After mastectomy and reconstruction, cancer survivor gets back on her feet
Thursday, April 19, 2012
So you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, you've gone through chemotherapy and a mastectomy, and now you've had a breast reconstruction. Now what do you do? These are the very questions that health reporter Linda Hurtado asked herself after she was recently treated for cancer.
As part of the news team for ABC's Action News Tampa, Hurtado is uniquely placed to document her journey. She took cameras with her to follow-up appointments and asked health experts what women with breast cancer should expect after reconstruction.
Her plastic surgeon, Dr. Wayne Lee, explained that much of the recovery process involves rest and limited physical activity.
"I generally tell patients that for the first four to six weeks, take it easy," he told Hurtado, quoted by the news source. "You can do walking and range of motion exercises."
While this might be welcome news for some, the news reporter found it less than comforting. Hurtado admitted to being a self-described "hardcore gym junkie," which she said has led her to find alternative ways to pursue health and fitness without overworking herself.
Dr. Charles Cox, a local breast surgeon, told her that attending private gym classes is okay, and that physical therapy and guided exercise are good for recovery, provided women know their limits.
Cox emphasized that certain activities, especially of the upper body, must be off-limits for several months after breast reconstruction with implants. These include push-ups and chest presses, he said.
Every year, more than 96,000 women get breast reconstructions, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The survivors can find recovery difficult at first, but with support, a healthy diet and low-impact exercise (like walking), things can get better fast.
That's Hurtado's advice. Just three months after her reconstruction, she was back on the job - and at the gym.
Hurtado L. Three months after last breast cancer surgery, Linda Hurtado wonders how to remain a survivor. ABC News Tampa. April 9, 2012. http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/health/three-months-after-last-breast-cancer-surgery-linda-hurtado-wonders-how-to-remain-a-survivor Accessed April 13, 2012.
2011 Reconstructive Demographics. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2011. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2011-statistics/2011-reconstructive-procedures-trends-statistics.pdf Accessed April 13, 2012.
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