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Helping Cancer Patients Regain Independence: April 30, 2019

“Fate whispers to the warrior, you cannot withstand the storm. The warrior whispers back; I am the storm.” Words, Margaret Heineman says to herself every morning since she was diagnosed with cancer. “My journey as we call it began when I had surgery and had a complete hysterectomy, and then from there they said I would have to go through chemo.”

After undergoing multiple chemotherapy treatments, Margaret developed neuropathy in her hands and feet. Neuropathy is a common side effect of cancer treatment that causes numbness and tingling.

“Many cancer diagnoses have specific treatment-related side effects due to the type of chemotherapy they are receiving, due to the area of radiation therapy that’s performed, and surgeries that are related,” explained Denise Pfeiffer, a physical therapist with Lee Health.

After weeks of searching for help, Margaret and her husband George arrived at the Regional Cancer Center. “It was amazing. When we left there, I felt like a ton of rocks were taken off my shoulders,” said Margaret.

Twice a week, Margaret and her husband drive to Fort Myers from Naples to continue her therapy. “That relief of knowing someone is hearing her and addressing her needs, it takes a team effort, and we have a great team over here,” said Pfeiffer.

Today, Margaret is cancer free, and her neuropathy and balance are improving—Progress that’s giving her hope and restoring her independence.


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