National Physical Therapy Month is Celebrating Healthy Aging

By Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director
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National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is hosted by The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) each October to recognize how Physical Therapists help transform society by restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. This October the focus is on Health Aging.

As movement experts, the goal of the Physical Therapists at IvyRehab Briarcliff and IvyRehab Jefferson Valley, which are now located inside Club Fit, will be offering free 10 minute screenings and advice to its’ club members to overcome pain, gain and maintain movement, and preserve their independence-without the need, in many cases, for surgery or long-term prescription drug use.

If treatment is required individuals now have the opportunity under the Direct Access Law in New York State to be evaluated and treated without a prescription for 10 visits or treatment within 30 days before seeing their physician.

Exercise may be the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth. The right type and amount of it, prescribed by a physical therapist, can help prevent or manage many age-related health conditions.

Stop by the lobby at Club Fit Briarcliff on the following days/times to learn tips on aging well and about Direct Access. You can also sign up for a 10 minute free screening for sports, balance and/or spinal screening by our Licensed Physical

Therapist:
10/05/15 9:00 – 10:30 AM (Monday) Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director
10/15/15 8:30 – 10:00 AM (Thursday) Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director
10/19/15 9:00 – 10:30 AM (Monday) Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director
10/29/15 5:00 – 6:00 PM (Thursday) meet our NEW Director Brian McLean, DPT

OR Stop by the lobby at Club Fit Jefferson Valley:
10/01/15 7:30 – 8:30 AM (Thursday) Jacek Golis, PT
10/06/15 9:00 – 10:00 AM (Tuesday) Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director
10/12/15 9:00 – 10:30 AM (Monday) Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director
10/22/15 4:00 – 5:00 PM (Thursday) Deborah Lenihan, PT, Director
10/26/15 9:00 – 10:30 AM (Monday) Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, Senior Director

At either location fill out a free raffle and win a chance for a free gift ($75.00 Basket/gift card), when you stop by to say hello and learn more about how the staff at IvyRehab can help you. Any questions please contact us at IvyRehab Briarcliff (914) 762 -2222 or IvyRehab Jefferson Valley (914) 245 – 8807. Visit our website at www.ivyrehab.com.

Breast Cancer Wellness

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

 

Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Dr. Sandra Brennan supports utilizing physical activity to help combat breast cancer.

Dr. Sandra Brennan, radiologist & breast cancer specialist

Club Fit member Dr. Sandra Brennan, Director of Breast Imaging and Interim Director of Radiology at the West Harrison outpost of New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Sandra Brennan may be new to Club Fit, but the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, for both her patients and herself, is not new at all. Dr. Brennan is Director of Breast Imaging and Interim Director of Radiology at the new West Harrison outpost of New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a long-anticipated and welcomed resource for Westchester County’s cancer patients.

Hailing from Ireland, where she attended University College Dublin and completed her residency at Mater Misericordiae Hospital, also in Dublin, Dr. Brennan came to the United States in 2005 to complete a fellowship at Sloan-Kettering’s Breast and Body Imaging Center, and the rest was history. During the fellowship, she sharpened her expertise in imaging of tumors in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, as well as in breast imaging and intervention, and upon completion of the fellowship she was invited to join the faculty in Sloan-Kettering’s Department of Radiology.

Currently, her focus is on breast imaging, which involves interpretation of screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasound examinations and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Her clinical work includes state-of-the-art procedures such as image-guided biopsy under stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI guidance, and breast localization procedures with both radioactive seed and wire localizations. Radioactive seed localizations are a relatively new approach that she says will be put into practice in MSK West Harrison in the new year. “The field is constantly evolving, and the number of options available to our patients continues to grow,” she says.

The opening of the West Harrison facility was a great opportunity for Dr. Brennan, who is also mom to six-year-old Samuel and four-year-old Leah, to get out of the city and into the more family-friendly suburbs. The family recently moved to Chappaqua and joined Club Fit Briarcliff, where they enjoy the Aquatics Center on weekends, and Samuel has been playing basketball. Dr. Brennan is no stranger to health clubs, and staying fit has been a lifelong practice. “I run, cycle, hike, swim…I’ve even completed some half-marathons!” she said. Since joining Club Fit, she gets in two to three visits per week, and has been spending her time in the Fitness Center. She’s looking forward to exploring other areas of the club with her children in the coming months.

One program that piqued her interest was the Cancer Wellness Program, which has been a part of Club Fit’s programming for a number of years. Free to cancer patients, both members and non-members, this strength and cardio conditioning program is designed to meet the special needs of people undergoing and recovering from cancer treatment. “There is growing evidence to suggest that maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active may reduce your risk of getting certain types of cancer such as breast, colon, endometrial and prostate,” says Dr. Brennan. “Patients who exercise and pay attention to their overall wellness tolerate treatment better, and in many cases experience a faster recovery.”

