New fitness program gets cancer patient ‘out of that slump’
It started with a cancer diagnosis. Then came chemotherapy and, eventually, a stem cell transplant. Heart problems followed, leading to the need for a pacemaker.
For more than two years, Sally Allen's health concerns led her to live a sedentary lifestyle that changed the way she looked at herself.
But earlier this year, Allen had a conversation with her Reid Health oncology navigator, Dianne Bailey, that became a turning point.
"Dianne would talk to me all the time when I went for chemo, and she could see the physical changes in me," Allen said. "I always told her, 'Oh, gosh, I just hate myself' because of these changes.
"So one day, she approached me and said, 'Would you be interested in this program?' and I was like, 'Yes!'"
That was Reid's new CancerFit exercise program designed for those currently in treatment or who have survived the disease.
Since April, Allen has come to the Reid Orthopedic Center twice a week for 30-minute sessions with Medical Exercise Specialist Jacob Doherty.
"He's been my savior because first of all, he listens to me. If I say there's a body part that hurts, he works around it," Allen said. "And it's never boring because he knows what I need to work on and he changes it so that it's not the same old workout every time I come."
"The goal is to take people who are not necessarily as active as they want to be and just do the best I can to make it as regular a training session as possible," said Doherty, who is a cancer exercise specialist. "The only difference with training cancer patients is they're going to have different ailments or other challenges to consider, so you've just got to factor that into the program.
"My goal is to make it as normal as possible, work around those the best I can, and help them meet whatever goals they have."
"People have remarked, 'You look so much better. Your skin looks better,' so it's done something for me physically and mentally. The best part of the program, I think, is getting me out of that slump that cancer put me in." -- Sally Allen
In Allen's case that included fixing her posture, losing a bit of weight, and getting stronger. Six weeks into the program, she showed improvement across the board, including losing 10 pounds.
"My self-esteem just went up. Ten pounds isn't much when you're this heavy, but it's a start and it does something to you mentally," Allen said.
"People have remarked, 'You look so much better. Your skin looks better,' so it's done something for me physically and mentally. The best part of the program, I think, is getting me out of that slump that cancer put me in."
Those interested in the program can be referred by their physician or they can call (765) 973-8057 to request an appointment.