Rockford woman survives life after cancer treatments - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford woman survives life after cancer treatments

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Physical therapist assistant Jenna Villafuerte Physical therapist assistant Jenna Villafuerte

People battling cancer face a trade-off with harsh, but effective treatments.

A Rockford woman named Doris, who wishes to have her last name anonymous for employment reasons, underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. She was treated with radiation which took its toll on her body.

"I couldn't even lift my arms up, I couldn't get any sleep, I couldn't do anything." -Doris says.

A program at the Northeast Branch YMCA led Doris to meet Jenna Villafuerte, a physical therapist assistant for SwedishAmerican's Oncology Rehabilitation. It's in the same building as the YMCA. The Health System's program offers an individualized physical therapy routine based on patients like Doris's needs.

"She loves to cook and so getting into the kitchen was important for her and reaching up and down for her cupboards and being able to do those things." -says Jenna.

Therapy helps Doris in more than one way.

"Not only did they help her with her problems physically, there was a lot of mental help also with the relaxation and the understanding of what the program was about." -says Doris's husband Russell.

She's now sleeping better and has mobility in her arms. Doris also gets to enjoy her favorite activity cooking. That's much-appreciated by her husband Russell.

"Fried chicken, that's one of my favorite things she cooks." -he says with a smile.

Jenna's happy to know she helped change Doris's life.

"It's makes me feel good to be a part of the cancer journey that all of my patients are going through and to see the smiles on their faces and knowing that they've been able to get back to doing things they do enjoy doing. It does, it makes me feel good to be a part of that."

Doris is feeling better, but still exercises at home to avoid any pain.

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