Healing From Multiple Surgeries After Tackling Breast Cancer: Jenny’s Story

I have been doing Pilates on and off for over 20 years, along with playing tennis and indoor spinning.

As I got older, my back and knees started to ache and found Pilates to be a perfect alternative to lengthening and straightening my posture and body. I love the idea that Pilates helps to tone my body and helps me increase my flexibility. 

The reason why I sought out Pilates stems from my childhood. I am the youngest of 3 and the only girl. My mom had 4 miscarriages before I was born and wanted a girl, badly! At a young age, she signed me up for dance classes and it soon became clear that I was more of an athlete than a delicate dancer. Pilates was a perfect complement to my dance career and fitness history!

In the past 18 months, I have had 3 biopsies, 2 lumpectomies, a DIEP Flap mastectomy, and a hysterectomy.

In the middle of all of the madness, my mom died unexpectedly and a very close friend of 26 years died of kidney cancer. As a result of all of this, I resigned from my job and focussed on healing. Before being diagnosed, I worked hard and only went spinning about 2 times a week. I was eating and drinking more and didn’t put much focus on health. In between surgeries, Pilates offered a calm, yet challenging way to get back into shape without getting bored. I am now in much better shape and my stamina is higher than previous to cancer.

PT was necessary for 3 months after my mastectomy to assist with feeling and scar tissue. Due to the multiple surgeries, I had lost most of the feeling in my core. It was difficult to engage and focus on an area that has damaged nerves. Thankfully, I no longer do PT and I currently have about 50% feeling from breast to pubic area. I may still gain feeling by continuing pilates and I am determined to keep showing up for classes! 

I love that Club Pilates offers different classes. Mostly I am eager to begin the work that I need to do. I often have to press on my mid-section to make sure that I am breathing and using my muscles properly. After class, I feel happy, a little sore, and proud that I continue to improve. I try not to beat myself up if I have an “off” day.  Reformer Levels 1 and 1.5 are the classes that I typically look forward to taking. My goal after summer is Cardio and Level 2. I am making progress and I can almost do a teaser again!

One thing that surprised me about coming into each class is that I love that Club Pilates is a stress-free environment.

There is no attitude and everyone is very friendly. People are supportive and of all ages. I don’t feel like I have to wear a “dress to impress” workout outfit! By doing Pilates regularly, I have definitely seen and felt a difference in tone and strength. I am much more flexible than prior to surgery. 

The studio is 129 steps away from where I live – I counted!

I have to admit that yes, I have missed classes. I get so eager to sign-up and make sure that I am scheduled that at times, I forget a class here and there. BUT, because the studio is so close, I try to go at least 5 times a week and often more than once a day.

Since I am not working, Pilates has helped me to feel connected to my community and allows me to work hard with a strong group. I feel super blessed every time I walk into the studio and do my best. I look forward to working out each day. A challenge I have come to face would be my posture. It has gotten better due to Pilates and my core is getting stronger each day. I notice that I have more energy and stand taller!

 

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