Susan's fight against cancer and the rehab team she trusted for support
Susan Sieger of Waukesha was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in February 2012. Her course of treatment included a mastectomy with partial removal of her lymph nodes. Not long after her surgery she became aware of a hard knot located straight down from her sternum.
“There was a cord that led to a knot below my ribs. The cord was hard, like a pencil. I went to my oncologist concerned there was another tumor. It turned out to be lymphatic cording.”
Lymphatic cording is a rope-like structure that is thought to be caused by hardened lymph vessels. It can be painful and restrict mobility. At the recommendation of her doctor, ProHealth medical oncologist Dr. Christopher Hake, Susan turned to ProHealth’s cancer rehabilitation team for help treating it.
“I had seen my therapist Colleen before, after my initial surgery, to help with tissue manipulation. When I came back to her, she not only helped with the cord running from my sternum, but she helped with six more cords running from my chest to my arm. Some of them were stubborn to get rid of, but Colleen is great at working them.”
According to Susan, “working them” required a lot of massage and stretching exercises. The importance of exercise was further emphasized to Sue by Dr. Hake.
“I had been a physically active person. I was in good physical shape. People would look at me and say ‘You’re a really healthy person with cancer.’ But my breast cancer had metastasized to my bones. The one thing my oncologist said repeatedly is ‘You need to exercise. You need to keep your bones strong. As you’re healing, they’re going to be weak and may break.’ That was about the time I found the Beat Cancer Boot Camp.”
Beat Cancer Boot Camp focuses on conditioning the mind and body to help anyone who is battling cancer build strength and stamina to overcome challenges that may lie ahead in life. The program is offered at ProHealth West Wood Health & Fitness Center. Led by two of ProHealth’s physical therapists, the program is a great extension of prescribed physical therapy.
“When I first went to boot camp, I was very limited in what I could do. But I was going because I thought it was important to be there for the support of the group. Now it’s become a support group as much as an exercise group.”
With its connections to Beat Cancer Boot Camp, ProHealth’s Cancer Rehabilitation Services has proven to be a worthy ally in the fight against the effects of cancer. The support offered by the staff and others in therapy certainly doesn’t allow anyone to feel as though they are going through the experience alone.
“I’m one of these people who thinks I can do it all on my own. When rehab was suggested, I wasn’t sure I needed it. But I was more than willing to go because I was willing to do anything that might help me. But honestly, it was more than just physical therapy. There was a real connection, a real caring and it became a source of emotional and spiritual support as well.
“I encourage anyone who has any form of cancer to come to ProHealth for rehab. I think you'll feel better. It isn’t just good for you physically; it’s good for you mentally as well.”
State-certified massage therapists offer both therapeutic and relaxation massage to address specific health and wellness needs. Benefits that massage therapy can offer cancer patients include:
Stimulation of blood circulation and lymph flow
Lowered blood pressure
Improved flexibility and range of motion
Deeper and easier breathing
Strengthening of the immune system
If you have a medical condition and are unsure whether massage therapy is appropriate for you, discuss your concerns with your health care provider. Our massage therapists will consult with you to develop a therapeutic massage plan based on your medical condition, needs and goals. You may need to schedule several appointments to achieve your desired outcome.
Contact your health insurance provider for coverage details by your insurance plan. Learn more about pricing and locations. To schedule an appointment, call 262-569-6306.