The American Physical Therapy Association had their annual Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in San Diego this past week. This year was of particular interest because the programming in the Oncology Section really hit home for me. I got to attend a session on pediatric brain tumors. It made realize how lucky I am with the location of my tumor. Things really could have been a lot worse. I feel very blessed to be as high functioning as I am. We reviewed the function of the both the brain stem and cerebellum
Those are two very important structures in the brain. There could have been many other complication from the surgery that could have left me on a ventilator or even unable to stand. I also learned about posterior fossa syndrome. VERY Intimidating stuff. This is rare in adults, but I have a tendency to ignore the statistics both negatively and positively. I was “blessed” a tumor that is most commen in women in their 60s and 70s… I’ve stopped wondering “why” a long time ago. I’ve always been different, but I’ve learned to embrace it. I have learned its actually kind of fun being different if you find people who want to be different with you! I learned this early on in high school because my friends didn’t care if we were part of the “cool” crowd. We just made each other crack up! In college, I finally embraced my Filipino American and Asian American heritage and learned to be proud of what I am. Physical Therapy school prepared me for all the physical impairments I was left with after surgery.
I always enjoy going to CSM because it reminds me that I’m still a physical therapist at heart. I always come back from CSM with a renewed sense of purpose. I still believe that physical therapists can be prime players in post tumor/cancer treatment. No other health discipline has taken ownership of post treatment survivorship health/wellness issues. I can see post-treatment physical activity rehab programs being created at cancer centers similar to cardiac rehab the hospitals. Post tumor/cancer treatment “Thrivership” is not only nessassary, but can redefine a lifestyle for a patient and their loved ones.
“Thrivership” refers to a healthy lifestyle post treatment:
- being physically active,
- eating/drinking healthier,
- a positive mental attitude,
- exercising your brain, and
- becoming a leader in the war on ALL FORMS OF TUMORS/CANCER,
Many people fight for their lives to become a tumor/cancer “survivor”. I believe that the potential is great for ALL tumor/cancer survivors to become tumor/cancer “thrivers”. Ultimately, it will the “Thrivers” who will become the leaders in the war on tumors/cancer.