LIVESTRONG Class Assessment: Ready to Roll

LIVESTRONG Class Assessment: Ready to Roll Last week at our Livestrong class we had personal assessments and now we’re ready to roll.  We broke into groups to assess endurance, balance, flexibility, and strength.  This was a baseline assessment to track our progress through the three-month class. Since we divided into small groups with one trainer for each group, it was great to see the support and comradeship among class members.  We are all at different levels of treatment, recovery, and survivorship. There is breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, and brain cancer survivors. Some are using walkers or a cane for balance while others are former marathon runners who inspire me with their desire to push their physical limits at the YMCA program. Our trainers carefully watch each participant to keep us all safe within our own personal goals and boundaries. Endurance was tested with a timed three-minute walk around cones.  Continue Reading →

Livestrong First Class: Exercise after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

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 Continue Reading →

Benefits of Exercise after Breast Cancer

Benefits of Exercise after Breast Cancer It is #WorkoutWednesday and I’d like to share a comprehensive video from John’s Hopkins Medicine on the benefits of exercise after Breast Cancer. Take ten minutes out of your day to view it and then I encourage you to move at your pace and ability to improve your health.   Cancer diagnosis, treatments, surgery as well as breast reconstruction surgery take a lot out of our bodies. We may have gone into either of these situations being very healthy. I often hear this from other women. This is definitely to your benefit and will help with recovery. However, after treatments and surgery you are then left to pick up the pieces from the assault on your body. Where do you move forward from there? Whether you are walking, running, dancing, doing Pilates, yoga or another form of movement, know that you are providing great Continue Reading →

Fears of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Fears of Breast Cancer Recurrence Fears of breast cancer recurrence are palpable for anyone who has been diagnosed with this disease we have yet to find a cure for.  Each of us handles those fears differently. I had a recurrence.  I’d like to share with you my own experience, how I faced those fears and how I dealt with them. As an educator for many years, I have seen the differences in personalities both in students and parents when it comes to handling what is seemingly the simplest of fears. What is catastrophic to one is barely a blip on the radar to another. Herein lays the explanation of how anyone handles breast cancer whether it is a first diagnosis, a second diagnosis or living with metastatic, treatable but incurable, cancer. I would never look at someone and say, “Pull up your big girl pants and get on with it!” Continue Reading →

#WorkoutWednesday

#WorkoutWednesday Exercises Let’s call today’s blog #WorkoutWednesday. I’m back at my desk today after an amazing trip to one of my favorite places on the earth, Seattle, Washington. I was able to enjoy family and friends as well as schedule meetings and dinners to connect with more amazing women in the breast cancer and breast reconstruction community. I unpacked my week and a half’s worth of luggage as well as my “portable office” after my flight yesterday. I was amazed at how happy I was to set my laptop back up in the office space in my home or as I have fondly named it, “The She Shed”. I missed writing, blogging, researching, sharing and reaching out to the on-line community. But the face to face meetings I had last week were invaluable. There will be blogs written as follow-ups to those experiences. It was important for me to get Continue Reading →

DIEP flap Recovery ~ The First week home

DIEP flap Recovery ~ First week home DIEP flap recovery, first week home from hospital, or in my case back to my rental, was something I called on my best friend and caregiver to help me recount details of that week. We had a few good laughs over some events that I will share with you in this post. My husband was only able to be there for one week during my hospital stay.  Since I flew over 800 miles to have my DIEP flap surgery I had my best friend fly in to take over for him the week I left hospital. We chose to stay in a Vacation Rental by Owner facility that I wrote about the benefits of in another blog. Lots of Sleep My surgery was on a Monday and I left hospital on Saturday. The sunshine and fresh air were divine after being in a Continue Reading →

Exercise After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Going in DIEP! Exercise after breast reconstruction surgery is a tricky game. You must clear it with your plastic surgeon. Your incisions must be completely healed so that you do not compromise the healing process. One question I asked my PS (plastic surgeon) at my pre-op appointment before the final phase of my reconstruction was when I could get back to swimming. We have a pool in our backyard and I felt it would be good rehab as a post-surgical exercise. His answer, “When you are ready and when the wounds are all healed”. New Sensations and Healing I’ve been working up to this moment today. I emailed the nurse at my plastic surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago and told her I was feeling some interesting and strange new sensations in my breasts. I couldn’t really put the feelings into words but I think she completely understood. She Continue Reading →