Cancer survivor flexing arms in front of Brooks

National Cancer Survivor Day: June 5, 2022

Clinical Expertise

Jun 5, 2022

Meet Trina Parham, Cancer Survivor

Per the CDC, 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually in the United States and approximately 600,000 Americans lose this battle every year. Trina Parham was one of these individuals, diagnosed back in 2018. Trina fought hard to beat her breast cancer and found herself in remission in 2019, but her battle was not over. After cancer treatment, Trina found herself with a variety of new ailments and had few resources to help her cope with her new body and life. Trina decided to advocate for herself and asked her oncologist to write her a referral for physical therapy. She was introduced to Ashley Perry, PT, DPT, MTC who is the oncology program coordinator for the oncology navigation program that Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation offers.

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Trina was initially screened by Ashley prior to being seen by any therapist. The screen is designed to better understand a person’s current therapy needs and then to match the person to the most appropriate clinician to meet those needs. Trina was then referred to our Halifax Health | Brooks Rehabilitation outpatient clinic in Ormond Beach to address a variety of issues ranging from lymphedema, balance, lower extremity weakness and neuropathy. Trina worked closely with her therapists Jill Miller and Jen Volz to design an individualized solution to address her lymphedema and scar tissue restrictions after surgery. Trina also struggled with increased heart rate and deconditioning after extensive radiation treatments. With Jill’s specific training in oncology rehabilitation, she was able to recognize and address all of Trina’s specific needs.

“I felt like after I beat cancer; after my treatments ended that I was dropped back into my life with no direction. Therapy helped me find my direction and discover my new normal and how to take care of myself again,” said Trina.

Trina’s relationship with her therapy team allowed her the opportunity to ask questions and share what she was experiencing daily so that they could work together to find solutions. Even after completing her therapies, Trina continues to maintain her relationship with her therapists and feels comfortable going to them with any questions or concerns that she has. She continues her path to recovery with safe modifications to her daily activities and exercise routine.

Trina is now a strong advocate for therapy for all cancer survivors. Although Trina did find the oncology navigation program, she found them after her lymphedema and adhesions had already advanced. Trina wonders what could have been done if she was referred to therapy earlier. She encourages anyone who is diagnosed with cancer to ask if therapy is an option for them and shares her experiences with her community of cancer survivors, including her “survivor” sister, and with those in the Think Pink group that Halifax Health hosts.

“The oncology navigation program allowed me the opportunity to not settle with what I was left with after cancer treatment. They empowered me with the tools and information to challenge my body to be the best it could be.”

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