Battles – only a handful of you know this already, but our longtime Battle Peter has been fighting with Stage IV cancer. One of the most inspiring things that I’ve seen this year is watching him start putting goals up on the Goal Board. He’s a fighter. Read and be inspired.
I should have been suspicious when I was able to climb the rope and hit the easy button for the first time. It wasn’t that I was all of a sudden stronger, it was because I was losing weight every day. About a month later I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the stomach/esophagus. By that point I was not able to climb any rope, even though I had lost 60 lbs. However, I have gotten better, and recently Justin asked me to tell the story of how that came about, and I would add how Battle CrossFit helped me get healthier.
Last September was a rough time. I couldn’t eat, barely slept, and I was undergoing bi-weekly chemo treatments. I tried to acclimate to the periodic nausea, cold hypersensitivity, dry mouth, neuropathy, etc. This past winter was bitter, but I attempted to walk everyday around home, first just short walks, working up to 1 or 2 miles. Eventually I asked Rae & Justin if I could work out at Battle CrossFit in the background, at my own pace, to build up my strength further. Sort of a second on-ramp.
I should add that my Battle buddy Jeff Shute and wife Anne, and Michael and all the trainers were encouraging, and did their best to help me come back. Finally, I reached the point where I could try to participate in WOD’s again. Despite having little strength or endurance, I was making progress again, very slow progress, but progress.
Then a setback. The chemo toxic agents that were doing a good job killing my tumor cells also killed my bone marrow cells that produce blood components. My levels of platelets and neutrophils decreased to the point that my doctor could not safely give me the chemo infusions. In desperation, I asked what could I do to encourage my bone marrow to start making blood components again. A nurse practitioner said there is anecdotal evidence that exercise helps stimulate platelet production. (A paleo type explanation is that if you are using your muscles strongly, that means you are out possibly hunting and are at greater risk of getting wounded, so platelets increase to handle any wounds that need clotting.)
So I started walking up the 7 flights of stairs at the hospital for appointments and blood tests. Here at home, I push myself to come to Battle and do the WOD’s as best I can, even if I do not quite feel alright or energetic. My WOD’s are no doubt ugly, but they help me sweat out the toxins and boost my blood components. For the last several months my platelet levels and other blood components have increased, even after infusions. I have not had to skip any more infusions.
I appreciate Rae, Justin, Anne, Jeff, Michael, and everyone’s encouragement at Battle. My tumor has shrunk so that it cannot be seen anymore on the scans. And I feel better and somewhat stronger. And I know even if it is anecdotal, that exercise is helping my blood to continue the treatments.
Thanks for sharing Peter, and for being such an amazing member of this team.