GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Recovering from a mastectomy can be a long journey both physically and emotionally and a new program is helping women through both of these stages.
It's called the Pink Ribbon Program and it uses Pilates to develop and strengthen muscles that are learning to be used in a new way.
At her studio, Core Pilates & Barre on Plainfield Avenue, owner Kim McDonough gently guides a small group of women through a pilates class who are recovering from mastectomies.
"It's just the worst feeling when you're used to being able to use an arm when it's just not going to cooperate and the pain is there," said Colleen Bronkema, who had hers in April.
All of the women in the class, including Norma Brink who had her mastectomy in Febrary, are on the same journey - discovering their new bodies.
The class is called the Pink Ribbon Program and McDonough is a certified instructor. It's taught on several levels from those who just had surgery, to those who have re-gained nearly all their range of motion.
Each class only has six women, so that individualized attention can be given when needed, but also to encourage the women to bond with each other, which is what helped Colleen to recover emotionally as well as physically.
"To be in a room, even just getting together with a few women, who don't know each other, and that's your common thread, there's just this commradarie and you care so deeply about each other right away," said Colleen.
And to learn that you can be just as strong and beautiful in your new body.