Cancer Lesson #56: Do the PT.
It’s amazing what a little stretching can do.
You see, one of the side effects of an axillary dissection is nerve and muscle damage, which can affect the arm’s range of motion.
Because of this, I began reaching for things with my right arm immediately after surgery, stretching it beyond the comfort zone at every opportunity. I was determined to regain as much use of it as I could.
My reach exceeded my grasp during those first few weeks, but eventually movement became easier, and when I finally started PT I had a head start on things.
After I began meeting with my physical therapist, I did the exercises she assigned as often as I could manage (though probably not as often as I should have).
The effort paid off. A few weeks later she said I had recovered complete range of motion.
Since not every survivor reaches that stage — and there’s no way of knowing who will or who won’t — I was thrilled.
Later I had more therapy focusing on core strength.
This involved sit-ups.
Physical therapy made a huge difference , and I can now do just about everything I could before my diagnosis.
Still, the body remembers everything. Sometimes my stomach feels tight for no reason I can discern. Or my arm will ache after heavy exercise.
It’s a small price to pay, I think. I am so lucky to not just be alive but to be able to actually live.