Back in the Swim of Things

Whoohoo!  Yesterday marked the 6 week post surgery mark, so I celebrated the lifting of my exercise restrictions (no running, no swimming) and went out for a low-key 5 mile run with Truc.  The weather was a bit cloudy and cool as we zigzagged around Stanford campus, dodging groups of picture-snapping tourists and sunblock-smeared and backpack-laden summer campers.  Walking is a effective form of exercise, but it’s not nearly as efficient time-wise in burning calories as running.  I’ve been spending around 1.5 hours every day walking or biking and it’s liberating to pare my workout back down to under an hour.

Today Anna and I went for my first swim since the day before surgery.  The transition back into swimming was not as easy as for running.  This is probably because I’ve kept up a lower body workout in the past few weeks with plenty of hill-hiking and just plain old walking but I’ve been extra gentle with the upper half of my body especially around the incision area and also to prevent lymphedema.  Anyway, I took it easy in the pool and found that the range of movement of my right arm is plenty wide enough for the backstroke.  Also, I’m not a very good swimmer but prior to surgery I regularly swam laps for 40 minutes with no great difficulty.  Today, however, I felt a little off-form and ended up swimming every other lap without my arms.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I was so anxious to get back into the pool that I didn’t even wait for the new mastectomy-friendly swimsuit that won’t arrive from Lands’ End until later today.  The new swimsuit will have a special foob pocket already built in.  This morning, I didn’t want to scare anyone at the pool with my misshapen form (in actuality, there was only one other swimmer when we arrived and it was still dark outside), so I crudely carved a breast shaped blob out of an (unused) O-Cello kitchen sponge and safety pinned it into an old swimsuit.  I did give Anna a heads-up to please retrieve any purple sponges she might find floating in the pool should mine inconveniently dislodge.

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