Special #2463

Breast Cancer and Pilates

5 min - Special


Exercise is a vital part of recovery from any surgery, and Janet shares how it helped her regain her sense of self after her diagnosis of breast cancer. She tells us about her treatment and recovery, and what she has learned about her body and movement after going through this process.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jan 26, 2016
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Hi, I'm Kathy Corey and I had been working with a program for [inaudible] for breast cancer recovery for several years now. I'm joined today by my friend Janet, who's been a part of the program today. And, uh, thank you first of all, for being a part of the program and thank you for your inspiration. Um, knowing that you have had an experience with breast cancer and a single mastectomy, would you be able to tell us a little bit about that? Sure. Um, about a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with, um, what's called DCI s and after lots of extra studies and biopsies and discussions and research and all those things that you have to do, um, it turned out that having a mastectomy was the best choice for me. And so I went through that. And, um, I also had reconstruction using my own flesh and, um, that was a long surgery using my abdominals. Yes.

Not the muscles, but all the puffy stuff around them. And, um, so I had a long recovery as well, so long surgery and a long recovery, but I'm doing great. And that was about a year ago. Um, what kind of exercise in therapies have you been doing since then? Well, I started off, um, just taking it easy and recovering at home for about, I think it was about six to eight weeks. And then I started in with a special program at the athletic club where I live and, uh, it's through our cancer center and, um, paid for through those donations that people make for the Avon breast cancer walks and things like that. And, um, it was a great class and it was designed for people with cancer of all types, but a specialized instructor who took you through all the machines and stretching and strengthening exercises that were appropriate for you where you were. Right then it was about a 10 week program and then I did some physical therapy, um, through the cancer center as well and, um, cottage hospital.

And that was great. Really great woman helped me with that. And then I've just been doing exercises on my own. That's great. Yeah, because as we know, exercise is a vital part of a full recovery for breast cancer patients. And, um, in the research that, that I have done it, it seems that, um, it's actually absolutely necessary, not just for range of motion and flexibility, um, but to help prevent, uh, lymph lymphedema and, um, improve circulation. Um, just for so many of the other reasons, not to even mention the quality of life. Um, has that been your experiences? It has. And I was thinking about this, um, the other day and just said there's so many things that happen once you get this diagnosis that then you feel like they're just spinning out of control.

And what's so important about exercise is that it's the part that you can control. And so between your diet and your exercise, it, it's your self esteem, it's everything. And it's really how you regain your sense of self. And okay, that person who was here before has changed. And now I have to learn how to deal with a new body. And you have to get your sense of that and sense of yourself. And I think you do it through exercise.

I agree with you. And I think that you're, especially working with the Polonius exercise because we do deal with mind, body, and spirit, and it really is an exercise program that adds that, that focus and that body awareness. And I'm so glad you mentioned that because if we take an opportunity to take the time to really get to know our bodies, maybe in ways that we might have taken for granted before, I think that there really is that opportunity to develop a new body awareness. And I know it must be a very long road and, uh, again, I, it, you're such an inspiration. I'm so happy to have you here and to be a part of this. Well, I can't tell you that I'm happy I went through what I went through, but I'm happy to be here too. Yes. Thank you. Anything else you'd like to add?

Um, I guess I would also like to say that the, the small movements that you work on in Pilati is that are so important. Um, you don't, you know, when you're healthy and everything feels great, you're not aware of those things. But when you're coming back from any kind of a surgery, all of a sudden it's all the small things that you really are aware of. And so it's so important that you take that time to look at how you're, you know, sitting and holding your head and moving through space, doing just your regular daily activities. So you're spot on. That's great. Thank you. Mr Palati said, said he wrote in his book, um, returned to life, which was in 1945, um, that Pele's is for the greater enjoyment of life.

And that's what I tried to apply all my classes to. But in particular, this one that we really have a road to recovery, that we, um, can look at our body awareness, our body alignment, and take the time and the opportunity to really get to know ourselves, body, mind, and spirit.

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Charlene A
Great video. Thank you for sharing. We take a lot for granted, so great to hear from someone who is recovering from bc as it gives a better understanding of the people we may be working with.

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