The DivaCare team today introduces our new non-profit initiative to bring women a free mobile app that offers resources making it possible for them to optimize their functional recovery after breast cancer surgery.
When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, they receive a lot of information about their treatment options, including mastectomy or lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
Our all-volunteer team was inspired by our friend Dr. Carolin Dohle, a medical rehabilitation physician and specialist working at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, NY. A year ago this month, in 2015 she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and was impressed by how many resources were at her disposal regarding initial treatment options and her prognosis…
But she was surprised by how little information there was about how to fully recover from the effects of the surgery.
Having had a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy she did not expect to have pain and restricted range of motion for a long time after her surgery.
Following her lumpectomy, she was given a booklet and a link to a video about how to stretch; however, these exercises were neither scalable nor progressive, and even though she regained a lot of range in her arm back, she still experienced pain and swelling when she attempted to return to her usual activities, including playing with and carrying her then 2 ½ year old son.
By scouring the internet, she began to uncover resources that could educate her on how to regain strength in her arm.
She asked for a referral to a lymphedema specialist, and learned that she had a small amount of lymphedema, and unexpected complication after lumpectomy. After 10 months of having pain, limited movement, intermittent swelling and heaviness in her arm, with the help of her Physical Therapist, Carolin regained full range of motion, started rebuilding strength and eliminated the swelling in her arm.
DivaCare was born to support Carolin’s dream to bring information and resources to women, making it easier for them to take steps to live beautifully after cancer, finding their strength when diagnosed with lymphedema.
DivaCare also is committed to helping young women, moms and future moms, who have a different experience being diagnosed and treated for cancer, to lift their spirits through community and creativity, helping them live beautifully after cancer.
The DivaCare app will be available in early 2017 and will always be 100% free and continually evolved with the help of the community, and developed by volunteers as a guide for the recovery journey.
DivaCare is a tool that:
- can help screen for symptoms of lymphedema
- will connect women with lymphedema specialists in their area
- will connect with other survivors through social media
- will offer helpful information on breast cancer surgery
- will provide tips on how to deal with lymphedema during when exercising, traveling during all four seasons
- will provide exercises…some that are freely accessible, some that have to be unlocked by each woman’s PT according to their level of ability and which can be gradually increased in intensity
- will send woman friendly reminders to stretch, move, and exercise
The DivaCare team, inspired by Dr. Dohle’s personal experience and desire to help other women and their families around the world to recover safely and beautifully, is grateful for the opportunity to develop and offer this platform – and thank you for your interest and support!
Here’s to the journey ahead.
The DivaCare Team