Before my mastectomies I knew I was going to get full mobility back in my arms. I wasn’t just trying to achieve this, I was determined to reach my goal. One of the best things I did was get in to physical therapy after the surgery. Anyone who’s had a “no skin sparing” mastectomy knows you have very little mobility after the surgery. Even after my reconstruction I was limited, but not like what the mastectomies did to me. I like to say they got confused and gave me a “boob tuck” rather than a “tummy tuck.” It took the reconstruction for them to get it right…..lol! No really, it was needed. A t-shirt at the “race for the cure” event I went to recently had this on it: “These are fake, mine were killing me.” And so it goes. Mine were killing me so I got new ones.
But the second best thing I did was join the yoga class at the cancer center. During treatment a wonderful young woman from my daughters school came and brought me a meal. She shared with me her own journey through colon cancer. She said that I really needed to check out this class. It took me a few months, but I finally did it. It was the best advice I was given during my treatment. Yoga stretching has given me complete mobility back into my arms. I would say I am 98% back to normal. And I’m telling you this only 2 months after reconstruction. My plastic surgeon reminds me that none of his other patients are this active two months after the DIEP reconstruction and he shakes his head when I tell him how much I’m running.
I’m going to start a new line of posts dedicated to the yoga moves that have helped me the most. I’ll put a link so that you can see how it’s done. My friend told me her mom, who had breast cancer 20 years ago, can only lift her arms to her shoulders. She can’t lift them above her head. Don’t settle for this. I know they give you the “climbing the wall” exercise that helps, but if you only ever do this, it will take you longer to get mobility. So when you feel recovered from your surgery, find a yoga class, or check out some of these moves!
Yoga Stretch: Child’s Pose (this is my favorite, I do this almost daily!)