With the opening of the West Harrison facility, Sloan-Kettering has expanded its presence in Westchester County, which it has served since 1995 through its facility at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow. The facility’s staff includes more than 100 professionals, including cancer surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and radiologists. “What we’ve done is bring all the services of the main campus in Manhattan to Westchester, allowing patients access to the same high-quality services without the commute into the city,” says Dr. Brennan. Add that to the plethora of support groups and other resources available to cancer patients in our area, and a cancer diagnosis becomes a much easier burden to bear, for both patient and caregiver.

Click here for more information on Sloan-Kettering’s West Harrison facility, as well as Dr. Brennan and her colleagues. You can also click here to find out more about Club Fit’s Cancer Wellness Program, a valuable resource to anyone fighting the battle against cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superhero Update: 50 pounds gone and STILL cancer-free!

Whoo-hoo!

Whoo-hoo!

I am thrilled to be able to celebrate a special milestone today. So far, on my journey of health and recovery, I have lost a total of FIFTY pounds, and after two and a half years, I am STILL cancer-free!!

When I started out on my fitness journey, weight loss was not my primary goal. I didn’t even buy a scale until a year ago (check out this post from last year about my scale-buying experience.) I just wanted to be healthy, and to be able to do some of the physical activities that I did before I fell ill. More than anything, I wanted to be in fighting shape, so if cancer came knocking again, I could knock it down with one punch. At the time, I certainly didn’t feel like a fighter – but now I do.

Being plagued by health problems for so long led me to have serious doubts that I could ever become a “healthy person” again. I thought I was stuck being a “sick person”, because I really didn’t believe that my body could recover from everything it had been through. It breaks my heart, even as I type these words, that I could ever think or feel that way about myself – but I did. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that Club Fit saved me.

In addition to the incredible support of my family and friends, I am so grateful to have had the support of Club Fit and its stellar staff. Every group fitness instructor who shouted a motivating phrase, every trainer I have worked with who helped me get a little bit better every day, and every staff member who flashes me a thumbs-up when I’m sunk down on a bench, totally exhausted, has helped me on my way to being a healthier, happier me! I still have a long way to go, but now I know that it’s possible.

Celebrating this milestone gives me the opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come. It reminds me that fitness and good health are within my grasp, and that I am empowered with the tools to obtain them! Taking the first step towards better health and fitness is the greatest gift I have ever given myself, and I’m so glad I did it.

superhero

 

 

Support Connection Director Kathy Quinn

 

Support Connection Executive Director and Club Fit Member Kathy Quinn

Support Connection Executive Director and Club Fit Member Kathy Quinn

In this day and age, turning a negative into a positive is definitely a reason to celebrate. This October, local nonprofit Support Connection is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first Support-A-Walk for Breast & Ovarian Cancer. This grassroots event today draws close to 10,000 participants, and laid the foundation for the organization itself, which opened its doors in the Roma Building in Yorktown Heights in September of 1996.

One of the driving forces behind Support Connection is Executive Director and Club Fit member Kathy Quinn, who was inspired to get involved after attending that first walk in 1995 in support of a close friend who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She found out about the walk while researching support services for her friend, and was moved by the turnout, which quadrupled the expected numbers from 200 to 800. She reached out to walk organizers Nancy Heller and Rich Adamski, and together with other supporters came up with the idea to use the funds raised to start up Support Connection as an educational and emotional resource for breast and ovarian cancer patients. The rest is history. “The unique thing about our organization’s model is that all of our professional Peer Counselors are cancer survivors,” says Kathy. “When we began, our idea was to give patients access to others who had gone through the same experience, and could truly understand their situation.” Support Connection has stayed true to that model to this day.

“Because we work very hard to operate within a very modest budget and use volunteers to assist with fundraising and outreach, nearly 90 percent of all funds raised goes directly to funding our free, confidential programs and services. I am blessed every day to see what a difference is being made, how a difficult situation can be helped by offering an anchor to someone in need.” Today, the number of support groups has grown to twelve, and services are offered nationwide. What started as a local resource is now an educational and emotional support system for thousands, with well over 5,000 people benefitting from the services offered to date. In our area, many take advantage of the one-on-one and group counseling, wellness seminars, toll-free educational teleconferences, and social workshops offered, including a yoga class held on Saturdays at Club Fit Jefferson Valley, for which Club Fit donates space.

“Club Fit has been a staunch supporter for many years, also sponsoring our golf outing,” says Kathy. “It’s really wonderful how they promote good overall health throughout our community, to all populations and age groups. Our survival is based on the support we get from local individuals and businesses like Club Fit.” Kathy, a Shrub Oak resident, is passionate about Support Connection’s mission, often working nights and weekends. “It’s so rewarding to see the end product of the work we do,” she says. “I come back every day for that reason.” She also devotes time to her husband, four children and two grandchildren, and tries to take time to take care of herself, using the Fitness Center and Aquatics Center at Club Fit. “I now understand the value of places like Club Fit, not just for the cancer patient, but also for the entire family,” she says. “Going to the gym is a step in the right direction for anyone physically, but it’s also a great stress reliever for those either going through or supporting a family member or friend going through cancer treatments.”

