Stories of Resilience and Hope - Maria's Story
The support you need before, during and after cancer treatment
Each cancer journey is unique, but every patient’s story has some inspiring threads: strength, determination, persistence and a sense of hope in the battle against cancer.
Indeed, our patients inspire us every day.
Maria Loftin was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in July 2020 and immediately thought of the challenges she would encounter. She suspected the problems chemotherapy could pose, and was especially fearful of surgery.
How would surgery affect how she cared for her family?
How would she continue to thrive in her career?
“My initial reaction was one of fear--I did not know what lay ahead for me,” Maria said.
Most women with breast cancer have some form of surgery and radiation as part of their cancer treatment.
Some may need chemotherapy before or after surgery.
“When I was told I would need surgery, likely a double mastectomy, I was devastated. My biggest fear was a loss of independence.”
The worries that come with a breast cancer diagnosis are undeniable. Recovery after breast cancer can be tough on the body and the mind.
Your worries are entirely valid.
But, you’re not alone. You have options.
“Would I be able to finish my dissertation work,” Maria wondered. “Would I ever be able to travel abroad to do research again? How would I be able to function day-to-day? Would my quality of life suffer after treatment? Would I be able to enjoy life with my husband and friends afterward? I had these worries on top of wondering if chemo would be successful and whether or not I would need radiation.”
A breast cancer diagnosis does not mean you have to live with the constant worry of how the disease can impact your life, or how your body might hold you back from your normal life.
Cancer rehabilitation can help
A multi-disciplinary approach that includes cancer rehabilitation can make all the difference when it comes to improving quality of life.
Ideally, patients will come out of their cancer treatment experience with the tools to live an even healthier life than before their diagnosis, and cancer rehabilitation can be a springboard toward that healthier life.
In our latest study, the ReVital research team of Drs. Pergolotti and Wood examined the benefits and acceptability of cancer rehab services for more than 400 individuals with breast cancer with difficulty with their arm, neck and/or hands that impacted their daily activities. They found that cancer rehabilitation services offered by ReVital greatly improved patients’ ability to be independent and patients were overall satisfied with their care.
Outside of the ReVital world, the latest research from the National Institute for Health and Care Research shows that a cancer rehab, physical therapy-led exercise program soon after surgery led to better pain, shoulder function and quality of life.
The support you need
Patients like Maria are fortunate enough to have a support system in their life that advocates for a holistic recovery after breast cancer surgery. Others have to advocate for themselves.
Everyone impacted by cancer deserves to return to what matters most after treatment, and cancer rehabilitation can help get them there.
“A week before my surgery is when the ReVital program entered my life and transformed my cancer experience,” Maria said. “Their expertise, compassion and positivity were immediately evident during our first meeting. I was nervous knowing I'd be having surgery in less than a week but my therapist’s positivity put me at ease.”
When Maria was recommended to the ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation program, she knew there’d be a positive impact on her body and functionality. But she wasn’t aware of the impact the program would have on her mental health at the same time.
Maria’s certified ReVital therapist, Sruti Manvi, P.T., DPT, CLT, was particular about setting clear and concise goals. Sruti encouraged Maria to focus on the tasks she could accomplish in steps to show clear improvement.
“She asked me what I wanted to achieve with the ReVital program and I told her, ‘I was to be able to put my luggage in the overhead bin when I fly.’ Being able to travel by myself for my work is important to me and I was determined to still be able to do that after surgery.”
Living well with ReVital
Many people diagnosed with cancer simply don’t realize rehabilitation care is available to them before, during or after breast cancer treatment. It is our hope that stories like Maria’s will inspire others impacted by cancer to follow in her footsteps and advocate to live well beyond their diagnosis.
“Feeling myself get stronger every week was so important to my psychological health,” Maria said. “I believe ReVital not only helps the body, but the mind as well. I truly believe I would not be at the level of physical ability I am at now if it weren’t for ReVital. I believe so much in the ReVital program because it gave me back my life.”
To request an appointment to work with one of our clinical team members or ask us questions about treatment, fill out our short online form. A member of our team will connect with you.