Livestrong First Class: Exercise after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction
Today was the first class of the Livestrong program. I am a patient advocate for DIEP flap breast reconstruction and decided to document various points during this three-month program to give others in my community an idea of what to expect. I do know each program is set up a bit differently and not all YMCAs across the country have the program. I was told today it is worth calling the Livestrong Program to see if there is another facility in the area other than the YMCA. They might be doing something similar.
Today’s agenda at my YMCA:
- Meet and greet: Introduce yourself by saying something positive that has made you smile and happy in the past six months. My response: “My grandson, because he always makes me smile!”
- Filling out forms: The forms will help the trainers assess our various levels and abilities once we begin personalized training.
- T-shirts: Oh yes! We got some cool Livestrong t-shirts to wear to identify us as a group during our Tuesday/Thursday classes at the YMCA. Who doesn’t like belonging to a team?!
- A tour of the YMCA facility: We did a complete walk through. I was very interested in the TRX equipment. Using your own body weight and resistance to strengthen muscles supporting your skeletal structure is important to those of us on medication such as Anastrozole (AIs), that can increase bone loss. I also spoke to the woman who teaches classes using the Pilates machines. Improving core strength after DIEP flap surgery is always important to maintain posture and decrease back pain while increasing range of motion and flexibility in those arms.
- We wrapped up with a check to see if everyone had their membership cards and we said our goodbyes.
I am fortunate this group of trainers is willing to help me document my Journey through the program. I talked to a couple of women today who were breast cancer survivors. They mentioned it was good to get out and meet others because not all days were good days for them. It is so true when you’re in treatment or recovery. Once those words cross your lips, “I had or have cancer”, it’s important to keep moving in any way you can and surround yourself with people who can support you in these efforts.
I’ll report over the next few weeks to let you know about progress, new friendships, and perhaps even some ideas for exercise you can use at home, whether you are a cancer survivor or not.
It’s important we all LIVESTRONG!!