As successful as Support Connection has been, there is still much work to be done. “Our ongoing challenge is that while people value the support we provide, they don’t put a dollar amount on it,” says Kathy. “So much of the money that is raised in other nonprofits is used to fund research, but the emotional support our programs provide is also so critical in a cancer patient’s journey.” Kathy’s friend Isabel, who was the reason for Kathy attending that first walk, passed away not long after Support Connection was established, but Kathy considers her the inspiration that keeps her going. “Every day I work in loving memory of Isabel,” she says. And at every walk, the thousands of participants and volunteers are working and walking to honor those who have won as well as those who have lost the battle against breast and ovarian cancer.

For more information on how you can get involved or how you can access the services offered by Support Connection, visit www.supportconnection.org, or call the Support and Information Hotline at 1-800-532-4290. You can also register for or make a donation to this year’s Support-A-Walk, to be held at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights on Sunday, October 5th, on the website. If you have never attended, Kathy highly recommends that you come, if just to experience the camaraderie. “As big as our event has become, the wonderful thing about it is that we are all there as one big family, celebrating and paying tribute to loved ones and letting people dealing with cancer know we are walking right beside them.”

Diana Pernicano — Cancer Warrior and Club Fit Member

Diana Pernicano, Cancer Warrior and Club Fit Member

Cancer Warrior and Club Fit Member Diana Pernicano and her father, Club Fit Member Ted Pernicano

When you are a nineteen-year-old college student, the last thing you expect to hear are the words, “You have cancer.” But that’s exactly what happened to Diana Pernicano this past November, when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. Luckily, Diana had a happy ending. On February 28, after three months of intense chemotherapy at Sloan-Kettering, Diana was declared cancer-free.

She decided to make a positive out of a negative by learning as much as she could about the disease, and devoting herself to educating others, kids in particular, about cancer. “Kids in middle school and high school need to understand that it’s important to go to the doctor and to stay healthy, that cancer doesn’t just happen to adults,” she said. But people of all ages also need to understand that cancer doesn’t always have to end badly. She said she was surprised by how many of her classmates assumed she would not survive. She’s happy to say, “Today, two out of three cancer patients will become a survivor.”

Diana has also devoted herself to fundraising, and is currently working with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and funds. She had already been participating in the Yorktown Relay for Life event before her diagnosis, partly because her father also suffered through a cancer scare nine years ago. He was diagnosed with a cancer of the spine that was also treated successfully.  (Their cancers are not related.)

After her diagnosis and treatment, Diana was invited to speak at the Relay for Life kickoff event in February, and did so well that she was invited to help with the speakers in the New York City office. “Survivors who I heard speak would talk about the experiences they had, but not about specific programs that helped them get through the experience.”

She impressed enough people with her story and attitude to be featured in an ACS video distributed to colleges across the country educating college students about the disease, as well as the importance of sharing stories about experiences with cancer and reaching out to others. Visit YouTube to see it for yourself! “It’s such a different perspective when you go through this at my age,” she says. “It’s also so hard, no matter what your age, to really understand what a patient goes through, unless you have cancer yourself.” Diana also invites everyone to read more about her experience on her blog, at dianapernicano.wordpress.com.

Diana will continue her studies in nursing at Mount St. Mary College in the Fall, where she was attending school when she was diagnosed. Her focus will be on oncology nursing, which she was already pursuing because of her father’s experience with cancer. But now she feels she can contribute so much more to cancer patients, because she has the unique perspective of knowing exactly how they feel.

Diana has a good role model in her father, a Club Fit member who was a runner before his diagnosis and used Club Fit to help him get back on track. He is still at Club Fit almost every day. Diana became a full member three years ago. She uses the Fitness Center, plays racquetball, shoots hoops in the gym and enjoys Zumba — an all-around member! She also attended a Cancer Wellness session or two, and although she was too sick to participate more, she thinks it’s a great resource for others going through what she did. Diana is on the cross-country team at Mount St. Mary, and intends to return to the team in the fall.

Diana will have her own team for the first time at this year’s Relay for Life, “Diana’s Lymphomaniacs,” and has already raised more than $10,000. Part of that number includes funds raised on May 18 with a foul-shooting competition for Mildred E. Strang Middle School teachers and students at Club Fit Jefferson Valley. Forty students and 17 MESMS teachers participated! The actual Relay for Life event will take place on June 13th at Jack DeVito Memorial Field in Yorktown, and the Lymphomaniacs are happy to accept donations at her Relay for Life page! For more information on how you can join the fight against cancer, visit www.cancer.org.

