A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stretching and Retching

I recently redeemed my friend's gift of two one-on-one sessions with a pilades instructor. It was her treat because of all my surgeries this year. How kind, I thought.

But now, after my first session, I am questioning this friendship...perhaps I've ticked her off in the past and this is her way of getting me back. Or, maybe we were never friends to begin with.

It felt somewhat like the torture rack--you know, the one that yanked Braveheart William Wallace from limb to limb...until he died. I was pulled in every direction except for the one that offered comfort.

Even the "pilades machine" resembles a torture rack. See dictionary: The rack is a torture device that consists of an oblong rectangular frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one, or both, ends, having at one end a fixed bar to which the legs were fastened, and at the other a movable bar to which the hands were tied. The victim's feet are fastened to one roller, and the wrists are chained to the other.

Yep. That was what I was on, all right.

It's amazing I survived. Not only did I survive, I signed up for her next session. Call me stupid. You can also call me a hunched over old woman. Because that's what I am after I've been cut from limb to limb.

With a double mastectomy and reconstruction, your abdominal muscles have been severed and sewn back together. As you heal, you will tend to give into poor posture, hunching over because you're muscles are weak and tight. Stretching is critical in restoring your body to a normal stance.

I thought I was healing just fine. That I was stretching and building strength. At least that was my illusion until I took a pilades class. It exposed my pathetic state. I cannot do a sit-up. Or, much else, it seems.

Jessica, my instructor, rubbed her hands together in glee. Torture is her specialty. She tasked me to do the impossible. Everything appeared so easy when she demonstrated it. Alas, it was not so simple. I realized how desperately tight and weak I am, and how desperately I need this.

It appears that pilades is a perfect therapy after breast cancer surgery. Or, maybe it's another type of therapy I need instead...the one involving my head.

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