Amy English knew that she had to do something for herself. With a husband, 2 small children, and a recent diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, life was suddenly overwhelming. When a friend and fellow cancer patient suggested she look into the Integrative Cancer Care Program (ICCP) at Swedish Covenant Health, Amy didn’t hesitate to become involved. “I realized I had to do something for myself that I could control and getting into programs and classes was something I could do for myself.”
The Integrative Cancer Care Program provides a personalized care plan to support patients through their journey. This can include support from a collaboration of people working with the patient such as social workers, chaplains, integrative health practitioners, integrative and functional medicine physicians, an acupuncturist, massage therapists and personal trainers. Provided free to patients through donations to the SCH Foundation, the ICCP connects people to services they need, making the process easier on a person’s emotional and physical well-being.
Amy started with a personal trainer and Fundamental Fitness classes. “The Fundamental Fitness classes provided me with the basics of staying healthy (nutrition, exercise and self-care), and allowed me to put my energies elsewhere; it got me out of the house, gave me an opportunity to meet new people, and actually motivated me to join more classes.” Amy has since participated in watsu (a form of aqua therapy), which for her, provided a “very soothing and calming environment, where a lot of my tension was released and it felt wonderful to have a full body stretch.”
Amy is also a fan of Mindful Meditation, which helps guide and prepare her for difficult moments in life. According to Amy, “Mindful Meditation has taught me to pause and better assess any situation or thought and then choose how to and when to best handle it.” One of the most impactful programs for Amy has been acupuncture. She goes to acupuncture because, “It helps with my pain and boosts my immune system. Acupuncture is also very relaxing; it helps calm me and puts me in good spirits because I believe I am doing something good for my body. My acupuncturist is like a second therapist for me. She is genuinely concerned for my well-being and has helped guide me through some decisions and thoughts I sometimes struggle with. She is a great listener.”
The mental and physical toll of a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be exhausting and emotionally draining, but Amy feels that the ICCP has been a fantastic resource. “I have to learn how to live with this diagnosis and disease for the rest of my life, until there is a medical breakthrough. Being healthy with this is not just about my body, it’s about my mind, and this is what ICCP is giving me. ICCP is providing me a sense of control, enhancing my overall emotional and physical health and providing me a wonderful escape.”