Cheryl Haggett sets a goal, works hard, and stays positive. Those qualities served her well when, in 2020, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had her left lung removed and went through chemotherapy.
“I was so scared and so sick. I wound up staying at my daughter’s house because I couldn’t be alone,” recalls Cheryl. All I could do was take a couple of steps. That was it.”
Cheryl’s doctor referred her to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at CMC to help her gain strength and increase her breathing capacity.
“The day I came for intake, I felt awful. Breathing was rough and talking was hard,” she remembers.
Program manager Lorna Marshall, RT, recalls that day, too, “What I saw was someone who was just devastated and wanted—needed—help to start over.”
Exercise specialist Argus Murphy knew that the team at CMC could provide the help Cheryl needed. “She was tenacious,” he says. “People do best when they want to help themselves.”
The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program offers participants exercise and strength training, education, and practical tactics for improving their breathing. It is structured for patients who’ve experienced lung cancer, like Cheryl, COPD, long-term effects of COVID-19, and other lung disorders. In addition to working toward personal goals, patients in the class support each other and look to the staff for encouragement.
“This program has made a huge impact on family as a whole,” says Cheryl. “[Lorna and Argus] have been amazing. They have done so much, they’re like family to me. They don’t push me to do anything. They’re just there and talk to me. I’m a very positive person and I push myself because I know I can do it. I’ve come along way and I want to do more”
Cheryl’s goal at the beginning of the program was to walk 200 feet without losing her breath. She’s far exceeded that, being able to walk miles without losing her breath and tripling the length of time she can exercise. She’ll graduate soon and is one of many patients who will benefit from ongoing support and a pulmonary rehab maintenance program, which Lorna and Argus hope to launch later in 2022.
“Coming here has helped me and I would recommend this class to anybody who has any kind of lung or breathing issues,” says Cheryl. “If they want to get better they will. Lorna and Argus are amazing and they will help them get better!”
Lorna smiles, “It is patients like Cheryl who have accomplished so much despite their diagnosis that inspire us to continue building the program.”
Learn more about our Pulmonary Fitness Program.