He Started Walking

If this doesn’t get us walking, I don’t know what will. From:

Exercise Is Medicine. Here’s How I Get Patients Started, Alex Mroszczyk-McDonald, M.D., American Academy of Family Physicians, 16 May 2018

John was a 78-year-old patient I had been seeing for the past year. Three years ago he was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer with local invasion into his aorta, and surgical tumor debulking was deemed too dangerous, given several other comorbidities. He underwent chemotherapy for a few months with little benefit and was miserable from the side effects. As a result, he decided to transition to home palliative and hospice care.

Most of the oncologists thought he would survive only a few months, but John discovered a new treatment that no doctor had recommended and he had not tried before. This new treatment may have helped prolong his life — and, more importantly, improved the quality of his life.

Was it a new miracle pill? Was it expensive?

No and no.

He started walking.

At first, he could barely walk to the next room. His wife and home nurse had to help him significantly.

Everyone told him, “Save your strength,” or, “Don’t waste your energy.”

He didn’t listen.

John was a stubborn man. He had read about the benefits of walking and wanted to see if it could help him. He and his wife walked nearly every day, although just a few minutes at a time initially. Little by little, he got stronger, walked a little bit farther and, most importantly, felt better.

He noticed that he started to sleep better, needed less pain medication and had more energy. He was discharged from home hospice because he was doing so well, and his prognosis significantly improved.

John defied his doctors’ predictions and lived much longer than expected. Although he ultimately succumbed to his illness, he added quality to the years he had remaining. He and his wife attributed his unexpected longevity to daily exercise, an act as simple as walking.

The rest of the article is good. It talks about the benefits of walking. But sometimes a testimonial is worth a thousand words.

So, John lived not a few months but a few years! Who knows if it was the walking. I’m going to say it was the walking.

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