Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak at San Diego State University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. I’ve spoken at different Physical Therapy programs all over the United States over the past few years, but this one felt different. The program at SDSU is only 4 trolley stops away so I have a feeling that I will be visiting there more often. I lectured at a neurology class for 2nd year students. Last semester I helped out there at a neurology evaluation lab. Last month I went up to Loma Linda University to help out with a lab. I really enjoyed helping out at the lab because I felt like I was giving back to the profession that has served as the foundation for the MKF concept of post treatment “thrivership.” I wanted to show the students that we don’t just “have a tumor/cancer”, we are “LIVING with a tumor/cancer.” I think that message can resonate with many groups. You educate the students that tumors/cancer are not always a death sentence, and that they can educate their patients that people can live productive lives after being diagnosed with these diseases.
Earlier this month I was in Las Vegas for the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting. This is is a big conference where PTs/PTAs/students have the opportunity to learn the latest news and clinical techniques in the profession. I always enjoyed meeting other therapists and vendors at these conferences. The past few years, I have been attending the Oncology Section programming. I was formally introduced to the benefits of a post treatment physical rehab program for tumor/cancer patients. After I did my radiation treatments, I tried to keep physically active because I needed to stay active to keep my sanity. I now have “Peer-reviewed” evidence that confirms the benefits of a physically active lifestyle for general health benefits after treatment. In my humble opinion, when done safely, under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, the benefits of physical activity (PA) after treatment are too great to ignore! I have seen many survivors fall into “self-defeating ruts” after treatment. There are so many benefits to physical activity!
I truly believe that post-treatment exercise programs need to be formed to harness the benefits of physical activity. Dr. Steven W. Morris at St. Jude’s Pediatric Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee has presented numerous in-services/seminars addressing the benefits of physical activity for post-treatment cancer patients. I was lucky enough to present his findings at a young adult survivor event in San Francisco a couple years ago! I think young adult survivors turned “post treatment thrivers” are in a prime position to become the leaders in the promotion of a physically active lifestyle after treatment! We are the ones with all the potential and the loudest voices. Throughout history, revolutions are propagated by young people who realized there needed to be some sort of change. This is a prime opportunity for Generation X and Generation Y to create our legacy! The change in society starts on an individual level before it can catch fire. If we truly commit to a healthier lifestyle, we should see changes in the prevalence of these diseases! The trick is getting the under represented populations to follow suit.