DeKalb Medical Cancer Survivor Stories – Margaret Tokunaga
I had a screening mammogram at DeKalb Medical in 2004 and was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Based on the ensuing diagnostic tests, I was told I had two tumors and one lymph node involved. I had a lumpectomy and began chemotherapy. I also began radiation therapy with Dr. David Holladay, one of DeKalb Medical’s “Top Docs.” I am pleased to say that the treatment worked and today I am in complete remission.
But the physicians are not all that’s great about DeKalb Medical. As a cancer patient, you spend a lot of time being still during tests, scans, procedures, surgeries, chemo and radiation. As you near the end of treatment, you often develop a strong motivation to get moving. The Cancer Center at DeKalb Medical offers a great opportunity to help you do just that.
The post-cancer exercise program, Return to Wellness, is a co-ed class taught by a licensed physical therapist who is aware of and sensitive to the issues of cancer survivors. We are all facing different side effects from surgery, chemo, radiation and medications. Some of us have complications, such as lymphedema or neuropathy.
The exercise program is a combination of stretching, Yoga, Pilates, and low-impact aerobics. Not all of us can “do it all,” but we can move at our own pace and do what works well for us. Here are some of the things I have gained:
- Increased physical strength, stamina and energy
- Many new friends, fellow survivors whom I treasure
- On-the-spot input from the physical therapist regarding various joint issues, injuries and aches, including practical help on how to proceed
- Lots of resources from the Cancer Center, including free monthly 30-minute sessions with a Healing Hands therapist
- Great new ideas for exercising at home. We are strongly encouraged to exercise two more times each week on our own.
These doctors, the Cancer Center staff and this class have become a real community for me. If you are going through a similar situation, there is no better place to complete your cancer journey than DeKalb Medical.