MedWatch: Journey Program

A cancer diagnosis is bad enough by itself.

Then the treatment begins.

Radiation and chemotherapy can make a person feel terrible, drain their energy and leave them miserable.

But exercise can change that.

In today’s MedWatch report, Michelle Dunaway tells us about a free program that benefits patients in more ways than one.

Brooke Chappell is no stranger around here. She hits the Betsie Hosick Health and Fitness Center in Frankfort at least three times a week.

But her workouts were put on the back burner when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

“I had 37 radiation treatments, and then five surgeries total. Then I had a bilateral mastectomy after chemotherapy,” said Brooke. 

Needless to say, she wasn’t feeling her best, but it was her son who came to her with something that would help her recovery.

“He said ‘You know there’s a program for people with cancer and you can work out.’ I was like OK, because they tell you that you’re really not supposed to be around people but I always worked out so I was like OK and so I came in and that’s how I found out about it, came in and started doing the Journey Program,” explains Brook. 

“The goal is just to help people feel better, especially when they’re going through treatment. It’s easy to just sit back and not feel like doing anything, cancer treatment is extremely difficult on your body and your mind. So the goal of the program is to help improve your balance, help increase your muscle strength and help your mental well-being by getting you around other people who are currently, or who have been through, a similar situation,” says Jessica Carland. 

Jessica Carland is a certified personal trainer who helps with the free 10-week program.

She can’t stress how critical it is for these patients to have the strength and support they need.

“Your muscles can atrophy, you’re overall not feeling well, if you start exercising, your endorphins get going and that puts you in a better mood. And we always tell people in the class, even if you’re not feeling that well, come even if you just sit here and talk with us for five minutes, still come. Nine times out of ten they come and do the whole class.”

Brook says it was a big part of helping her feel better.

“Most of the time you’re sitting on the couch and your mind is racing, but your body won’t move. So it was kind of nice to move your body and talk to other people, we went through nutrition classes to eat the right foods and help you along.”

Today she’s done with the Journey Program, but the lessons she’s learned are still present in her everyday life.

And after a year of being cancer free, nothing is slowing her down.

“It makes me feel great. She’s getting ready to climb a mountain at the end of this summer and to think two years ago she was having chemo and coming in and not always feeling very well…. To go from not feeling that well and having it be a struggle to get here, to climbing a mountain this coming August, not much more you can say about that. It’s pretty great,” says Jessica. 

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