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TIRR Memorial Hermann Journal

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Life After Cancer: Now What?

Rhonda AbbottI was 29 and pregnant with my second son when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006. Like Martín Romero Sanchez, who learned he had a malignant brain tumor when he was 28, cancer was completely off my radar. Questions flooded my mind: Am I making the right decisions about treatment? How will this impact my future? What does this mean for my family? Will the cancer return? No matter how treatable your particular cancer is, the diagnosis lives with you forever.

We’re grateful to Martín and his wife Karma Punwasi, and to Elías Torres, Vern Oakum, Leigh Rozelle and Jennifer Kennedy for sharing their personal stories of courage and comeback. Each one of them benefited from the expertise of specialists during the acute phase of their treatment and from evidence-based interventions offered through rehabilitation programs at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Cancer rehabilitation has emerged as an important part of the comprehensive treatment programs offered through the Memorial Hermann Cancer Network. Patients also benefit from prehabilitation, which helps prevent or lessen the severity of anticipated treatment-related problems that could lead to later disability. TIRR Memorial Hermann takes rehabilitation a step further through Strength Unlimited, a community-based wellness and recovery program that provides an enriched environment for people of all levels of ability to optimize their recovery and create a path for lifelong health and well being.

What this means is that we’re here for survivors when they need us. We’re constantly evaluating the needs of the community and responding with programs that help people overcome the disruptions of illness and injury.

The word cancer carries enormous weight. Over time, through collaboration with physicians who are passionate about the outcomes of their patients and through professional education programs that share knowledge gained, we hope to lessen the word’s impact.

Rhonda M. Abbott, PT, FTPTA
Associate Vice President of Clinical Operations
TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Network