For Tess Carruth, joining the new CancerFit class at the Apex Center, 13150 W. 72nd Ave., helped her on an important journey: “from being an audience member in my life to a participant.” Tess and her classmate Nancy Madsen, along with instructor Lisa Heaton, are partners in recovering fitness and energy following cancer diagnosis and treatment.
During the 12-week session, the two have offered each other support and encouragement as they progress in four areas: balance, strength, agility and flexibility. Toward that end, both Nancy and Tess regained a missing element in their lives: the ability to make a positive, personal change.
“It’s great to have something in life you can control,” Nancy said. Months of medical procedures, appointments and treatments had left them in a depleted state, and just being out of the medical world was uplifting. As Lisa puts it, “It’s good to see more and more of a sparkle in their eyes” following each class session.
It takes time, effort and patience to return to a more active state after a serious illness. Both Nancy and Tess noticed that the body loses ground a lot faster than it gains ground. “I needed help to start the process of getting back,” Nancy said. “Lisa is very conscientious about our limitations, but she doesn’t coddle us. I appreciate that, because I need a shove once in a while.”
Although a few years separate Nancy and Tess, they have some things in common. Both were diagnosed with cancer during times when their lives were changing: Nancy, shortly after she retired from her job as a theater teacher, and Tess, during her pregnancy with her second child. They are both noticing changes for the better as they start to resume former activities. For example, Nancy is now able to walk her dog on the route they used to take, although it’s still a little fatiguing. Tess is enjoying being able to hold her daughter, who just turned one, and spend time with her three-year-old.
Both women also get enjoyment and benefit from the class format. They appreciate the individualized activities, the challenge, the encouragement and the variety. “I’ve developed a love of working out that I never had before,” Tess said. She also noted that the class has had a positive impact on some of her surgery-related pain and swelling.
One more common thread was the way they came to CancerFit. Both received personal referrals from friends and families who were Apex Center participants.
Shortly before the end of this class session, Lisa Heaton reflected on her students’ experience. “I don’t know if they knew their capabilities,” she said.
To get an accurate reading on that, the CancerFit class includes a pre-assessment and post-assessment of the four areas of focus. Setting aside the measurable benefits, Nancy offered a great snapshot of the CancerFit session: “It’s good to be human again.”
Post expires on August 19, 2017
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