The Value of exercise leading up to a Bone Marrow Transplant

Posted: 02/23/2001 by Mike Caudill


When I was diagnosed in 1997, I knew from the beginning of my treatment I was headed for a transplant. Call it what you wish, I knew it was in my future. So, I took the attitude that the BMT could not be treated any different from any other "race" so I actually trained to be able to withstand the thing.

I knew that I would lose weight, so I used my weight workouts to gain muscle mass and believe it or not, fat that could be used up during the no count phase and the coming back up phase. During this time the mouth hangs in blisters and food is not an option. Eleven days and 35 pounds later I weighed in a poor 155 but still had some muscle. My diet consisted of lots of protein leading up to the BMT and after day sixteen anything I could get my hands on to gain weight.

The training paid off, I rode an exercise bike in my "cell" everyday all the way through the radiation and chemo. The staff took my riding very personal, and each shift would come in and ask, "how far did you go today Mike?" I was a bird of a different color for these hard working folks. Some of the nurses came in and asked me to help them with their own fitness woes and that was quite fun for me. So, when I went in I could bench 185 and ride about 50 or sixty miles with no problem, I left 21 days later unable to lift the bar, 45 lbs.., and could only ride about 3 minutes.

One year later I am back to 185 on the bench and can ride all day if the route is pretty and a tail wind prevails. So, the transplant aint no picnic but if you make a competition out of it like this group loves, you can do it and come back the better for the experience. I hope this helps someone because that is one of my new goals for the future.



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