We’ve taken you through a lot of Rachel’s story – from genetic testing, to results, to diagnosis, and now through to surgery. Later on this month, Rachel will be having a complete gastrectomy. As a physiotherapist who works for a rehabilitation company, Rachel knows that physiotherapy, massage therapy, and naturopathic medicine will have a part to play in her recovery process. In the pt Health clinic network, clinicians work together collaboratively to make sure patients have every available option to get better. Rachel knows that really well and is planning to use as many resources as possible to help optimize her recovery process.
In the hospital
Chances are that Rachel will see a physiotherapist in the hospital on Day 2 in order to get her up and walking. As a physiotherapist, Rachel knows that deep breathing is key to helping prevent pneumonia, so that will likely be key in early recovery. Rachel also plans to walk laps around the hospital while she’s there, although she’s pretty sure she’ll only be able to do half a lap to start – this is major surgery we’re talking about!
The first month – at home.
During the first month, she will need to rest a lot and get used to eating frequent, small meals even if she doesn’t feel hungry (as we discussed last week, the feeling of hunger goes out the window after a gastrectomy). But she plans to get up and walk short distances whenever she gets a chance – other people have told her that it’s typical to get really winded in the beginning.
The second month – the back to the clinic phase!
A month after surgery, Rachel plans to go back to the clinic where she works to use the cardio equipment. She knows that she will need to build her cardio levels back up and wants to do some light strength training as well, although she knows that she probably won’t be allowed to lift anything for about eight weeks after surgery. Depending on how things are healing, she may also use the therapeutic ultrasound and the laser since both help with wound healing.
ND and RMT going forward.
Rachel saw one of pt Health’s Naturopathic Doctors prior to her diagnosis and plans to consult with them post-surgery as well. Since her whole GI system will be so drastically altered – and because people who have gastrectomies have a difficult time absorbing vitamins and nutrients – an ND will be a crucial resource for Rachel and will help guide her to make optimal food choices.
Since Rachel will be so inactive for such a long period of time, she will probably also see a Registered Massage Therapist for soft tissue release.
We’ll be keeping you updated on Rachel’s recovery on the pt Health corporate blog. Rachel is also committed to doing as much blogging as she can – her husband Brandon will be her stand-in right after she has surgery.
Rachel’s personal blog can be found at http://cytosinedeleted.wordpress.com/.
ptHealth’s April For Rachel campaign has been featured on the No Stomach For Cancer website! http://www.nostomachforcancer.org/blog