I am not really a label kind of person, but this weekend at the Race for the Cure I met and saw a sea of beautiful people that were all survivors. Breast cancer survivors are brave, strong and resilient in a world that often thinks beauty is only skin deep. I am repeatedly amazed and surprised by the definitive choices they make to insure their health. They throw aside the world’s view and learn that their choices are theirs alone and then they stand tall on their decisions.

The definition of a survivor is to be able to carry on despite hardship or trauma, and to stay alive and thrive in the middle of it all. Surviving is not easy, and families and friends become the rock for so many survivors, along with their health care providers direction. That is why it is important for you to choose health care providers that you connect with because healing happens when you are surrounded by a positive support system at home and during your care programs.

For these reasons, Lake City Physical Therapy has devoted the last 17 years of its practice to caring for oncology patients, and especially for breast cancer patients. It is our specialty, and we are proud to provide our patients with the most advanced treatment options for the best possible outcomes. We are well aware of the challenges you face and we know that the best way to prevent future issues is to start early.

An evaluation with a physical therapist is the best way to start. We will quantify your arms’ flexibility, then measure the girth size of both of your arms to determine if there is any swelling. Next, we then test to see how strong you are, and we also look at your skin health and scar mobility. The scar should be pliable and there should be no “tugging and pulling” present on the scar to the chest wall or when you move your arm. This becomes your baseline for your program – whether you are in Chemo or radiation, you need to have an established program to make sure that you do not develop any disabilities.

Physical therapy programs consists of:

a) Exercise – Specific exercises to assist in mobility and healing

b) Massage – Gentle manual lymph massage, scar mobility, myofascial release

c) Compression Therapy – Garments such as camisoles, bras, sleeves, compression shorts, lower leg garments, etc. that prevent edema and Lymphedema

d) Skin care – promotes skin health, wound healing, 2x day Cetaphil or Eucerin

Sheree DiBase, PT, is the owner of Lake City Physical Therapy, PA, and she and her highly trained staff want to thank you for your support at the Race for the Cure. It was a great event. If you would like to learn more about breast cancer physical therapy or oncology care please come this Wednesday night, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. to a free class at our Coeur d’Alene office at 2170 Ironwood Center Drive. Call for reservations at (208) 667-1988, seats are limited.