How physical therapy is helping one central Kentucky woman in her breast cancer journey

After two breast cancer surgeries and radiation Sharon Madison found her body just didn't work the same when it came to simple movements.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -Every person’s cancer journey is different.

What one person may experience could be vastly different for the next.

For Sharon Madison, wife of former University of Kentucky Baseball coach Keith Madison she is living beyond her cancer thanks to a link to hope she found in cancer rehabilitation.

As a breast cancer survivor, Sharon Madison knows the ups and downs that can come with the journey. She knows that your quality of life can be tested. “I think it’s very easy to just give up and just I’ve had cancer, I’m tired I don’t want to do this, I can’t do this and to keep putting the can’t in there,” said Sharon Madison.

After two breast cancer surgeries and radiation Madison found her body just didn’t work the same when it came to simple movements, especially on one side. Her surgeon made a suggestion.

“I was not able to have the mobility that I needed and he suggested physical therapy to help me to learn how to work with what I’ve got,” said Madison.

Madison has been working with KORT Physical therapy for the past two years.

In that time she and her therapist Katie Filiatreau have built a special friendship.

“We bonded immediately, one over our love for Jesus, two our love of riding and three our love of the Kentucky wildcats, so we kind of hit off immediately,” said Katie Filiatreau.

Filiatreau says because a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for a patient, many times she says physical therapy if left out of the spectrum of care.

“We are just really trying to change the model of care to introduce physical therapy as a vital part of the recovery process because we can address so many different deficits,” said Filiatreau.

Through the ReVital Cancer Rehabilitation program Filiatreau and Madison have worked to help her regain about 80 percent more movement in her left arm.

“It was almost like I was trying to get those muscles who had gone to sleep or who were not even there to come back and act like they should,” said Madison.

While there is outward work happening, Filiatreau says it’s the inner work with patients that also helps in the journey.

“We also really address the mental component in terms of people struggling with fear, anxiety, depression with just this unknown of what this new normal is going to be like,” said Filiatreau.

The words I can’t are no longer in Sharon Madison’s vocabulary. “When you find out you can do something, it’s not the same, but you can go further and further and that’s exciting,” said Madison.

She has been a model patient, working alongside her link to hope and biggest supporters to get back what cancer tried to take away.

Sharon Madison has also undergone physical therapy as a Covid patient as well.

Her physical therapist says if you are wondering about physical therapy in your cancer journey, do not hesitate to reach out and advocate for yourself.

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