If you are a part of AMC or have followed us to any extent, Ayla is a name you most likely know. She has been a therapist with us for YEARS – like a real OG. But something you might not know about Ayla is that she over the past few years she has been going through a journey of battling cancer. Through this leg of her recovery she wanted to give us an inside look into how bodywork helps with some of that process. Here is a bit of background into her diagnosis and where she is going from here:
1. Explain your diagnosis and what your recovery has looked like to this point:
2. Explain what you will be doing with AMC to aid in your recovery:
While I was undergoing all of the procedures and life changes last year I wasn’t able to get bodywork at all. I couldn’t lay on my belly due to what was going on in my chest or move my left shoulder. I have a LOT of scar tissue from the initial surgery and even more from the reconstructive plastic surgeries. My left shoulder mobility is painful and very limited & my upper back and rib movement is very limited from 10 months of tissue expanders. My right shoulder is now experiencing pain and movement problems likely from having to do all the work the left one couldn’t. I’m hoping to also address the stress that has built up from over a year of not being able to receive regular bodywork. I’ll be working with both Leah (who’s mother is a breast cancer survivor) to address a number of chronic and acute pain issues and movement problems resulting from scar tissue and fascial restriction.
The first leg was last year & it was rough. Life changing. I’m in the final phase now and I feel amazing! Due to having no restrictions in insurance coverage I’ve been able to undergo each procedure the medical community needed me to do. It’s been the biggest blessing both physically and psychologically.
Fortunately I’m only on ONE medication and it’s an estrogen blocker. I’ve also changed my diet to exclude all foods that convert to estrogen and increase foods that don’t. The downside to the medication I’m taking is that it tends to demineralize bones so they’ve put me on Vitamin D and Calcium and monitor my bone density regularly, which, considering I’m 51, is good to do anyway.
4. How has bodywork been incorporated into your recovery? How was it perceived from a medical standpoint?
This will be my first time back into bodywork but on my own I’ve been stretching the best I can but there are areas and depths I can’t reach on my own.
5. What do you hope to gain from the bodywork you are getting at AMC?
Michelle and I decided to make this into an educational experience for both the general public and the medical community. I’ll be sharing my very private experience through this in order to reach out to women who also need this type of work but don’t know where to go or may not know of its existence.
6. Are there things you know now about cancer that you didn’t before? What are they?
Only that you don’t get to pick the type of cancer you get, you just get one and are expected to deal with it. It’s a very stark and cold reality. 1:8 women develop the type of tumor I had. Do you know 8 women?
In Texas, the Cancer Care Collaborative, run by all BC survivors, has a wealth of resources for patients and families. If someone you know does develop any type of cancer, I HIGHLY recommend the Seton network of providers over any others in the area. I’ve had a stellar experience with them.