Heather’s journey – surviving breast cancer, a Clinical case study

“SEEING SOMEONE MAKE PROGRESS LIKE HEATHER DID - PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY - AND KNOWING YOU’VE BEEN A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THAT JOURNEY, THAT’S A PRIVILEGE. IT'S WHY WE GET UP IN THE MORNING AND WHAT MAKES BEING PART OF TENCLINICAL SO REWARDING.” ADAM HEWITT, HEAD OF CLINICAL

Heather was a successful Marketing & PR professional enjoying a fast-paced London lifestyle when she was diagnosed with Grade 3 Breast Cancer (an invasive carcinoma).

She underwent a mastectomy and started Chemotherapy a month after confirmation of her diagnosis, followed by Radiotherapy two months later.

Before the diagnosis she was fit, healthy and confident, exercising regularly and thriving on the challenges of a demanding career. But this was no longer the case when she was referred to Ten a little over a year later.

Halfway through her Chemotherapy course, she was already struggling with the physical side-effects of her treatment and was experiencing anxiety for the first time in her life. And (in her own words) she had ‘fallen off the exercise wagon.’

As a result of the chemo, she had gained weight, especially around the abdomen. She was fatigued and shaky, had lost significant core strength, and was experiencing back pain along with problems with her balance. She had also lost mobility overall, with reduced range of motion in a shoulder along with foot problems.

Ten’s Circle of Care in action

Heather’s progress at Ten incorporated almost every aspect of our unique Circle of Care. She was able to access the different services she needed within the same location, supported by an integrated and collaborative team making her journey between services seamless. We were also able manage external referrals when required, through our network of top London consultants.

With a single location for all her sessions, and much of her programme managed for her, she was able to experience a fuller and more effective process than would have been possible otherwise and was able to focus her energies on recovery without the stress of having to manage and brief different exercise and therapy professionals.

We believe that these factors had a significant effect on the speed and quality of her recovery, both physically and mentally.

Heather’s journey at Ten began with Clinical Exercise sessions, working on her mobility and strength post-surgery, fatigue management and also ensuring sessions were supportive and structured in order to help boost her confidence and morale.

After just 2 months she had already made enough progress to be referred internally to Ten’s Physiotherapy team to work on her shoulder and foot issues. We were also able to refer her to external surgical specialists to check that there were no long-term neurological pathway issues that might require a change to her programme or affect her ability to recover.

As Heather continued to progress, further internal referrals followed; firstly, to Massage Therapy to help improve her mobility and release her tight hamstrings, gluteals and pectorals, and then to Reformer Pilates classes for corrective and then functional exercise sessions.

By the time Heather left us to return home to the US she had become strong, co-ordinated and mobile enough to become a regular at Ten’s intermediate-level Dynamic Reformer Pilates classes – a full-body workout that’s demanding enough to challenge the majority of Ten’s fitness clients.

Better still, she left with the mental and physical confidence to continue her Pilates practice away from the reassurance and familiarity of Ten’s Studios.

Heather has promised us that she’ll to drop in for a class or two next time she’s in London, and have promised her that she will get a suitably challenging workout when she does!