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Dancing to Recovery

Sep 13, 2019

Dancing to Recovery

For as long as she can remember, Sally Johnson has loved dancing. In fact, she was a dance instructor for 35 years. “When I hear music, I can move forever,” Sally says.

After retiring, Sally stayed busy, spending time with her granddaughter, friends, and former students. In May 2015, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I felt a burning sensation in my breast and went for an early mammogram,” she says. The scan found a small tumor, and Sally’s doctor recommended she seek treatment at Kettering Cancer Care.

Sally met with Manisha Nanda, DO, an oncologist at Soin Medical Center, and learned that the tumor was growing fast. She opted for a double mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy.

A community of care

After her surgery, Dr. Nanda suggested Sally go to Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, a partner of Kettering Cancer Care that helps cancer survivors develop nutritional, emotional, and spiritual well-being—all at no charge. Sally began meeting with a cancer exercise specialist at Maple Tree to focus on building back her strength.

Sally experienced a community of care and support at Maple Tree. “When you walk in, it just lifts your spirits,” Sally says. “Everyone is smiling. It’s a heartwarming place.”

One day in August 2017, Sally knew she needed that lift. “I did not feel good, and my arms were too tired to even do my hair and makeup,” she explains.

When Sally’s cancer exercise specialist, Trent Seitz, met her to start her session, Sally knew she didn’t have the strength to do it. “Trent was always very caring and would help with whatever I needed to work on,” Sally says. “That day I told him, ‘I can’t do the exercises you want me to, but I can teach you the foxtrot!’”

Sally and Trent danced around the room. “We didn’t have music, but I was singing out the steps to teach him how to move,” Sally says. “That day made me feel like I could go on. I hadn’t been dancing for a while, but I realized I could if I wanted to. It was a little reminder of what normal life could be like.”

Hope for the future

Now Sally wants to share her experience with others. “I’ve been thinking about teaching dance again,” she says. “There are a lot of older adults who would like the physical and social activity, and I could provide that.”

When Sally thinks about her journey through cancer, she knows that good medicine was just part of it. Equally as important was the fact that people at Kettering Cancer Care and Maple Tree not only cared for her body, but also her mind and spirit.

“It’s wonderful to be connected to people like that,” Sally says. “They gave me hope.”

Your partner in cancer care

Kettering Cancer Care’s holistic approach will meet your needs, not only for treatment, but also for education, support, and ongoing guidance. Call 1-877-952-6778 today to schedule an appointment or learn more.