Victoria Joins Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group
to Improve Strength and Reduce Stress
Victoria overcame breast cancer with the help of the Swedish Covenant Hospital’s cancer care team, but she knew that her journey of survivorship had just begun. To help her combat the challenges to come, she joined the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group.
Victoria was 34 when she was diagnosed with stage III invasive breast cancer
. She received chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy and radiation treatments
Following treatment, she became pregnant and discovered she had a heart condition
—a severe cardiomyopathy. Victoria continually saw a cardiologist
, began taking prescription medication and adopted a healthier lifestyle through exercise and weight loss. Her pregnancy was carried out successfully, and she gave birth
to a beautiful baby boy.
Victoria continued to see Swedish Covenant Medical Group Oncologist Dr. Javed Imam
for post-treatment follow ups. The consistency of this visitation allowed her the opportunity to join Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Integrated Cancer Care Program in 2015, which provided her with access to a number of health and wellness services
she still uses today.
Integrated Cancer Care
at Swedish Covenant Hospital provides a comprehensive program for cancer patients and survivors that combines wellness programming, counseling and group therapy to provide additional support throughout the healing journey. Victoria regularly attends the program’s weekly meditation and art groups for stress management and is a participant in the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group.
Victoria’s battle with breast cancer had an effect on her heart health. Some cancer medications, including many specific to breast cancer, can unfortunately have a negative effect on cardiac function in some cases. This, coupled with her heart condition and the stress of pregnancy, led her to be in poor cardiovascular health prior to joining the Integrated Cancer Care Program.
Through her efforts in the cancer fitness program, her recent cardiology tests showed a 35-40% improvement in the strength of her heart. Victoria reports she has been able to maintain her weight, adapt exercise and healthy nutrition into her daily life routine and rely on members of the group for support in her goal of living a healthy lifestyle.
"Victoria, and her entire fitness group, worked together to change their lifestyles and get healthy," said Peter Marcy, certified personal trainer
at Galter LifeCenter
. "They worked hard when working out as a group, but also met on their own to either take a fitness class together or explore other parts of Galter LifeCenter. The result was that everyone vastly improved their health and adopted a more active lifestyle."
The group achieved strong results and all improved from a cardiovascular standpoint as VO2 Max scores improved by 10 percent as a group. Significant strength gains were made and the group increased their max push up scores by a whopping 39 percent!
"These results translated into better endurance, balance and overall functional ability," said Peter. "Everyday activities are far easier for them to do and some have even been able to alleviate chronic pain that they have been dealing with. They feel better, have better energy, and most importantly have come to appreciate the importance of focusing on themselves and their health."
Javed Imam, M.D.
, is a board-certified oncologist with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. His clinical interests include anemia, blood disorders and diseases, chemotherapy, colon cancer, lung cancer, lymphedema and pain management. He has over 20 years of experience.
Organizations or individuals interested in participating in the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group can contact Integrated Cancer Care Navigator Kayla Wilbur, LCSW, at 773-878-8200, ext. 6501
By Bill Ligas | Published October 9, 2017