An elevated PSA score had led me to have a biopsy which had confirmed that I had prostate cancer. What a shock!

After doing considerable research about the prostate gland, prostate cancer and the various treatments for it, I took a deep breath as I concluded that this kind of cancer is very treatable when identified early as mine had been. I soon decided to have robotic surgery to remove the PG totally; other options, such as radiation and the “wait and watch” approach did not appeal to me. I wanted a decisive and clean procedure and surgery seemed to be the treatment that provided that degree of certainty.

In preparing for the surgery, I followed a principle central to the ChiRunning technique and the ChiWalking technique, namely to set up the proper conditions for energy to flow, through balance, awareness and mindful movement. So, I chose to focus on relaxation and ease while working in the environment in which I live.

In terms of my surgery prep, this meant strengthening my immune system, enhancing my healing capacity and improving my fitness level and overall physical, mental and emotional balance. In support of these intentions, I continued with my usual physical fitness routines and the overall support I always get from my partner, Kathy. I also added acupuncture, body work, nutritional and herbal supplements, infra red sauna heat, a prostate cancer support group, and meditation. I tried to get as ready as possible for my treatment, in the interests of my long term health and well being.

My last run before the surgery was one of my favorites; a hilly, 20K trail run above Eugene. As I was running and walking, I felt the freedom and flow that goes with such a run but I was also aware that there was some nervousness in the back of my mind about the surgery that was only a few days away. ChiRunning and ChiWalking focuses, as well as Body Sensing, were particularly helpful that day as they gave me something other than surgery to think about.

The day arrived and, before I knew it, the surgery was over – efficient and painless. And, in what seemed like an instant, I awoke in my hospital room. Healing now became my primary life focus. After a day or so, I was walking comfortably and frequently while applying good ChiWalking technique to my delicate physical condition; movement was important to getting all my systems back to normal.

Within two weeks of surgery, I completed a 5K walk as part of the annual Prost8K event put on by the Oregon Urology Institute to raise funds for free PSA screenings to the community. I was not trying to be a “hero” by walking a 5K so soon after surgery, I just really felt energized and healthy enough to do it. And fortunately, my experience validated that self-assessment. I was excited and relieved to be out in the world again and happy that I had come through the surgery in pretty good shape.

Getting back to running again took a little longer, but within about 5 weeks post-surgery I ran a 5K pushing a baby carriage with my 9-month-old grandson (his first race ever!). After that, I felt like I was back. Now it was a matter of supporting some deeper healing and trusting in another central tenet of ChiLiving, the principle of Gradual Progress – patience and small steps –  and I am glad to report that this next phase of recovery and healing is well under way.

P.S. 1 in 6 men eventually get prostate cancer; men over 40 should include a PSA screening in their medical exams – it could save your life; it did mine!

Posted in Health & Wellness

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