I released a longheld sigh as I celebrated my anniversary as a “five-year breast cancer-free” survivor in August of 2012. Sometimes considered a milestone among cancer survivors, this often marks what some refer to as the “homefree” destination, or the point when we feel we’ve made it safely without a recurrence or new cancer.
But, that streak broke in 2013 when I was diagnosed again with cancer in the same breast. Because I’d had a full course of radiation with the first diagnosis, radiation therapy was not an option for treatment. Thankfully, I didn’t require chemotherapy, but the recommended treatment for me was mastectomy, which I underwent in November 2013, by a wonderful breast specialist, Dr. Carolyn Menendez.
During the course of my recovery, I asked Dr. Menendez if she thought I could start some yoga classes or gentle stretching. That’s when she told me about the Core Compassion Project for breast cancer survivors. I was familiar with Core Studio Pilates and Yoga, and I knew the outstanding commitment the staff has to its clients and their wellness. When I heard about this new program that was designed specifically for breast cancer patients and led by trainers who were educated to understand the recovery process, I was so encouraged! And, even moreso, because I already knew of Core Studio’s outstanding reputation.
And then, Jill sent me a letter informing me that, through the Core Compassion Project, I was awarded a scholarship for 10 weeks of private Pilates classes! I began training with Heather Moses, who studied to receive special certification to work with breast cancer survivors and address their specific needs, limitations and potential. Already an accomplished and proven trainer, Heather went beyond expectations during our sessions. She got to know me and assessed my abilities intuitively, providing guidance, encouragement and challenges that always left me feeling stronger.
I cannot express the difference this program made for me in my recovery process. It was exciting and fun, challenging and rejuvenating! I am so thankful to Heather, Jill and the Core Compassion Board of Directors for this gift. And I am proud that Core Compassion Project, such a caring and giving organization, is a part of our local community.