Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Breast Cancer - Is Physical Therapy Saving My Life?

    Ever since diagnosis, I've been reminded of Dr. Salwitz's Rest In Peace article, and how I was not exercising enough to protect against cancer.

After ringing the radiation bell, I had time to consider the rest of my body.  Months before diagnosis, I had requested physical therapy, but was told a PT would require x-ray, and I didn't need more of that.  My foot problems cut down on my walking, and gentle in-bed exercises from acute rehab didn't make me strong. My right thigh nerves still hurt despite spine surgery.  My balance was scary at times, and I was not strong. 

Then, maybe a few weeks into Tamoxifen, my feet seemed to spread and change in shape. Lucky accident, I got shifted to a PA one day. The PA sent me to a podiatrist.  I told him all my foot and balance worries.  He told me that my legs could make my feet burn.  He mentioned a custom orthotics man, and also told me to ask the PA about an arthritis doctor.

The PA sent me to a rheumatologist.  He didn't feel I should be seeing a specialist, but when I left, I found he had arranged for a physical therapist to call me for appointment!  And his staff gave me cards from a different podiatrist.  My discouragement lifted a little. I had something to look forward to!

Now I've had three sessions with the PT, who lavishes attention on me, works on clenched muscles, and supervises exercises.  Funny, some of those "baby" exercises from the rehab hospital are still valid; I just needed more reps and my many new exercises It's wonderful to have someone take care of me for a whole hour.

This morning, I feel better than I have for months (for instance I don't feel a hundred years old.)

The hospital, without asking me, has already cheerfully scheduled another mammo.  I really didn't want a breast issue or breast fears to interrupt my PT joy.  My affected breast still hurts with any pressure on the right (incision and mostly radiation) side.  My oncologist may have to hear my complaints about that.

Is it too soon to want to believe that PT is protecting my breast health?

No comments: