Fighting cancer with exercise |

Fighting cancer with exercise

There are benefits to having cancer.

Not that anyone wants to get cancer to find out, but for Minot, ND, resident Jody Petry, she can count some good things that came out of having cancer.

Petry was diagnosed with liver cancer in March of last year, and after chemotherapy, she was so weak she could barely walk around the neighborhood cul-de-sac.

Her doctor, Dr. Makoni, recommended she enroll in the Trinity Health Cancer Rehab Exercise program at the Minot YMCA. He said it would help her fatigue.

When Jody called her daughters and told them, their reaction was laughter, “because mom never exercises,” she explained. “And mom was going to go to exercise class.” But her family was all for it. “If I missed one, by gosh, I was in trouble. My family wanted me to do this.”

The exercise rehab program director, Russell Gust, worked individually with Jody, designing a workout specifically for her. And even though she was fatigued from chemo treatments, the exercise was good. “Some days I’d be so weak and tired, and I’d rate my fatigue level at an eight (with ten being the highest level) when I got to the Y. But I also noticed that when I left, I felt better and my fatigue level had gone down.”

The strength building isn’t the only benefit to the Exercise Rehab Program. Jody met other people fighting cancer, “wonderful people, that you know are struggling also.” She became friends with Val Babb, another Minot resident who was fighting cancer. They exercised together and the friendship evolved. “Val and I just hit it off. We’ve met there all summer and done our exercises together. We’ve been known to do a lot of talking during our exercising.”

Jody works to be an encouragement for others at the Exercise Rehab Program. As other cancer patients visit the Y, she talks with them. “We try and work people up so they feel better.” And there is a shared friendship, too. After seeing one of the rehab program people at the grocery store, she says, “my gosh, it’s my chemo buddy. We had to talk, to see how each other is feeling.”

The program is funded in part by the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, in conjunction with the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo. The Tough Enough to Wear Pink fundraiser raises money through the sale of t-shirts and other pink merchandise at the North Dakota State Fair, and WGO and the Zoo radio remotes throughout the Minot area. In the past five years (2007-2011), it has raised over $247,770.00 for the program.

The Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo will host a Tough Enough to Wear Pink night on Oct. 5, 2012. Fans are asked to wear pink, and the t-shirts will be on sale that night.

And for Jody, her cancer is in remission, but she’s still enrolled in the program. She continues to exercise, and recommends the program to others. “People who have cancer, I tell them, ‘you have to talk to your doctor. You need to work out. I’m a person who never exercised in my life. But I’ve changed my tune.”

The rodeo is sponsored by your Touchstone Energy Electric Cooperatives and 4-Bears Casino & Lodge. F

–Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo