CINCINNATI -- Exercise routines can go out the window when a doctor tells you that you have breast cancer.
If you have a mastectomy and the rebuild with your own tissue or implants, it's going to sideline you. But Mary Kleespies, who removed her breasts because of a cancer gene and then opted for implants, had exercise goals.
"The best thing for me was to get back as quickly as possible, because working out makes you strong, but it makes you mentally powerful," she said. "That's important, too."
Dr. Mike Columbus does breast reconstruction procedures. He wants patients to get walking right away. His advice for something like rowing or pushups is to have patience with anything that engages the cor and upper body. Some exercises might have to wait up to six weeks.
"You just don't want to be doing anything that's going to potentially tear, bleed, get you back in surgery," he said.
With weights, Columbus said to start low, in the 5- to 10-pound range. Patients can start two or three weeks after surgery, but only if that's comfortable. And patients wanting to focus on maintaining range of motion can go weightless. They can even work on that in front of the TV.
Kleespies worked with Columbus after her surgery.
"What Dr. Columbus said is really important," she said. "You have to listen to your body."
Two weeks out, she was on a stationary bike. Between four and six weeks out, she was back at the gym, but she ran her list of exercises by the doctor.
"That was part of my life, it's really important to me," Kleespies said. "Physical activity is really important ... It's what makes you you."