Struggling Back into My Exercise Routine

Mark Koziol avatar

by Mark Koziol |

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Over a month ago, I returned from a three-week vacation to Europe. My wife and I were active every day of the trip. Most of our physical activity consisted of walking, but we also went swimming when we had the opportunity. We established a routine in each country we visited, the same as I do at home. I am a creature of habit and I do not like to deviate from my daily routine.

Back home, exhausted from the physicality of the trip, I decided to wait a week before starting to exercise again. Normally, I go either to the gym or to my pulmonary rehabilitation facility five or six times a week. I am in fairly decent shape for a person who has received a lung transplant and I had prepared to do a lot of walking while on vacation, but I didn’t resume exercising consistently until last week — almost six weeks after we returned from our trip.

I was suffering from severe back pain, which gave me an excuse not to do anything. The pain was muscular, but I didn’t like the fact that it originated on the side where my transplanted lung was. I waited several days before calling my transplant nurse coordinator, who said it was probably nothing, but I should see my general practitioner. The GP told me I should begin working out again because it would help in the long run. For some reason, however, I did not have it in me to exercise.

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I feel guilty when I don’t do things I am supposed to do. I feel that I’m not showing how grateful I am for receiving a second chance at life. Some may consider this a symptom of depression, but I can’t honestly say whether it is or isn’t. I have never been treated for depression and am not willing to see a specialist to identify what was wrong for several weeks in the summer. I have gone through periods like this before and have snapped out of it. It took everything I had to begin working out. I even started slowly so I wouldn’t aggravate my back.

My eating habits were also horrendous. I do most of the cooking in my house because I am a stay-at-home fur baby dad. My wife is off work in the summer because she is a teacher, and for some reason, when we are both at home our eating habits change. We tend to order out several days of the week and eat various unhealthy snacks. Every time I stroll into the kitchen, I look in the refrigerator. The products in the fridge don’t change and nothing mystically appears, such as a half-gallon of ice cream.

The summer is dwindling away, and my wife has gone back to work, while I am still struggling to get back into my routine. I have started physical therapy for my back and have begun to exercise. My wife is happy that I have begun to cook regularly. I still don’t feel like I did before I left for vacation. I know I can’t have a perfect day every day, but I do need to get back to my regular self. Every day, I feel I am closer to accomplishing this task. I only wish it didn’t take so long.


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


Ted Fecteau avatar

Ted Fecteau

Thanks for describing your struggles with continuing to return to an exercise routine. It is somehow comforting to know that my similar struggles are not unique. “Misery loves company” comes to mind. But your slowly achieving a return to normalcy also encourages me to keep up the struggle. Keep on keeping on. It is good to have the company.

Mark Koziol avatar

Mark Koziol

Hello Ted, thank you for reading and commenting on my column. Feedback is truly appreciated. Ted, sometimes we all go through periods where we are not able to perform at our highest level. This is acceptable, especially with the disease we have battled against. Ted, keep going and stay active. Thank you again. Mark


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