Back To The Gym! 
I have just been away on a two day forum for younger women affected by breast cancer – yes, we are still in the minority. Of the 44,300 people diagnosed last year, less than 8,000 were under 45. The forum was organised by Breast Cancer Care and it was just amazing. I learnt more in those two days than I have in the past eight months. It was great to be in the company of people who understand what we are all experiencing and to hear stories, suggestions, ideas, advice that is first hand. It was also great to relax. Not just because I was out of my routine, but because if the ‘stunned rabbit’ effect should occur, I knew no-one would mind. I am not sure whether it is just due to the chemo (there are many reports about forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate after chemo), or due to the psychological impact of being diagnosed and treated for cancer, but often, during my day to day routines I feel overcome with this feeling of helplessness – like a stunned rabbit in the headlights. My mind goes blank; I feel very dazed and teary and can’t perform the simplest of tasks. Yes, Jane, Jill, Lisa, Andi, Jeff, Helen etc. I know there were many moments mid-class when I seemed to develop the ‘stunned rabbit’ effect before my diagnosis, but you know it was all a sham to see if you were concentrating….(The stunned rabbit effect can work very well with partners in conversations like “I thought we agreed we weren’t going to buy a mirror for the living room just yet?”……”Oh really, I can’t remember that conversation…..” The stunned rabbit effect can be infuriating to children, however, especially when confronted with questions like, “Mum, have you seen my school jumper?”……”School jumper?...what jumper?”…) Actually I just read that back and have decided that the word ‘jumper’ is a stupid word – where the hell does that come from hey? Jumper ….is it alive, is it active, why jumper? I will adopt a different word I think. Maybe sweater is good….

Anyway it was an excellent weekend and I came away with a lot more info that will help me take the next steps to ‘wellness’! On that note, I had a great chat to one of their guest speakers, an amazing GP, Dr Emma Pennery, who told me that the latest research shows that those women who exercise have a greater long term prognosis than those who don’t – and not just the recommended three times per week, but more like five or six. This was fantastic news for me because it means I can go back to the Body Attack plans later in the year, in addition to Pump, and not worry that my immune system will be compromised. However, this tiredness will continue for a few months before my energy levels begin to normalise, so I have to pace myself and take things one day at a time. I am so tired most of the time now that I feel dizzy and sick sometimes…and that’s before 9am. No, sadly I am not joking…..

Two weeks ago, I participated in the launch of BodyPump 66 at Banns and it was fantastic to be back. So fantastic that I have agreed to go back to my Monday night class AS OF TONIGHT!!!! Yippee!!!! Of course the good news is that no-one is going to be mean to me even in jest, (well there’s Jane the pain of course), all choreography mishaps will be put down to ‘chemo-brain’ or the ‘stunned rabbit effect’ and I don’t have to do the pushups if I don’t feel like it!!!!! What a great arrangement!

Hello to Hilary and Ned! How fantastic to hear from you – please send me an email so I can reply. Maree, we are all getting pretty excited about your arrival in Jan – must plan a big party and organise our gig at the Ritz. If Mr Bush is not eating, is he fading away in some dark corner somewhere, with nothing to do but listen to football scores? I think you should investigate Maree!
Better go as it must be time for sleep…..See you soon, and to all you Banns people I WILL SEE YOU MONDAY NIGHTS!!! Love from Deb


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