Sharing the light after cancer

cancer survivorOne of the best parts about working on the Cancer Center’s patient magazine, Thrive, is meeting patients who have made positive changes as a result of having been sick. For our fall issue, I interviewed Flora Migyanka, a breast cancer survivor.

Looking at Flora, you’d never suspect she’d been ill. As we all know, outward appearances can be misleading. Flora had a double mastectomy and still faces residual effects like swelling in her arm, pain and muscle wasting in her back. But as a wife and mother to young children, she has incentive to be well. Her family needs her and she needs them. Continue reading

Deep Breaths: Harnessing the power of yoga to recover from breast cancer

bakasana

Flora Migyanka in the crow pose

Flora Migyanka is standing on her hands, lifting her feet off the ground to complete the crow pose, or bakasana.

Just over a year earlier, she had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery after being diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. Her surgery was seven hours long and involved around 500 stitches.

She went through physical therapy and occupational therapy, rehabilitating her arms and back all through the summer of 2012, and she still continues with occupational therapy today.

But she prefers to talk about the intensive 12-week yoga training course she’s in the middle of right now.

“Yoga has given me the tools to navigate through the physical and emotional pain and learn to breathe and live through it. It’s such an important thing – whether you meditate or exercise – everyone needs some outlet,” Flora says.

Continue reading