In a world full of situations and experiences that pull us in different directions, it can be hard to achieve balance. As we gradually emerge from the arduous challenges created by a worldwide pandemic, it seems that achieving some sense of balance in our lives is more elusive than ever. The notion of finding or seeking balance meets us around every corner but rarely do we find a recipe on how to make being balanced a reality. The fact is, finding true balance in any endeavor is simply hard work.
We are taught to eat a balanced diet, to balance our budgets, and to strike a balance between work, rest, and play. It sounds simple, but unless there are clear steps, strategies, and a concerted effort to achieve balance, it is likely to remain out of reach. Some may see “balance” as a destination to be reached while others see it as a by-product of the overall journey. Here at MedCOR Professionals, our goal is to keep you moving forward, and we believe the quest for balance can serve as a motivating call to action and a valuable framework for the way we service the community.
The dynamics of balance present as a recurring theme throughout our product and service lines here at MedCOR. This is certainly clear as we talk about mobility and safety where the goal is reducing falls with a mix of the right activity and the right tools to support balance for safe mobility. Other connections between products and balance may not be so blatant. In our previous blog we addressed how awareness of choices is empowering. after breast surgery, and those are a great example of the kinds of choices that can help achieve balance. Life after breast surgery can present considerable challenges related to body alignment.
When surgery alters the original shape, size, or functional components of our body, there will be a residual imbalance that carries cosmetic, physiological, and psychological implications. During the recovery process, the body functions in a way that favors and protects the side of the body that is working overtime to heal. Depending on the details of one’s diagnosis along with other individual factors, surgical options are wide-ranging from full removal of both breasts (mastectomy) to the removal of a small portion of one breast (lumpectomy) and everything in between. Each of these options will result in weight changes on one or both sides of the body that can create a corresponding imbalance. Even small variations in weight will impact posture which can cause discomfort. Left unaddressed, such an imbalance can precipitate changes in the spine, and as weakened muscles cause things like a dropping of the shoulder, the result for many is a vicious chronic pain cycle that limits function and overall wellbeing.
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy may be an option or strategy to manage balance in this regard but pre-existing conditions and other factors may urge a doctor to advise some patients against this. Regardless of whether a person chooses reconstruction or not, prostheses and pocketed bras are available. Certified Mastectomy Fitters are trained to evaluate and take measurements in order to service patients with items that help restore symmetry. Correctly fitting prostheses and bras can replace the weight of the removed breast(s) or part of a breast and provide support that does not put strain on the shoulders. This works to mitigate muscle imbalance and postural misalignment.
When surgery includes the removal of lymph nodes, there may be a drastic alteration in your body’s fluid-pumping mechanism. This leads to which causes considerable retention of fluid and weight which in turn has a profound impact on both physiological and emotional balance. Consulting with your doctor about a referral to a lymphedema therapist is good first step to managing the effects of the disease. Exercise can help. At MedCOR we are always talking about how “movement is medicine.” Manual lymph drainage (MLD) massage and wrapping affected limbs in bandages that are padded with foam or gauze are common therapeutic interventions. Compression garments are commonly prescribed with a diagnosis of lymphedema as well. These garments can help drain the lymph fluid, reduce feelings of heaviness on the affected side of the body, and preserve or restore normal limb size.
Regardless of your situation or surgical history, MedCOR works with you and your medical team to service you with products that will help you feel more confident in your balance, reduce pain, and improve long-term health outcomes. Feeling balanced helps you feel more in control so that you better equipped to overcome adversity and continue moving forward on your journey of life.
Hunter Hoobler, CMF
Certified Mastectomy Fitter – MedCOR Professionals, Scarborough, Maine
Chris Krause, OT/L
Dir. of Operations and Business Development – MedCOR Professionals, Scarborough, Maine