T Nation

Cancer, Surgery, The Return, Need Advice


some background information:
-diagnosed with cancer+surgery last november. recovered from the surgery by january and started chemo therapy. during chemo and whilst being very tired i managed to regain all of my muscle and strength but acquired some extra body fat.

stats at this time:
weight- 205
squat-405 x 3-4
deadlift- 520

-in May of /09 i had my right lung removed, and lost an incredible ammount of muscle and strength within weeks.
-now i am just about recovered and ready to begin training again.

1.)what type of program would you recommend in order to regain strength + size quickly? (i know i'll gain faster because of muscle memory). in the past i am a huge follower of westide 3.

2.) diet- i follow PN rules. should i dive right into a bulk or start off with a clean high protein maintanance phase? (right now im not really following any diet and am probably eating below maintanance, but i am usually 85-90% compliant when i train).

3.) Supplements- i use Surge Recovery, Flameout, Whey.
seeing as i have cancer and am still doing chemo i am open to any supplement protocols and suggestions that will maximize a quik regaining of my strength as well as being beneficial for a cancer patient. as far as i know the best dietary advice i have is to eat a diet high in antioxidants so i was thinking of throwing in some Superfood; good idea?. money isent really an issue but i like to keep it reasonable.

current weight- 178'ish (yes, very depressing)


TBH, I wouldn't imagine very many people on these boards would be qualified to give you advice with everything that's happened, myself included.

That being said if you're a fan of westside and follow PN dietary advice, why change it?


I'd PM Alwyn Cosgrove, best of luck.


I can't give you any advice but just wanted to say that I think your dedication is really inspiring. Good luck with your recovery!


Congrats on beating that shit!


whether you get that muscle back or not you have already done more than any of us ever will. congrats and good luck on the recovery.


Congratulations on living. For reals.

What did the docs say the impact would be of being down one lung for working out?


you sir are amongst the top 1% of the true hardcore mother fuckers on this site, regardless of what you weigh, look like, lift, etc. my hat's off to you for beating that shit! keep fighting and i wish you the very best.


as far as one lung goes, the doc said it would expand, depending how much effort i put in and that i'd be able to workout and play recreational sports again.

im pretty motivated and ive already made huge improvements on my lung capacity in a short time.
you would be suprised how many people live with one lung.

my tumours were crushing my right lung for a long time so im used to breathing with practically one.


and thanks to everyone for their support, very much appreciated.

training during chemo has certainly improved my self esteem and quality of life. the number one side effect of chemo is constant fatigue, and training certainly helps keep energy levels up; and of course Spike! before training for good measure.


Here are things that come to mind:

Aerobic training may be worthwhile (or even necessary) just to increase pulmonary capacity. Of course, there may be a level where you just don't want to push it too hard, and I'd have to defer to the docs again.

If aerobic capacity remains somewhat limiting, I'd guess I'd recommend higher weights, fewer reps, longer wait periods, etc.

Look into ways to increase your energy level for workouts. Stimulants, stuff like Surge workout fuel. Actually, maybe even investigate thibadeau's monster para-workout nutrition regime for ideas.


Hey man, Being a respiratory therapist since 1983 and having working with pts with lobectomies, I am extremely impressed with your motivation to get out and take control of your life, you are truly an inspiration to everyone else who really have no reason to not get off their lazy ass and train.

As far as giving any advise I would say take everything with a grain of salt and run it by your MD before trying anything. Did you have any ribs removed or muscle damage fron the thoracotomy? I have seen other people with the same surgery who seemed fine with one lung, it was the healing of the chest wall that took time.

Once past that, they seem fine in the weight room. I met a fellow that a lobectomy due to a fungus growth a couple yrs before I met him and he was huge- powerlifter. I would have never known by looking at him while he was training that he had any kind of surgery.


I have some experience with this. Since you most likely took some time off, go into this slowly. Remember your body has been compromised and needs time to recover. I had to wait 18 months before I could do anything more than walk on a treadmill.

It will come in time. Your body remember, and your growth and strength will come, just give it a chance. I would start slow, and work with some machines first. They take less toll on the body since there is less stabilization required.

Just do a few movements to start with until you can build some stamina. Listen to your body, this is not the time to overly push too hard. Congrats on your recovery.


after reading this, it certainly changed my train of thought. i certainly do not want to hinder recovery at all and perhaps baby steps is the direction to go rather than trying to push. i love training and everyone on this site is constantly inspiring me with new videos and pics of what they have accomplished. i am young so i have plenty of time.

im currently using 15 lb dumbells and and doing sort of whole body movements that incorporate all the muscles and this is quite tiring. this is going to be a much tougher task than anticipated. but certainly as of late it has been a mental shock to me from being so strong and fit just a short while ago to now i feel like the little runt that gets bullied in highschool.

anyways thanks for your opinions


just wondering why you asked if i had any ribs removed? the answer is yes.

and you are right about recovering from having 1 lung being much quiker than the healing process of everything else. i completely underestimated what i'd be able to do in the gym. and like i said to the other poster im just using 15 lb dumbells right now and it is no walk in the park.

i truly just miss lifting westside style and breaking those pr's. never forget hitting the 365 bench and the 500 deadlift; i had a smile on my face for like a week like i just got laid for the first time.


You sir inspire me. Thank you for being willing to share this and if I may ask for a favor. Buy your favorite bag of candy this Halloween and enjoy a few yourself...Enjoy the holiday season this year and God Bless You !!


Just curious what does it feel like to breath with 1 lung? Is it any different then with 2? Can you notice that you are able to take in less oxygen?


So glad i stumbled upon this thread.

Great to here about this kind of stuff man, sticking with your training through tough times is inspiring and makes it seem so trivial for anyone to miss a session because they are a bit sore or having a bad day.

Everyone here is behind you, and if you have put up that kind of strength in the past, i have no doubt you'll crack it again with your mindset.

Lifting more Iron is all mental, and i cant see it being much of an oppenant compared to cancer!

There is good advice here, and i think building up slow is a good idea. Gradual improvement will be both satisfying and strengthening.

Treat it like a blank canvas.

Good luck man, but i dont think you need it!


well done bro. i did not lose a lung(but it collapsed durin the op) but lost a kidney lymph nodes n muscle from my lats n abs from the op. while doing chemo i kept my selenium up,a multi just for general heath lots of glutamine as well. also i took minerals as the chemo kills all cells.( good and bad cells). as for training i did what i could on a daily basis.

i did not follow a program as day to day you feel good bad or really really bad. you need to remember that you are not only in a fight with cancer but also with the chemo which is very strong and it will try and kill every cell, therefore you need to keep some energy to fight that man.

i know it sux when you feel like everything you have worked for gets taken away, but if you look after yourself now and use most of the energy to get better it will help you in the long run. keep on goin to the gym but dont over do it for now my friend, fight that fucker....get better first then get massive later. best of luck and hope you get better asap.