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Stronger by Barre
Bar Method client, Jody, tells us her story of how she has survived Breast Cancer with the help of the supportive and loving team at The Bar Method. Read Jody’s full story to be awed and inspired by her unbreakable strength.
For as long as I can remember, dancing has been a central part of my life. It is what brings me joy and how I express what I am feeling inside. In my early twenties, I discovered the field of dance therapy; a therapeutic process which embraces the use of dance as a catalyst for change and personal growth. My professional trajectory took an abrupt turn from performance to healing, and I remain actively engaged in the work to this day … 40 years later. Throughout the years, I have continued to dance and explore new ways of being in my body: walking, hiking, yoga, Pilates, contra dance, contact improv and authentic movement. Moving is a way of life for me and a deeply rooted part of my identity.
In 1999, I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and was grateful to have caught it so early. Following two lumpectomies and a 6-week course of radiation, I was back on my feet and fully embracing my life. Dance and massage were the things that helped me heal the most … in addition to the love that I received from my family, friends, and colleagues. Fast forward 15 years to 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. This time I chose to respond more aggressively and had a mastectomy. I am thrilled to report that it was a successful surgery and I made a complete and speedy recovery. Once again, dance, massage, and working out were integral in my healing and recovery … not to mention my emotional processing of the changes my body was undergoing. Life was good and I was feeling stronger than ever!
In late 2016, I was introduced to The Bar Method Tysons Corner studio by Amy Rushton, a Bar Method instructor, and a colleague of mine at the psychiatric hospital where I work. I was so excited to find a form of exercise that connected me to my dancer self and that helped me to celebrate my body as strong and resilient. The instructors were all fabulous in helping me to find modifications when I needed them while encouraging me to work hard and go for the shake! I started feeling bolder each day. I was hooked!
Fast forward yet again, to 2017, when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the third time. As you might imagine, I was getting pretty tired of this diagnosis and I decided to once again act more aggressively, as I didn’t want to have to go through this anymore. Suddenly my Bar Method workout became much more than exercise and pleasure … It was now a way for me to prepare myself for surgery … To connect with my strength and determination. I turned each session into a personal commitment to rid myself of cancer. Every push-up and every crunch provided me with a way to release my anxiety while declaring my victory! I was ready to take on this surgery and I believe my recovery has been as successful as it has been because of the richness of these classes and the support of this community.
As I approach the one year anniversary of my diagnosis and third (and final) surgery, I feel grateful for many things… My life, my good health, and my strong body. I am grateful for my loving family and friends and for the work that I love so dearly and get to do every day. And I am grateful for having a place like The Bar Method Tysons Corner to come to each day to push myself to be stronger … physically, mentally and emotionally.
Q&A with Jody!
1) What do you love about Bar Method? I love how strong I feel when I am taking a class. What I love most about The Bar Method Tysons Corner are the instructors … They are each so different yet similar in their approach. They each bring such wonderful energy and positive attitude which makes me want to work even harder. I also love the way attention is paid to the details of the form and really appreciate receiving the subtle corrections. I also am absolutely amazed at how the entire staff knows you by name … It feels so good to be personally greeted each day when I walk into the studio … Like I’m coming home!
2) Favorite Bar Method move: Diamond Thigh
3) Favorite Bar Method song: Anything funk
4) Bar Method move that you love to hate: Zinger
5) Finish this sentence: Because of Bar Method… I am stronger and better balanced than I have been in years!
You can find the same warm, welcoming family environment at a Bar Method studio near you. Click here to find your local studio!