Muscles in Reverse

Posted by: 
Rima Manomaitis

I never used to be a person who worked out or liked working out before my transplant, which can mean many things, it can mean the 26 years before I actually got my transplant or the 1-2 years right before transplant or my time waiting on the list for new lungs.

The 8 months while waiting for the call, I was in pulmonary rehab because I was so sick. Transplant centers often put patients in these classes to get their body prepared for surgery and recovery. During this time, I would go to the gym with my sister, who was also my caregiver. We figured that extra days exercising would only do me good because rehab was only twice a week. 

I would go with my oxygen concentrator and my mask (because my immune system was so weak). I stuck to weight training for the days we went to the gym, work on the muscles that would be used for getting myself out of bed right after surgery. In doing this along with rehab I gave myself the best chance at a successful recovery. I only ended up being in the hospital for 16 days after surgery. 


One of the medications that I was placed on before transplant and that I was going to be on forever post transplant is Prednisone. For those who don’t know much about the side effects/long term effects of it, it can start to slowly deteriorate/weaken muscles over time. It makes it twice as hard to gain and maintain muscle. I now try to workout at least 5 times a week which can be hard to motivate myself half the time because I do my workouts at home by myself.

I notice that when I skip a week or didn’t work on certain muscle groups for a bit I would get sore like I hadn’t worked out in months. My muscles basically went backwards in the matter of a week or two which can be very discouraging. Another factor in slow muscle growth is that I don’t eat enough to make up for all the calories burned. My appetite is crumby and so I don’t get enough calories and protein especially for workouts. 


Both prednisone and an insufficient diet makes muscle gains and progress very frustrating, especially on the days I don’t have enough energy or motivation to get up and get the workout done. My brain won’t let me relax and rest on those days. It’s always nagging me and saying how if I skip this workout that I’m going to lose the little progress I’ve managed to make. I do allow myself to have a few days for rest days usually Friday and Saturday. 


One way that I’ve tried to help keep myself accountable was to make a fitness Instagram page. It worked for a while until my mental health got the better of me and I stopped posting temporarily. It was a place to share my workouts with others but also share the workouts of other individuals with CF for the CF community. This is something that I will be getting back into! I know I’m not the only one who needs inspiration and motivation to get a physical activity in for the day. I do enjoy hiking and used to go once a week but my hiking friend has been quite busy and so we haven’t gone often lately. 


Being active is important to me. Not only does it keep my transplanted lungs healthy and open, it helps my mental health too, as well as maintaining my inevitable weakening muscles. 
















Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER- 


Rima currently lives in Aurora Colorado and has become an avid hiker and snowboarder post-transplant. She received her double lung transplant in May of 2017. Now with the ability to breathe without struggling, Rima is able to do all the things she couldn’t before. Camping in the middle of nowhere without needing breathing treatments or the vest is one of her favorite activities. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental science from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge NH. Rima is an enthusiastic advocate for Cystic Fibrosis. She has been involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for years, she’s even on the advisory board for the Rocky Mountain Chapter in Denver. In her spare time, she spreads awareness online through social media accounts to educate others on cf and post-transplant life. Rima is also a pizza enthusiast and enjoys making pizza from scratch and trying random crazy toppings sometimes.




***Views expressed in the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation*** 

***Please speak with your physician before making any changes to your CF management***                                                                       

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