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Two Sundays in February, I attended “camp”–a very special camp for ladies recovering from breast cancer related ailments. You’ll never guess what it’s called. Are you ready for this?

BOOB CAMP!!!

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Catchy title, right? My husband suggested that it sounded like something men would like to attend, but we won’t let our minds go there.

Boob Camp is a class sponsored by a nonprofit in Austin, TX called Stiletto Stampede. Their mission is to raise breast cancer awareness and offer programs such as peer support groups and post-operative rehabilitation programs. They also sponsor an event that consists of a 100 yard dash in heels, hence the name of the group.

I managed to find out abut the camp through my affiliation with Pink Ribbon Cowgirls (another support group) organized by the Breast Cancer Resource Center, also in Austin. I decided to attend and see what could possibly go on at a fitness class for people in my condition. I wasn’t really sure if I had lost any range of motion, but I was sure I was still in pain sometimes, so I figured it was worth a visit.

First we did a quick meeting with a physical therapist and then the class began. The teacher, Christine Tusa, could only be described as a breath of fresh air. She seemed really knowledgeable and patient. She taught us how to breathe and stretch in ways that I had been unknowingly avoiding. She came to me and helped me try to breathe into my chest–but I had to admit that I was scared. I hadn’t attempted to breathe anywhere near my chest in four months! I trusted her though and oh my! I think I actually felt a crack as the cobwebs broke away and my chest muscles began to move. Expanding is an amazing feeling. The lessons I learned in the class also caused me to notice my posture. I have been hunching over when I sit or stand, which is common for women who undergo mastectomy surgery. We have a tendency to try to protect that area by creating a little cave that can’t be reached by hugs or flailing arms (both of which I dodge on a daily basis: 750 kids at school and 3 kids, 1 husband, and 2 dogs at my house).

The name of the class is kind of funny, but it is serious business. The women who have designed the class are true givers, and the women who attend are brave and understand how it feels to need rehabilitation after such a serious procedure. Some of us didn’t even know we needed to rehabilitate until we went! I’m glad someone knows that we need special stretching and special breathing. I’m also glad that a nonprofit organization that claims it helps women with breast cancer ACTUALLY HELPS WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER. Great work Stiletto Stampede!

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