MANSFIELD — Christine Workman, 64, had been itching to get back into exercise for awhile, but, as many can relate, found the demands of daily life were getting in the way.
It wasn’t until after the Ashland woman underwent treatment for stage 2 breast cancer that she decided to resume working out with the support and guidance from OhioHealth’s Cancer Wellness Program.
Launched earlier this year, the Cancer Wellness Program offers one-on-one exercise sessions for cancer patients at any stage of treatment through survivorship. This 12-week program gives participants access to both the OhioHealth Wellness and Prevention Center and the Ontario Health and Fitness Center, where they work with an exercise physiologist to design a personal exercise program tailored to their specific needs and goals.
Workman, a registered nurse case manager at OhioHealth, was among those who participated in the pilot program, not long after she completed two cycles of chemotherapy and approximately 12 radiation treatments for the treatment of breast cancer.
Workman was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018 after an abnormal finding on her yearly mammogram. A subsequent biopsy confirmed the presence of a tumor, which was removed via a lumpectomy.
Two of Workman’s sisters were also diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.
Based on Workman’s Oncotype results, which tested high risk, her physician recommended chemotherapy.
“I had a truly wonderful experience throughout my cancer care — even the chemotherapy, I enjoyed it. You were pampered,” said Workman, who was treated at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital.
Following treatment, Workman decided to sign up for the Cancer Wellness Program.
“I was very excited because it’s one of those things, I kept saying, ‘I need to get back into exercising,’ and there was always an excuse,” she said.
Exercise physiologist Allen Stoll helped Workman design an exercise regimen suited to her needs.
Although sessions can look quite different from one person to the next, they generally include some form of cardiovascular training (stair stepper, bicycle, treadmill) and strength training, Stoll said.
“What I try to do is mix it up, so it's a little bit different every time because I don’t want them to get stuck in the same thing,” he said.
The launch of this program seemed only fitting for OhioHealth, which aims to improve the health of those they serve.
“This (program) enhances our continuum of care,” Stoll said.
On top of physical benefits (reducing stress and fatigue, increasing muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, reducing body fat, etc.), the program is meant to help participants create healthy habits, Stoll said.
Workman has noticed an uptick in energy, saying she feels able to tackle the day, instead of feeling drained.
“It was like I could walk into work and actually not feel like I was half dead by the time I got in,” she said. “Just to be active again made me happy.”
She’s also experienced a confidence boost, and feels more willing to partake in activities she previously shied away from, such as yoga.
“I've always wanted to do yoga, but I never thought I would really be able to,” she said.
The Cancer Wellness Program is ongoing. The cost to participate is $100. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.
Included in the program are a three-month membership to OhioHealth Wellness and Prevention Center and Ontario Health and Fitness Center (with access to all facilities, programs and services), an initial consultation and fitness assessment, program design and orientation sessions, weekly instruction and/or check-ins with an exercise physiologist, and a post assessment and final consultation.
To learn more about the program, call 419-526-8900 or 567-241-7200.