Returning to a state of “new normal” following mastectomy brings with it many questions about what type of physical activities will serve to strengthen and not undermine the healing process. Following breast surgery, many women experience the frustration of the initial restricted movement and yearn to feel restored. There is also the important emotional component of physical exercise and how it impacts mood; in fact, some psychologists have called exercise a natural mood enhancer. So, breast surgery patients who want to improve their physical and emotional state during recovery should start exercising as soon as they are given clearance from their physician. But knowing how to exercise properly is very important.
That's why it is critical to connect with someone who is specifically trained to work with individuals who have undergone a mastectomy. Michele Nachshen, OTR/L is such a professional; she is a registered Occupational Therapist and a certified instructor for the Pink Ribbon Program, a breast surgery rehabilitation program. As a “thriver” herself, Michele believes that her knowledge and expertise are now best utilized helping those who are about to undergo or are recovering from breast surgery and wanting to return to independence.
Michele presented to an eager group who were able to perform the exercises sitting and/or standing. Her calm and encouraging approach was inspiring to the participants. These are pilate-based exercises that are modified for one’s specific needs or restrictions. Michele offers her program in small group settings to allow for individual attention and on a one-to-one basis. To contact her: 516.544.8898 or email@example.com.
-Mollie Sugarman, Clinical Director, Patient Empowerment Program
Photos: (left) Nachshen demonstrating a range of motion exercise, or possibly surrendering to police (right) Nachshen and a student