How Tai Chi helped me through breast cancer

When Dorothy received her breast cancer diagnosis, it felt like a death sentence. At the age of 66, she had already retired and was looking forward to teaching and spending time with her grandchildren. Cancer has a way of divorcing the mind from the body. It is hard not to feel betrayed by something that has turned against you. