Approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, according to www.BreastCancer.org . In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
Sonja has been a Pilates client of mine at our studio, Suncoast Pilates, since 2006She was previously a RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonography) and RT(R), which is a Radiologic Technologist Radiographer. Her husband is a Radiologist. He is the very one who reads the mammograms that assist in diagnosing breast cancer, and she now works in their business. Sonja has been a dedicated Pilates client who has been working at an advanced level for years, taking two to three Pilates privates then group equipment and Mat classes weekly.
Sonja decided to take the entire Balanced Body Pilates instructor training course offered at our studio, as she was becoming an “empty nester” with her children going off to college and work. She finished her final training module, but has not yet tested out. She can perform all exercises on all of the equipment. As a Balanced Body Faculty teacher, I would often call on Sonja to come in and be available during instructor training weekends to allow trainees to practice endlessly on her. As Sonja herself had taken all of the instructor training modules, she knows all safety issues and concerns and was a trainee “favorite” with which to work and practice to hone their Pilates skills.
With no symptoms or family history of breast cancer, Sonja went in for a routine mammogram in February 2015. To her shock, she was called back. In March 2015 after a biopsy, she was formally diagnosed with breast cancer in the left breast. Health care providers are able to treat cancer in a number of different ways.
Each individual’s treatment may depend on the stage of breast cancer they have, and the plan their doctor recommends. Fortunately, Sonja’s cancer was detected in the early stages. After research and consultations, Sonja made the decision to have a double mastectomy, which was performed March 30. The hopes were that if a double mastectomy was performed, all the cancer could be contained and radiation and chemotherapy would be avoidable.
The day prior to the surgery, Sonja came into the studio and worked out for two hours, with us filming her during her session to look at what she could do prior to surgery. She vowed to be our studio’s “Eve Gentry”. Her goal is to be able to regain full range of motion, strength and endurance, as well as attend the 75th Pilates on Tour in Sacramento in July 2015. The day of surgery, her doctors were complimentary of her physical fitness and her muscular development. The day after surgery she was doing laps around the nursing station. I stayed in contact with her via text in the few days post surgery, then visited her at home a couple of weeks after her procedure.
At five weeks post surgery, she was released to me at the studio by her physicians to do half hour lower body workouts. The next two series in this blog will follow Sonja’s progress post-surgery.