Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group Helps Improve Wellness
by David Modica
Like many cancer survivors, Katy knows that survivorship doesn’t end with treatment. What follows often carries its own set of difficulties. To combat these challenges head on, Katy joined the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group, an important component of Swedish Covenant Hospital model of Integrated Cancer Care.
After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy to treat infiltrating ductal carcinoma—the most common form of breast cancer—the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group provided Katy with the support and open forum she needed to explore what health and wellness meant to her. Located at Galter LifeCenter, Chicago’s only certified medical fitness center on Swedish Covenant Hospital’s campus, the program is an eight-week closed group for breast cancer survivors providing group exercise, nutrition counseling and overall survivorship support at no-cost to patients.
Due to the group atmosphere facilitated by the program, Katy quickly found herself able to open up about that issues that had prevented her from achieving a higher level of fitness, providing her with a base of understanding on what she what she would like to focus on during the course. She shared with the group that she had always struggled with her weight and healthy eating habits due to her hectic work schedule and various health setbacks.
As is often the case, Katy quickly discovered the accountability of scheduled groups and training sessions were of great assistance in helping her stick to her wellness plan. The support she received in the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group helped define health and wellness for Katy and showed her what she could do to meet her wellness goals.
Katy’s stress test results revealed her cardiovascular fitness was not in the healthy range. She would have to work to improve this condition to achieve the recovery results she desperately wanted to see.
Each weekly group session included a group workout facilitated by a personal trainer and tailored to the abilities of participants, focused on strength conditioning, cardiovascular exercise, core conditioning and balance. Swedish Covenant Hospital’s integrated cancer care navigator and dietitian also provide survivorship support services and nutritional education. Through these offerings, Katy made great progress in her cardiovascular health and jumpstarted a passion for wellness and motivated her to go further with her fitness.
In addition to regularly attending the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group, Katy took her wellness to the next level by choosing to invest in personal training sessions. Through the help of her trainer, Katy noticeably progressed in cardiovascular ability and increased strength.
Utilizing what she has learned through these private sessions, Katy connected with a participant from a different group session who also joined the gym. Through collaborative accountability and assistance, these two cancer survivors continue to push each other to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
Integrated Cancer Care at Swedish Covenant Hospital is a free, comprehensive program for cancer patients and survivors that combines wellness programming, counseling and group therapy to support you on your health care journey.
Organizations or individuals interested in participating in the Breast Cancer Fitness Support Group can contact Integrated Cancer Care Navigator Kayla Wilbur, LCSW, at 773-878-8200, ext. 6501 or kwilbur@SwedishCovenant.org.