The Superhero Returns!

Back in action!

Hey, everybody!  I’M BACK!

I haven’t posted for a few months because I haven’t been well, but I’m happy to say that I am now fully recovered.  This spring, I developed some benign but painful complications from my hysterectomy last year, which required surgical intervention. While my incredible team of doctors took superb care of me (thank you, Sloan-Kettering), my recovery kept me in bed for a couple of weeks, and then even more time before I was cleared to exercise again.  Right when I was ready to get back in the game, I got sidelined again – this time by bad headaches and fatigue – and my doctor confirmed Lyme disease!  (I should really play the lottery – I’m due for some good luck by now, right?)

Anyway, after a month-long dose of tough antibiotics (and some extra rest) I was fully healed, and this Superhero was ready to throw on her cape again!  But I was surprised to find that my grand return was overshadowed by some shyness and trepidation.  I had been ill for so long, did I really remember what it felt like to be capable of vigorous exercise?  I had made Club Fit my second home for so many months, and coming back after a long absence felt strange – like visiting friends who live in an apartment that you used to rent.  It’s so familiar, but you don’t inhabit it like you used to. I was nervous about getting on a spin bike, lifting a weight, or taking a class.  My nerves were getting the better of me, big-time, and I felt like I was starting all over again and didn’t know where to begin.

My first trip back to Club Fit was for an appointment with my trainer (Jenn!), which I was really looking forward to. I knew that no amount of self-doubt would keep me from this appointment, and the safety net of having someone paying personal attention to me was very reassuring.  (Jenn would most certainly be able to identify if I was doing something wrong, or pushing myself too hard.)  We ended up having an amazing session where I did MORE than I thought I could, and the slight soreness I felt later on that week was a happy reminder that I had overcome my emotional setbacks and done something healthy for myself.

It feels so good to be back on the right track again. See you at the club!

Overdoing it.

I’ve written about the momentum of my workout routine before, and getting back on the proverbial horse after being sidetracked by life events.  Today, I’ve realized something equally important: not overdoing it.

Since early January, I’ve been riding high on my New Year’s resolution of self-care, and doing what my body tells me do.  I’ve been eating right, sleeping well, and working out every day, so I’ve had a TON of energy…. until, of course, I hit a wall.

My muscles were really sore after a few days of challenging myself with some new and more intense workouts.  I tried some new classes, and increased all the weights I’ve been using for strength training.  One day I woke up, and everything hurt.  Every muscle I had pushed and stretched and strengthened over the last few days was screaming “Give us a break!”  But still, I was encouraging myself to push forward, because I still doubted whether or not I’d “done enough” to warrant a day off.  I was worried about breaking my routine, maybe afraid that I’d fall back into old bad habits of giving up and not going back.

Thankfully, I had my redefined resolution to fall back on.  I reminded myself that recovery is just as important as exercise, and that listening to my body is the most important thing.  So I took a day off, and the world didn’t fall apart. Even better; my muscles relaxed, and I feel refreshed and ready to tackle my workout with renewed energy!

Superhero Transformation, Part 1: Out of the Desert

Hi, Club Fitters! My name is Kendra, and I’m so glad to have been invited to share my fitness journey with you on the Club Fit blog. In many ways, I feel like I’m starting from square one – emerging from what I think of as a fitness desert. I’ll get right to it: for the past two years, I have struggled with major health issues, originally stemming from benign uterine fibroid tumors, and ending with a shocking diagnosis of a very rare uterine cancer. I endured multiple surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, severe pain, and even blood transfusions. I’m so glad to say that I’ve come through it, my strength is back, and I have more determination than ever to get (and stay) fit and healthy. I will call this journey my Superhero Transformation, because in my opinion, a superhero isn’t a smaller clothing size, or a shorter running time. A superhero knows that their personal best is being at their healthiest: preventing disease and health problems, and being ready to fight hard should it unexpectedly cross their path.

Here’s the problem: I have always hated “the gym.” The thought of getting on an elliptical machine for an hour and feeling like a hamster on a wheel truly makes me want to cry. Lucky for me (and for all of us), Club Fit is so much more. When I first took my tour, it was abundantly clear that Club Fit was not “the gym”, and that there isn’t just something for everyone; there’s plenty for everyone, no matter what your fitness interests are.

Somewhat overwhelmed with my options, I craved something familiar, and armed with my residual Olympic inspiration, I decided to hit the lap pool. I stuck to 30 minutes and took it pretty easy, but it felt so good! Supported by floating, and working through the water’s natural resistance helped me reawaken my muscles and feel totally invigorated. Just writing this now makes me want to dive back in! And I certainly will, but not before I try out some other new things and report back to all of you with another Superhero update.