Working out a better way to beat blood cancer
Linda Hennessy was only 23 years old when she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a dangerous blood cancer that develops in the body’s lymphatic system.
She spent weeks lying in hospital – at one point in an induced coma – facing the prospect that she wouldn’t survive.
“They found tumours around my heart, left lung and sternum as well as both breasts,” the registered nurse explains.
Linda endured months of chemotherapy, targeted radiation and a bone marrow transplant. A lung haemorrhage, an uncommon complication from the transplant, sent her to intensive care for a week.
Incredibly Linda fought her way to remission but attending a normal gym to help rebuild her fitness was daunting. “I was worried I would be pushed beyond my limits,” she said.
Linda was still bald and had a line coming out of her chest when she started on the Leukaemia Foundation’s 12-week exercise program, Fit to Thrive.
“At Fit to Thrive I’m exercising with other people facing the same challenges. I love working out with these people and my exercise physiologist, Molly, has been amazing.”
Proven benefits of the program include improved muscle strength, flexibility and balance. After 12 weeks on the fitness program the highlight for Linda was simply being able to walk in her favourite boots again.
A year on from achieving remission,Linda has just undergone shoulder surgery, necessary due to complications from previous treatment and will soon begin rehabilitation once again.