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Barbara's story: The Need for Perseverance

Jul 07, 2014 2:34 AM

Barbara has shared her personal experience and thoughts about exercising and the necessary accompanying perseverance in a previous article. Now that we have launched the community, we would like to ask you for your opinion about this topic. Here's the article again, for those who haven't read it before.

Although exercising is very important, you should consult a physician before beginning a new exercise.


After your attitude (see my last article), the other very important component of dealing with chronic pain is perseverance. I, for one, know this first hand. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer and because of the overwhelming nature of dealing with cancer and the discomfort I experienced during my treatment, I fell into a ‘poor me’ mentality. I stopped doing… I stopped doing just about everything that required physical exertion. As a result, after the nine month treatment was over, my stamina was rock bottom. It was not long after that when I started to experience neuropathy. “Oh great,” I told myself. “How can I exercise and regain my stamina with this foot pain?”


My pain is not nearly as bad as some. As long as I wear the widest Croc clog I can, I am able to walk, but it is extremely tiring. Yet, I have found that if I persevere and make myself walk casually, I sleep better and I feel better. Yes, the attitude factor is needed at this time. I know how I respond to movement, to even casual walking, and therefore I must keep my attitude strong so that I will persevere. I do not have to do my whole route. Just doing a part of it is still good.


Whatever exercise it is that you can do, do not belittle it. You cannot look at it from the eyes of someone in good health. You have to look at it from your perspective! Maybe it is doing exercises while sitting in a chair. If so, do them and do them to the best of your ability. Set up a program or routine and do it as often as you can. OK, you have a day when your body or mind is totally overwhelmed; do not berate yourself for not being able to do it. Rest your mind and your body so that you will be ready the next day. Perhaps exercise or any real physical movement is beyond you. Perhaps massage or stretching in place is possible.


You say you are unable to do exercise of any kind? Use your mind and consult your doctor or therapist. Find a goal and do what you can to reach it. Put your mind to work and make it grow. Behind all this, will be your attitude. It is how you look at yourself, at your situation and your life that will make it possible for you to ‘put one foot in front of the other’ literally or figuratively.


As Winston Churchill once said: "If you are going through hell, keep going."


Here I have a link to more quotes about perseverance. There are some great names and people who have much to say on the matter. Hopefully one of these quotes will reach out to you and help you to keep going when the times get tough. Me, I am going to do my best to get my act in order so I can say I did more than just write some words for you. I am going to listen to what I have written here and make it a reality.


Barbara Zarrella, Florida, USA


What is your experience about perseverance?

Aug 13, 2014 4:09 AM

right now, it is immensely difficult. I think I'm losing it, which is terrifying...

Aug 14, 2014 7:10 AM

I hope you have a support system, family, friend or doctor who know and really understand where you are and what you are dealing with. Chronic pain and its heavy weight take its toll. My pain is not as severe as many here, but for me it is like that dripping faucet that wears us down through its unending presence in my life.

Some here are able to find relief for short periods of time through treatment and try their best to rebuild their spirit during this time. I feel for you and hope you find the strength to keep moving forward. Do not hesitate to reach out during those worst moments...

Aug 26, 2014 2:21 AM

With my SI joints screaming and the fact that I have a fusion of 4 lumbar vertebrae with rods I was surprised on the neuro surgeon telling me that I should strengthen my abs , I can to the plank but I can't do sit ups or even bridges any more any suggestions I am willing to try thanks Phil

Aug 27, 2014 9:16 PM

I was told by a therapist of a simple way to start ab muscle strengthening. I lay on my back, place hand on lower abd area, below belly button. Then I concentrate on tightening the muscles there and hold for ten seconds. the pelvis will tilt some. Breathe! Repeat 4-5 times until you know how it affects you.

Now that I can isolate those muscles I tighten them when walking, sitting etc. Not instant, but I feel them getting firmer.

Aug 30, 2014 11:17 PM

sounds like you're strengthening your pelvic floor muscles :) I have been advised to try that too. also, try yoga, and swimming? it's mostly gentle enough without being too hardcore to cause you lots of extra pain. slow and steady, easy does it :)

Aug 31, 2014 6:13 PM

My pelvic and stomach muscles. Have to get the front core muscles stronger. Back is ultra tight. Yoga is good, wish swimming was possible. It is the best!

Aug 31, 2014 8:16 PM

thank you for you feedback and kindness Piper54

Dec 23, 2014 4:37 AM

Back bone pain

Dec 23, 2014 6:57 AM

I will try pilates. Not the whole nine yards yet, but the breathing, strenghtening muscles from within like a lobster. Losing weight. Go to massage therapy. I'm in so much pain, something's gotta give. Pain meds and muscle relaxers only take the edge off. I gotta help myself heal as well!

Dec 23, 2014 7:10 AM

I tend to do really good for 4weeks. I will love the exercise or healthy foods. Then I will feel bored and not know what to do or eat and will inadvertently stop doing. Even though it helps, I know it helps, and I recommend the same things to others.

Dec 23, 2014 7:29 AM

I can really appreciate this. I am at the point where my doctor has told me to stop exercise until I can get my pain under control. I was working out four times a week and love CrossFit and how strong I felt doing it, but the aftershock that came to my body afterwards let me know that it's just not worth it, and to slow down. I'm switching from lifting heavy to walking in the pool for 8 minutes tops.

What I am learning is to honor and respect my body where it is right now. To know that I am strong in other ways, and to persevere and push myself, but to love myself enough to know where the limit is.

I am so glad this article is about preservence and mental strength in the exercise arena. I think people with chronic pain hear enough of "maybe you should work out more" when we say "it hurts to move." Thank you for this!

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