Doreen Puglisi, founder of The Pink Ribbon Program, can speak to the results of the rehabilitating workout: she first implemented it on herself. As an Exercise Physiologist recovering from breast cancer, she realized that there was no specific rehab protocol to transition post-operative survivors back into the activities that they loved the most. From her curiosity, the Pilates-based program was born.
“The program was just a great match between what the patients needed and the way that Pilates works- it is about integrating muscular movement and range of motion. It’s not about lifting weight, but about control and breath. It’s about getting the patient base back to a quality of life.”
According to Doreen, new research sites that early intervention in physical therapy is better than waiting towards recovery, which has prompted her desire to educate healthcare providers about PT for breast cancer survivors. Read her article on this topic. In addition to incorporating activity, she also seeks to educate survivors to challenge recovery, while monitoring potential related issues.
“The true goal of the movement, designed for the patient based, to get them to graduate so that they can get through the rehab process, feel better, move better, have less limitations, know what the modifications are.”
Doreen’s words about recovering from a masectomy:
“I’ve been down this road. You don’t want to feel forever that you can’t do these things (activities she loved). After my surgery, I was afraid to move, I thought it might hurt and may do more damage. We educate the patients about this- movement is really great. It helps you heal. The goal is to move forward from being a pink ribbon patient. That to me was so rewarding, it is exactly what happens. I know what that feels like to go through that and get an arm to function again. You go through moments where you think it wont happen again and it happens.”
Pilates instructors with an interest in incorporating Pink Ribbon Programs into their studios are encouraged to reach out for information on implementation, education and training. Last year she trained 100 healthcare educators and Pilates instructors though a 2-day educational program covering topics ranging from biomechanics to pain management.
A great quote from Doreen: “You take what life gives you and move forward. I believe I got this cancer to help others. It helped me to gain insight and I know that I can help people who have gone through a similar experience to mine”. Find a course in your area and get started!