I had the opportunity to speak this last weekend to an amazing group of women (and a few Kevin’s) at Casting for Recovery North Idaho and Eastern Washington chapter during Cabela’s Spring Days. What an incredible experience I had, being able to interact with so many women about something so important to me, breast cancer.

I have been a physical therapist for over 32 years, and about 20 years ago, a physician who was very dear to me sent me a woman with lymphedema and asked for my help in caring for her. At that time, little was being done in the United States (especially in rural communities) with lymphedema, an often-difficult side effect of breast cancer. Because of that woman and my desire to have all woman with breast cancer cared for, I started my specialty in breast cancer care here in Coeur d’Alene. I had no idea that this woman would expand the scope of my practice and then introduce me to such a tenacious group of people. In my practices we now treat not only breast cancer patients, but any oncology patients such as prostate, uterine, abdominal, skin, and more.

Our goal is always the same in physical therapy: to restore our patients back to the life they desire with their new set of circumstances. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation takes its toll on people. They are fatigued, run down, not sleeping and often get depression and anxiety as a result of the physical loss. This is where physical therapy steps in. We create a baseline for them and we walk through their physical loss with them and ask them their goals for the future. This allows them to think through their life, process the loss and move forward with their physical challenges. Knowing they are not alone and isolated helps them keep moving forward, and they often forge friendships with all my staff during this difficult time in their life. I think that is why I was so excited to hear about Casting for Recovery. I felt like it was right up my alley.

Casting for Recovery is a national organization that has an incredible program for women who have had breast cancer. Their mission “is to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.” Each woman applies online at, and 14 of them are picked each year to go on a two-and-a-half day retreat. The retreats can be held in different places, but last year it was held at the majestic 5,000-acre Flying B Ranch in Kamiah, Idaho. I am excited to introduce you to this organization and I hope you will take a moment to go online and learn about them. Every year, they are making a big difference in the lives of 14 ladies in our community who are possibly your neighbors or someone you work with. I am thankful for their commitment to our breast cancer ladies, and I saw the difference this program has made here over the last five years. I hope we can partner with them to support our ladies in their healing process, because it’s alway better when we are together.