1- Breaking down the Pink Wall: Navigating Mastectomy Recovery

Hi Everyone!

Dr. Ann DeGrey here, and I’m so glad you took the time to read our blog. We are really excited to touch on these topics because it has been an interest of mine since I’ve started working as a Physical Therapist back in 2014. After graduating from DPT school (University of Saint Augustine), I worked at an sports outpatient clinic in Pasadena. One of my first patients included a breast cancer survivor who had undergone a mastectomy on both sides. Being a new grad, I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I was motivated to help her and it paid off! I knew I wanted to use whatever school knowledge I had, I spent hours on research after work, and we were open to trying every type of possible treatment I could think of. Only 35 years old, that patient returned to work as a hair stylist, a full time mommy, and even returned to playing tennis!

Reflecting on that first experience has made me think about how I could help so many women, and some men, overcome the aftermath of breast cancer!

A little more about myself… I continue to treat patients as the Clinic Director at MOTI Physiotherapy Highland Park. I am a Sports Certified Specialist and have worked for Team USA Olympic Athletes and other sport teams. Even though I am a Sports Specialist, I have treated many different cases of mastectomies and have trained many of my fellow DPTs in post-mastectomy care. I thought it was a good time to finally put my experience down in a blog. 

If you’re worried about…

What is about to happen after a mastectomy?

What can I wear? How am I going to put on a bras?

How to manage working? 

How my body is going to feel and change after surgery?

What are my boobs going to look like? Is the scar bad? Can I minimize scarring?

What happens during surgery?

Is it necessary to get physical therapy? How is rehab going to be? 

Can a nipple be tattooed on? 

Will I ever do a clean and jerk again?!

What is my sex life going to look like?

…..you’ll feel right at home here.

Now over to my colleague, Dr. Lei Lee…

Hello everyone! My name is Dr. Lei Lee, and I am a physical therapist that just moved to the Los Angeles area around January of 2021! I treat orthopedic cases, pelvic floor (I love taking care of my mamas and mamas-to-be!), and post-mastectomy patients. I was one of the physical therapists that Ann trained. 😊 It is most rewarding for me to work with women going through a body transformation and get back to doing what they love doing. Ann’s passion was highly contagious and now I also love working with those recovering from post-mastectomy. I believe MOTI provides a great environment to get moving with many encouraging staff members to support you on your journey. Get ready to move when you come here! 

On my time away from the clinic I enjoy moving as well. I like being active indoors and outdoors. I try to hike, run, and swim/snorkel every chance I get.  I have started training for a marathon (Big Sur International Marathon… I grew up in Monterey, CA so it has been on my bucket list). I’m looking forward to get you back to doing the things you love doing as well.


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