Share a little bit about yourself.
I am the founder and director of Cancer Rehab & Integrative Medicine (CRIM). I have specialized in oncology physical therapy and lymphedema treatment for over a decade and developed several successful oncology and lymphedema programs at multiple hospitals and clinics in Austin and Albuquerque. After working most of my career in the hospital settings I saw the need for more holistic multidisciplinary approaches to cancer healing and recovery. This need led to the creation of CRIM. I was born and raised in Austin, TX and returned to Austin as quickly as possible after graduate school. When not working I enjoy sewing, costuming, puppetry, dance, and any activity that helps me find my inner child and playful joy.What drew you to work with cancer survivors and/or caregivers?
As a young adult my grandmother was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer and mother with breast cancer (twice.) Many more of my family and friends have dealt with the diagnosis of cancer throughout my life as well. Therefore, I have walked through the cancer journey on several occasions as caregiver, family member, and friend. It was around the time of my mother’s first diagnosis that I realized the powerful impact oncology rehabilitation and integrative medicine can have on a person’s life both during and after cancer treatment. This was what drove the passion to dedicate my career to the cancer population. This focus has evolved into creating a wellness center supporting the mind, body, and soul of those in the cancer community. Four years ago I opened Cancer Rehab and Integrative Medicine which offers mind-body-integrative practices including yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy and other healing modalities.
What has your experience been with the emotional impact on a cancer survivor’s physical recovery?
Emotions such as grief, fear, anxiety, depression, and isolation are common in the cancer community with both those dealing with the cancer and their caregivers. There needs to be a multidisciplinary approach to healing and recovery. In my clinical practice as a physical therapist it is clear that the mind-body connection is powerful. In order to truly thrive both the mind and the body need to be a focus.
How do you help people with emotional recovery and what interventions do you use?
The multidisciplinary approach at CRIM has a powerful impact on healing. Along with my rehab and physical activity prescription for my clients we discuss mind-body-practices and integrative modalities. Our healing team includes yoga therapists, mind-body coaches, acupuncturists, massage therapists, Reiki masters, certified aromatherapists and dietitians. This team ensures that clients have the tools they need to not just survive but thrive.
What self care practices do you recommend for recovery and healing?
Physical Activity, Healthy Nutrition, Mind-Body Practices, Hydration and good sleep hygiene, Counseling, Journaling, Music, Dance, and Art, time time in nature, social support and community.
What are your favorite resources for helping cancer survivors along their healing journey?
The Society for Integrative Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Meditation site, Capital of Texas Team Survivor and Flatwater Foundation.
WILD CARD: Ocean or Mountains? Tell us more!
My mother is from Puerto Rico and I spent a large amount of my time as a child by the ocean on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Everything about the ocean brings me a sense of peace and joy including the sounds, smells, and sensation of water. I am a mermaid at heart and often dream of the day I will grow my tail! I have the red hair so I am half way there.