The Importance of Movement

When I was a kid I used to love bouncing on a trampoline. We never owned one so it was always a massive treat. Most of my jumping episodes took place at camping sites, where trampolines were sort of a “hang-out” for kids of all ages. A lot of shit could go down on those trampolines, anything from the advances of young boys to bullying from the pack “leader”, but they always drew a crowd. It was always super exciting if by some super fluke you got there and the trampoline was free. Oh the bliss of having a good old jump by yourself! Flick forward to adulthood and exercise looms like a gloomy duty, long gone any of the pure joy and sense of fun associated with it. Well actually it’s not that bad, but you get the picture.

As you know, my partner – Nige – has stage IV lung cancer. During one of my mad Googling session for a cure, I happened one night to stumble across the you-tube video of Sharon Kelly, the sweet lady from Australia who claims cannabis cured her stage IV lung cancer. You can imagine my excitement! You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hUoyXKf81c . Being a believer in a “holistic” cure, and not having pounds of marijuana on hand, I delved deeper into her video, looking for other things she had done during the course of her “treatment”. Whether the idea of cannabis as a cure appalls you or makes you snort with disbelief, it was still interesting to hear that she applied a regime of different “treatment” techniques including juicing and re-bounding everyday, along with a blast of chemo. A holistic approach you could say. We will talk more about juicing another day, soon, as I believe there is great benefit in it.

Anyway, to the point. I almost immediately started to encourage (read nag) Nige to jump on our trampoline everyday for 10 minutes while listening to music. After all, the kids weren’t using it! We were already doing the juicing and other things I will also fill you in on at a later date. Once he actually made it on to the tramp, Nige really enjoyed these sessions. He didn’t have a lot of energy at the time, and as trampolines are cushioning and rely so much on gravity they are a great form of exercise for those suffering from certain illnesses that knacker you.

Wikipedia states that claimed benefits of rebound exercise are as follows:

  • Strengthened Cells: All of the body’s cells are said to be strengthened through the mechanics of rebounding, either because of gravity changes or because of pressure differentials (along with more oxygen reaching cells throughout the body);

  • Increased Lymph Flow & Immune System Function: Rebounding is said to lead to greatly increased lymph fluid circulation, leading directly to a boosted immune system, greater white blood cell activity, and increased detoxification generally;

  • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Improvement: Rebounding is said to directly yield impressive aerobic exercise benefits in terms of heart strength and functioning, respiration, and related physiological functions; and

  • Physical Strength, Muscular Development, Coordination, Balance, and Flexibility: Rebounding is often said to improve all of these.

  • Low Impact, Less Strain on Joints, Soft Tissue, Skeleton: The elastic element of a rebounder, either springs or bungee bands, absorbs much of the impact or shock on each bounce, thereby making rebound exercise more attractive to those who need to avoid shocking or straining their joints, soft tissue, and skeleton.

Rebounding is said to assist dozens of specific medical conditions—from arthritis to vision improvement—but there is little scientific evidence for these claims.

Perfect for a cancer victim right? But being a scientists daughter I required more robust evidence, and note the last sentence.

However:

Former NASA Director of Life Sciences and author of the new book “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.” In her pioneering NASA research on the effects of weightlessness on astronauts, Dr. Vernikos discovered that constant movement that challenges the force of gravity is essential to good health. Deprived of gravity, astronauts develop muscle weakness, heart problems, poor balance and coordination and lack of stamina — exactly the same symptoms as sedentary people here on Earth.

Dr. Vernikos also wrote about the health benefits of Acceleration Training, or Whole Body Vibration Training, in which you perform exercises on a vibrating platform such as the Power Plate. Acceleration Training works by increasing the force of gravity on your body—which is at the heart of issue, according to Dr. Vernikos.

To a lesser degree, a mini trampoline will also increase the G forces on your body and provide similar, yet less extreme, benefits. A mini trampoline or rebounder subjects your body to gravitational pulls ranging from zero at the top of each bounce to 2 to 3 times the force of gravity at the bottom, depending on how high you jump. Some of the benefits rebounding offers include circulating oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs, and promoting increased muscle strength.

Two of the symptoms that distressed both Nigel and myself the most where his persistent cough, which often continued through the night, and his bouts of breathlessness, which were, to be honest, terrifying. For me, I imagined the re-bounding was helping to drain Nige’s chest and lymph nodes, oxygenating his cells, keeping his fitness, strength and movement up, and making him happy! Who is not happy jumping on a tramp listening to their favourite sounds? It was also a relatively easy exercise for a tired, stressed out soul to manage. Baby steps! Nige seemed to enjoy his sessions so much (once I had nagged him within an inch of his life to get out there) that I started to have the odd jump myself. No pressure, just for fun. And guess what? I enjoyed it! Gone were the time limits and bounces per minute the old me would have demanded, I was bouncing purely for fun, plus it passed the time while I was waiting for the dog to poop.

If you have access to a re-bounder or trampoline I highly recommend you give it a go, just for fun. Even if you don’t have to wait for a pooping dog.

Advertisements

The beginnings of a chance to cure

On the 4th of November 2014 my partner was diagnosed with Stage IV terminal lung cancer. It was in both lungs, and his lymph nodes. He was given 4-8 months to live, 8 months with treatment, 4 months without. The only option for us was chemotherapy. We were told there was a 30% chance chemo would shrink the tumour, 30% chance it would stay stable, 30% chance it would be immune and continue to grow.

We weren’t so keen on these odds, and so immediately began looking for alternative treatments that we could use either instead of or with the chemo.

Today on the 30th of January 2015, after only 2 rounds of chemotherapy and numerous alternative treatments, the tumour has shrunk by almost 50%, lymph nodes look to have reduced, and everything else is stable.

I am here to tell our story. All we can hope is that others suffering from cancer can find information, support, hope and inspiration from this blog.

We ultimately hope for a cure.

We take it one day at a time.