Pageviews past week

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cancer, Climbing and Endurance Sports.

Bald as a cue ball but thrilled @ my first day out in the mtns last spring

Cancer is a discussion I would have avoided like the plague a year ago.  Even with family members dying from it I was intentionally in denial when the subject came up.  Just didn't want to go there for any reason.

When I was diagnosed the two things that scared me the most I was going to get through the treatment and how I would rebuild after the treatment.  Yep, admittedly, it became all about me from day one.

From day one my Doctors told me that I would loose 25% of my body mass in 7 weeks.  Once I got my head around that number and figured out just what it would mean I was worried.  And they were spot on at the end result.  The current crop of oncologists know how to kill cancer.  Keeping the patient alive while still being able to enjoy life after the "CURE" is the real issue after the fact is my thought, then and now.  That at least from my admittedly limited experience.  They (the Docs) have little clue on how to deal with the aftermath.  On the recovery end of things I am healthy now in spite of my Oncology staff not because of them.

I am alive today, but without treatment, last year's prognosis was I would be dead by now.  I had asked....back in Sept of '11.

As I always say...what works for me may not work for you.  

So I am using this forum and the traffic generated here to make Internet searches easier for those like myself that were/are looking for a info about treatment and the aftermath experience of  "Cancer, Climbing and Endurance Sports."  Not that I am an expert on any of that.  But *ANY* info is hard to find.  Good info from those that have BTDT even harder if my experience is any example.

I know several guys with a wealth of experience in training all sorts of athletes, endurance athletes in particular.  Some with world wide reputations doing so.   To my surprise none of them had any worth while experience with cancer or cancer patients.   Every CANCER is different as is every treatment protocol.  So it is no wonder they came up empty handed.

There are several million women who have benefited from the Danskin Series.

More yet from Livestrong both men and women.

I looked at both.  And my wife and I spent hours on the Internet looking for useful info  and talking with sources that  many sent me too.  (Thanks Brian ;-)  The biggest help by far?  My nursing staff.  Make sure you ask yours the questions that are nagging you.

This week as I was doing my 2nd PET scan another climber and cancer survivor (Rusty) sent me an email.  Both of those events made me rethink writing more on

That blog is now an open forum, anyone can post or ask questions.  There are no filters.

It is a bit of a mess at the moment but I will start adding climbing and endurance sport related comments as I have time.  Guest blogs from those that have BTDT are welcome!  I am hoping it will become a good resource so no one has to go through the same dark tunnel I did.


Alex said...

If I was recovering from an illness endurance training is the last thing I would do, getting my strength back using a basic strength program should be a priority. My opinion is completely biased and I am not an expert in this matter.

Alex said...

Since you deleted my previous comment here's someone with more authority, maybe he will convince you

Dane said...

My point on the 2 pitch route verses Rainier? A bit of strength training was good enough for a 2 pitch 5.6 route early on in recovery. Months of recovery and training is what it took to get up Rainier again. Climbing, multisport events, cycling, running, swimming are all generally considered endurance events. All obviously take some strength training as well. But as any serious endurance athelete will tell you...nothing beats a high strength to body weight ratio. Unless of course you can't physically get the job done.

"If I was recovering from an illness endurance training is the last thing I would do, getting my strength back using a basic strength program should be a priority."

As you said, "your priority". My priority was just to be able to walk around the block unaided. Everyone has their own base line ot work from. That was mine. Apples and oranges Alex.

Alex said...


Have you read the article ? Not apples and oranges at all, "My priority was just to be able to walk around the block unaided" is exactly why I recommend strength and not endurance training, and "a high strength to body weight ratio" is also achieved by strength training, not cycling or running. More on this subject . Just trying to give something back for everything I learned from you.

Dane said...

Thanks Alex. Sorry for the confusion. I wasn't saying endurance sports are the best way to recover from Cancer. In this blog post I was trying to give cancer survivors that had been into endurance sports previously, a resource base. I know of Mountain Athelete and some that train there, Twight and his crew as well and some @ Crossfit. So almost, but not totally clueless on training. In conversations I can tell you than none of those listed had any experience dealing with chemo and rad patients at the level I required experience in. None...

That kind of rapid weight loss and being unable to eat or swallow ANYTHING for months followed by a very limited diet puts a different spin on training and recovery.

We can agree to disagree, but having done both (typical strength/crossfit training and training while recovering from cancer) it is apples and oranges imo.