Diagnosis and treatment can fill even the strongest person with doubt. Here are some first-hand accounts of how Inpower has played such an important part of the lives and health of our participants.
“What an awesome ‘healing’ of body and soul. It’s not the two pant sizes I’ve lost, or the drop in my cholesterol level by 50 points, it’s the life that I’ve found within. Because of Inpower, I now need to find a new definition for ‘impossible!”
“After I had my modified radical mastectomy, my surgeon and I felt that a huge reason for my doing so well was the strength I gained during my time at Inpower. He told me that he wished all his patients would go through the program.”
The purpose of this letter is to express my appreciation to you personally and to those whose ongoing support has enabled the Inpower program to exist for the cancer survivors within our community. I am living proof that someone struggling with both the physical and emotional challenges that exist post-cancer can regain a wonderful quality of life with the help from people like you. It is my pleasure and privilege to sing the praises of a program that, within a few months, succeeded in transforming my life for the better in marvelous and amazing ways.
In August of 2006, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in seven years, my world turned upside down- again. I suddenly had to face a recurrence that I had not anticipated and, with it, a major operation, possible treatment and the certain disruption to the normalcy of life as I knew it. My initial response was to try and be as upbeat as possible about the situation, embracing the mantra of “once a survivor, always a survivor.”
When my subsequent mastectomy and reconstructive surgery (i.e., a TRAM flap) resulted in an arduous recovery period filled with pain, fatigue and intensive physical therapy, my earlier resolve began to crumble. By February, the month in which you invited me to join Inpower, I was hugely, exhausted and visibly despondent. When I learned that the program involved twice weekly, hour-long fitness workouts, followed by half-hour meditation sessions, I truly questioned whether or not I would be able to muster the strength and motivation to participate.
But then a funny thing happened… Everything that you did for me helped me. Each Inpower session made me feel stronger, more positive. Laura, you used your exceptional skills as a personal trainer to create the ideal workout for me, consulting with my doctors along the way to insure that I did not exceed any physical limitations; you presented me with goals that were manageable and did so with care and humor. You provided me with encouragement, counsel and compassion along the way.
These days, I feel fabulous, healthy and energized. I have joined the fitness center and am exercising and strength training on a regular basis for the first time in my life. A year ago, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were in “high risk” categories; today, both levels are normal. I am hopeful and happy- and hugely grateful for each day of my life. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me to discover the “survivor” that was inside of me-
Thank you for the opportunity to share my personal Inpower story with you.
I am a 55 year old woman diagnosed with invasive breast cancer almost two years ago. Since the initial diagnosis I have undergone multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments. I believe I have received and continue to receive the finest care available at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU).
In July of 2007 I was so sick and weak and feeling completely hopeless. I knew I needed to exercise and also knew I could not afford any of the programs available; the cancer also brought about financial ruin for me.
A cancer social worker at OHSU suggested I call Cancer Care Resources regarding their Inpower program, a fitness program for people undergoing cancer treatment. After a short phone conversation, Laura Rosencranz asked me to come for a face to face evaluation. The program was housed at Mittleman Jewish Community Center in Southwest Portland.
During my initial screening I was so sick I could barely do a treadmill on the slowest speed possible and could not stay on the elliptical, set at the lowest incline and resistance, for more than one minute. My balance was severely affected by the cancer and treatments. Laura tailor-made a workout for me and monitored me every class. As my strength improved, the degree of difficulty increased.
A year later, still struggling with cancer,I was able to walk briskly on the treadmill for an hour and stay on the elliptical for an hour, with resistance of 15 and incline of 15. Beyond that, my mental health had improved so much that I did not cry for hours on end anymore and hopelessness and turned into hopeful. Fitness had become a part of my life.
All the doctors, chemo, radiation, pills and treatment in the world could not have made as much of a difference as the Inpower class did. My oncologist is thrilled with the progress and results.
This much I know for sure: I may not beat this cancer, but I can honestly say that, because of the Inpower program, I did not let this cancer beat me.
Thank you for caring about people with cancer!
My first anniversary of “the call” will be in a few weeks. It is the call from the doctor that suddenly turns your world upside down. After many tests, chemotherapy, and a major surgery, the word cancer forever became part of my life.
As an avid bicyclist, competing in local races and logging 6,000-8,000 miles a year, it was incomprehensible for me to be off my bike. But,…. chemo had a way of sapping much of my physical and mental strength in ways I had never experienced before.
