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Breast Cancer Survivors Making Waves

10:33 AM, Nov 2, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON DC, (WUSA) -- Kim Reuben isn't a kid anymore but she jumped back in the pool this fall to learn how to perfect the crawl stroke. She joined the Survivor's Swim team at Georgetown to get back in shape after a mastectomy to remove a large 5cm, slow growing tumor and reconstruction.

"I was in the pool over the summer flailing around, but I haven't swum or done any strokes with lessons since I was a kid," says Kim. "I've had some issues with lymphedema and swimming seemed like a really good exercise."

Kim was nervous about what exercise were good and not good. So she now practices laps under the watchful eye of Coach Kurt Van Der Shalie. Kurt's also a physical therapist at Georgetown University Hospital.

"Shoulder strength is one thing we try and promote," Kurt says. "Maintaining range of motion, just the act of getting the arm over the head, stretching out and being relaxed in the water while still trying to keep your heart rate up and moving forward. It is very good to try and keep your overall function in your upper extremity."

Swimming alongside Kim is Nancy Muzeck, Director of the Patient Navigator Program at Lombardi's Ourisman Breast Health Center. Nancy organized the team because swimming is what got her off the couch after two bouts with Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Nancy tells us, "Swimming is a fabulous aerobic exercise; it's gentle on the body. "

To join the team, survivors must be 6-months out of treatment and able to swim 25-yards, the length of the pool.

Coach Van Der Schalie says once survivors are comfortable in the water, they'll be able to do more and feel the difference. Plus the biggest benefit to working out, is survivors are actually lowering their risk for a breast cancer recurrence.

The swim team sessions run until December 17th. To register for the team contact Nancy Muzak and Georgetown University Hospital 202-44-0685.

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