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Therapeutic Solutions, Inc. (TSI) is a specialty physical therapy practice designed to go beyond patient and referral source expectations. TSI understands amazing customer service and personalized care. Our exceptional professional expertise delivered by our friendly, compassionate and empathetic team, in an inviting well equipped atmosphere, lets you know you have come to the right place for your rehab needs. Our president and founder, Angelo Rizzo PT, DPT, CLT has 44 years of physical therapy experience in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. In addition, through his professional and personal life experiences, Rizzo has taken his passion, to develop a niche practice for improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Twenty years ago, one year before he himself was diagnosed with leukemia, Rizzo felt led to start meeting the unaddressed impairments and disability needs of the cancer survivor, so commonly caused by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. It was these impairments that were often impacting their quality of life during and after cancer treatment. He wanted to improve on the usual standard of care by integrating the important role of physical therapy, exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyle behaviors into the usual cancer treatment care plan. Now 21 years in complete remission from leukemia he and his staff continue to educate the public, the medical community and oncology practitioners of the value added physical therapy component at every stage of care from prevention, to pre-treatment education and assessment, to active rehabilitation, exercise and healthy life style modifications at the start of care, during care, after surgery and long into recovery. TSI's mission is to prevent or minimize treatment-related side effects and allow the cancer survivor greater health, greater function and an optimal quality of life during and after cancer treatments. He does not necessarily subscribe to the edict that cancer survivors have to resign themselves to the "New Normal", a term so often referring to adjustments and declines in quality of life one must now accept and have to adapt to. There is much scientific evidence and lifelong experiences that prove the importance of physical activity, exercise, good nutrition, stress reduction, and other healthy ways of living to restore and elevate the survivor back to someone that hopefully is even better than the "Old Normal". This is a critical mission that is embodied in TSI teachings, trainings and treatments for its clients.

TSI has been serving the Atlanta community since 1980 and now supplies services to individuals who live and work in and around Rockdale County, GA. TSI is recognized as a leader and innovator in rehabilitation and patient education for a number of specialized services. TSI offers a number of skilled programs not offered by most physical therapy facilities such as oncology rehabilitation, lymphedema treatment, pulmonary rehabilitation, massage therapy and osteoporosis improvement in addition to its decades or orthopedic and sports rehab experience. TSI has the only certified lymphedema therapists in Rockdale County. Our certified lymphedema management, referred to as Complex Decongestive Therapy is the gold standard of care, nationally and internationally, for the treatment of lymphedema. It is becoming recognized as an effective treatment protocol not only for cancer survivors but for primary lymphedema, following cosmetic/ reconstructive surgery, traumatic and athletic injury swelling as well as for improving lymphatic flow and immune function.

For more information about TSI services, how to obtain a referral or for our individual insurance coverage please call us at: 770-922-2420

Career, Life Converge in Effort to Loosen Cancer's Grip

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Karen Hill
([email protected])

Because he didn't get what he wanted, Angelo Rizzo's prospects are looking better.

In August 1999, nearly 400 metro Atlantans came to Grace Fellowship Church to submit blood samples and join a national bone-marrow registry in an attempt to find a compatible donor for the Stone Mountain physical therapist.

No one from the drive matched Rizzo. Nor did members of his family, including kin overseas. Eventually, a search of 5 million potential donors in 60 countries produced nothing.

Time was beginning to run out.

But for that very reason, Rizzo was allowed to try an experimental drug treatment through University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In the four months he's been taking four daily pills of STI 571, a chemical that alters the leukemic chromosomes in his blood cells, his disease has nearly disappeared, he said.

"When I started the treatment, 100 percent of my blood cells had a Philadelphia chromosome, or leukemia," said Rizoo, now 49. "It's gone down to 5 percent."

Not finding a donor, he said, "may have been a blessing in disguise."

Rizzo is enrolled in one of 19 tests around the world on STI 571, which researchers hope will offer the first major breakthrough in leukemia treatment in more than a decade. It’s being tested on people with chronic myelogenous leukemia, one of four variations of the disease.

"This is the most promising thing I’ve ever seen for the treatment of CML," said Dr. Hagop Kantarjian, chairman of the leukemia department of M.D. Anderson. "It's like a smart bomb that goes straight to the leukemic cells." For 2-1/2 years, Kantarjian has overseen 530 patients in the test that Rizzo recently joined.

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. According to the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, there are 142,000 leukemia patients in the United States. Forty-three percent will survive five years or more after being diagnosed.

Terri Sexton, a spokeswoman for the Georgia chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, said "STI 571 appears to be the first major break-through since the Food and Drug Administration approved interferon as a leukemia treatment." That happened in 1986.

Most treatments focus on stopping the production of leukemic cells, said Rizzo's physician, Dr. John Manfredi of Atlanta Cancer Care. STI 571 is the first to alter the sick chromosomes within the cells, Manfredi said.

"Maybe this is going to result in long-term responses, maybe even cures," after 10 to 15 years of tests, he said.

Two other patients at Atlanta Cancer Care are now trying to get included in the STI 571 trials, Manfredi added.

But even before Rizzo was allowed to join the test, when it seemed that one door after another was slamming in his face, he never lost hope, he said.

Manfredi seconded that. "He sought out all the different avenues that might get him some help," the doctor said.

"Emotionally, he’s very upbeat, sort of an aggressive-type guy who wants to get everything done for him [he can treat leukemia] and do all that he can do."

It helped, Rizzo said, that he did not feel that he was a random victim of the disease.

"I really felt, from the beginning, that there was a reason why I got it," said Rizzo, who has a wife, a teenage son and a young adult stepdaughter and runs a chain of five physical therapy offices throughout north and east metro Atlanta.

That reason, he believes, was to focus his attention on helping others deal with the side effects of cancer treatment, particularly fatigue.

Just a few months before he learned of his illness, Rizzo said, he decided to change his practice from one centered on patients with problems caused by aging or injury to one focusing on patients dealing with cancer-related fatigue.

"I got personally identified with cancer related fatigue, just after I started a formal program for cancer-related fatigue," Rizzo said. "There really was divine intervention, a reason for that. I knew that something positive was going to come out of that."

In addition to the emotional shock of a cancer diagnosis, which can cause people to lose motivation, Rizzo said there are physical reasons that this disease, and its treatments, drain energy.

"Cancer-related fatigue is largely treatable and requires a comprehensive approach of exercise, good nutrition, stress management, patient education, behavioral changes and more," Rizzo said.

With STI 571, Kantarjian noted, Rizzo should have plenty of energy to help other cancer patients fight their fatigue.

"There's been no fatigue from the drug at all" reported in the test so far, Kantarjian said. "Over 95 percent of patients remain functional, live a normal life, go to work."