I tried getting on my bike and could barely manage what was once my very easy 7-mile warm up ride. As a result of the cancer treatments, I calculated that I had lost close to 90% of my fitness. I was desperate. Luckily, one of my oncology nurses referred me to Cancer Care Resources where there was an individualized exercise program called InPower. I called and scheduled my first appointment.
I will never forget my first meeting with Laura Rosencrantz and Rosemary Mcdermott. Being the a type A personality that I am, Laura knew she had to get through to me somehow. She sat me down, looked me sternly in the eyes, and began explaining that, she realized that I was an athlete, used to pushing myself, working through pain and at very high intensities, but,..that now was not the time for that. She told me to trust her, that she knew what she was doing and how extremely important it was to listen to her and follow the program. Following our appointment, Laura worked closely with my doctor to tailor an individualized program specific to my condition, continually reassessing, changing and tweaking it depending on my treatment schedule and overall wellbeing for that day.
Being an avid racer, I was used to working at very high intensities, close to or at my lactic threshold. So, when Laura told me to keep my exercise exertion at a low to moderate level, I had my doubts. I shook my head thinking to myself, “I barely break a sweat at this intensity,” well, …I began to exercise at the recommended “moderate” level and soon found out….just how difficult it actually was!
That was 4 months ago.
Today, beyond my wildest expectations, I raced. It was a 20 mile time trial that I normally complete in under 55 minutes. I was hoping to break 70 minutes and only dreaming of breaking 60. After crossing the finish line, I looked at the clock and I had broken 58 minutes!
The Inpower program got me though the physical and mental effects of chemotherapy. The holistic team approach provided by Laura and Rosemary helped me achieve my dream of getting back on the bike.
They really do know what they are doing.
I had the privilege of attending the InPower Exercise program this past year. After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer in December of 2007, I underwent a Mastectomy and 4 months of Chemotherapy. During that time, Inpower was a vital part of my recovery!
What sets Inpower apart from other exercise programs or “just joining a gym” are many things. Most important to me, was the expertise of the staff. Under the direction of Laura Rosencrantz, I was given a personal workout program that was specific for my needs. Laura, as a fitness trainer was additionally trained in the effects of chemotherapy and the surgical procedures which would affect my workout. She was supportive and flexible and knew how to adjust my workout when I was having an especially hard day, usually right after a round of chemotherapy. The fatigue and aching that comes with chemotherapy is beyond any I had ever felt. After class, I always felt better, hurt less, had more energy and a better sense of well being. I was able to improve my arm mobility and prevent lymphedema by the medically supported exercises I was shown. It was something I really looked forward to during those long difficult weeks.
Another benefit of InPower was the support I received from other cancer patients in the program. It was encouraging to glean bits of knowledge and hope from others who had “walked in my shoes”. It was a safe place to work out with other “bald women” and men and not feel so self conscious. With the limitations that cancer and chemotherapy brings, I would never have had the courage to walk into a regular gym class being bald and lacking energy. Since leaving the 12 week program, I have been able to take what I have learned and continue to work out on a regular basis which is vital to my long term recovery and good health!
InPower helped me maximize my quality of life and helped me cope with the impact that the diagnosis of cancer brings. It is something I never expected to have to deal with, but I am grateful InPower was there to help me through.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002- underwent double mastectomies and 6 months of chemotherapy followed by months (actually years) of feeling debilitated; fatigued, and generally not feeling like I had, or could, regain my previous state of good health. Then last year I was diagnosed with a different type of cancer, unrelated to breast cancer, a rare type of lymphoma called Mycosis Fungoides. After that diagnosis I fairly much felt like my life would not be able to be active again- I was too tired, the fatigue was overwhelming, and because of these health issues over the past 4 years I had become more debilitated… my legs were weak, my balance was poor and I used a cane for balance and because I feared falling. At age 63 I had suddenly become old…older than my years certainly.
Then I heard about Inpower, an individually designed exercise program for cancer survivors and figured I had nothing to lose. I entered the Inpower and now, 3 months later, my outlook has changed immensely. I’m still 63 but no longer think of myself as old and unable. My balance has improved to the point I no longer use a cane and don’t worry about falling, and my fatigue is much improved. I am much more apt to accept invitations for involvement in activities than I had been since my original cancer diagnosis. Being active is important to me again and my involvement in Inpower has made a significant difference in my life. Their motto: “Act well, Live well, Be well” has significant meaning to me.
Laura offered support and guidance on both an individual and group basis, making dealing with this disease much more bearable. Thank you for giving me hope, a positive outlook and a strong, healthier body and soul.