Thank you Angelo Rizzo for everything you do to fight for, heal, and honor breast cancer patients. Those of us who have traveled that journey with you know how priceless you are.
January 5, 2016, my life was turned up side down. I still relive the moment I heard “it’s breast cancer” over and over in my head. Here I was, just graduated with my master’s, had accepted a position, and was in the best shape of my life thanks to a year long commitment to Crossfit. I immediately felt like everything I had worked so hard for was being taken from me. One of the first thoughts I had after getting the dreadful news was, “how am I going to maintain my exercise routine and energy after surgery and chemo.” Being in the medical field, I understood the importance of physical therapy, but I was uncertain how to achieve my goals after a double mastectomy. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful team of Surgeons, Oncologist, and case manager that understood physical fitness was important to me and pointed me in the direction of Dr. Angelo Rizzo at Therapeutic Solutions. I started my physical therapy before surgery and learned breathing exercises and was provided an individualized treatment plan that would help me through the phases of my recovery. I felt a sense of control and that cancer wasn’t going to deprive me of a normal life. Angelo Rizzo’s thoughtful approach to cancer survivors is unsurpassed and without him, I wouldn’t have been able to return to my normal exercise routine. The team at Therapeutic Solutions gave me the strength and motivation to overcome all of cancer’s obstacles; thanks to everyone, I was able to increase my energy, maintain physical activity, and start my new job, even while going through chemotherapy.
Marie Cosby, FNP-C
Below are testimonials from real patients.
My Experience with Physical Therapy for Cancer Illness
My name is Robert H. Almeroth, Jr. and I’m a graduate of the Emory University School of Medicine. I’ve been in the practice of Family Medicine in the Decatur area since 1979. In March 2009, I was diagnosed with Advanced Prostate Cancer and became a patient of the Georgia Cancer Specialists.
The experience I gained in my practice in employing physical therapy, as a treatment modality was limited mostly to patients with stroke histories and overuse injuries. I had no experience with physical therapy in treating patients undergoing cancer treatment.
As a result of my first treatment protocol, which was androgen deprivation therapy, I experienced general weakness and easy fatigue. Marked overall muscle loss was the result of this treatment. This resulted in problems with balance and endurance among other issues. I was referred by my oncologist to Angelo Rizzo in Physical Therapy at Therapeutic Solutions, Inc., and, in spite of my doubts that this would be helpful, I responded rather quickly with improvements in balance. With continued work at home I noted an improvement in endurance.
After two years of stability, I developed additional metastases and chemotherapy was recommended and subsequently initiated. The only significant side effect of this therapy was a type of fatigue that was very bothersome because all I wanted to do was sit. The fatigue was not provoked by activity and not related to anemia or any other identifiable cause. I was told this was “chemo-fatigue” and was a common side effect of chemotherapy. I was referred once again to Angelo Rizzo, who has training and special expertise in working with fatigue, and other problems experienced by patients on a chemotherapy regimen. Angelo established a routine for me that included activities that were easily performed and which had a dramatic effect in relieving the fatigue. I’m quite sure that had I not been referred to Physical Therapy for this fatigue I would be sitting, too “tired” to even read, for most of every day. The addition of physical therapy has had a profound impact on my overall sense of well-being and enabled me to resume activities I thought I could not do because of the “fatigue”. I’ve been able to resume my hobby in music, which I had avoided the entire summer.
In the Physical Therapy suite I’ve observed other patients with issues similar to mine who admitted that working with their therapists employed by Therapeutic Solutions had similar effects on their physical and psychological well-being. There was an added benefit to me in being able to talk with other patients in the facility and being exposed to other ways of dealing with the side effects of a chemotherapy regimen.
In summary, I think that physicians who deal with patients, including primary care physicians, and Radiation and Medical Oncologists, would likely benefit from attending a patient-oriented fatigue management class to get a glimpse of the profound benefits of Physical Therapy. I am of the opinion that other patients being treated for cancer with modalities including chemo and radiation therapy would benefit from the special expertise that is offered by Therapeutic Solutions.
Robert H. Almeroth, Jr.
I am a retired Cardiologist and current Medical Director of Primerica Life Insurance Company. On May 16 of this year, I had a total knee replacement. My surgeon, naturally, recommended physical therapy after 3-4 weeks. I chose Therapeutic Solutions at their Decatur office. I started out on a walker with limited weight bearing on the operated side, and went through the full rehabilitation. It involved stretching and strengthening of the muscles that operated my right knee. Needless to say, some of these procedures were uncomfortable/painful, but Angelo Rizzo and his associates carefully instructed me in each of the maneuvers, first to maximize benefit and to minimize discomfort. Their personalized, hands-on approach made the whole process much easier, less uncomfortable. This helped me learn quickly what I was supposed to do with each exercise/stretching modality.
Since this was my first experience with any rehabilitation except cardiac, I really appreciated the caring and thoughtful approach of the therapists at Therapeutic Solutions. I would give them the highest recommendation without hesitation. I fact, I’ll be having a return course of rehabilitation with Angelo and his associates when I get my left knee replacement done.
On a different topic, I did meet several patients receiving physical therapy for cancer for post-chemotherapy-related fatigue. They seemed to be responding well and benefiting from their therapy. To physicians in general, who care for post-chemotherapy cancer patients, I can highly recommend Therapeutic Solutions for this aspect of physical therapy. To all future patients of Therapeutic Solutions, I wish you a speedy return to full function.
A. Gordon Brandau, Jr., MD, FACC
Medical Director, Primerica Life Insurance
I’ve had the lymph nodes under my left arm removed and I’ve also under gone a series of chemotherapy and radiation so Therapeutic Solutions really helped the swelling in my left arm go down. Their facility is clean and very comforting. The therapist that attended to me, Angelo, is very kind. He not only helped the swelling in my arm go down but taught me how to do some exercises that helped reduce the swelling and made the arm better. At Therapeutic Solutions, I’ve experienced great service and seen results. If I have to do it all over again, I will definitely see Angelo Rizzo and Therapeutic Solutions.
Thank you Angelo!!!