As the Registered Nurse in the family, I was the one that took care of my family and friends by phone or in person. I was studying and preparing for the Certified Diabetes Educator Certification Exam. My stress releaser from studying for my exam was Spin and Step classes. My favorite pastime was relaxation baths. When I heard the words ‘you have breast cancer’ on Jan. 21, 2015, it changed my world completely. I became the first generation of breast cancer in my family. My support included my husband and a lot of extended family and very good friends.
It was recommended that I have a lumpectomy. However, having some history with breast issues, I opted to have a bilateral mastectomy. I noticed weakness in my core very early on and the inability to do the walk-the-wall exercise. My surgeon sent me to physical therapy, but I became very frustrated with another clinic’s lack of experience in caring for a patient with breast cancer.
After the implant exchange surgery, I noticed that it was difficult opening jars and containers, taking off clothes over my head, reaching overhead… and the worst part was having a difficult time getting out of my bath tub. My arms were weak and so was my core. I asked my friend who is a Physical Therapist if this was going to be my “new norm?” She urged me to ask my doctor for a referral for physical therapy. A friend had used TurningPoint and recommended I give it a try. TurningPoint was out of network with my insurance but the financial assistance program, made possible through grants and donations, made it possible for me to receive the care I needed. TurningPoint was a world of difference! I learned new information on lymphedema that went beyond just looking for it in the extremities. I spent my first 3 weeks of therapy addressing my lymphedema and then working on my core and arm strengthening. After each session I felt like I had been to a health spa and I did not want to leave because my team was the bomb. I am now back in the gym with spin classes and have picked up kickboxing and added yoga. My new favorite class!
Another positive experience from my breast cancer journey: My life dream was to be a fashion model and I had the opportunity to walk on the runway in a Breast Cancer Survivor fashion show with a local department store in October 2016.
Thank you TurningPoint for helping me get moving and get my journey back on track!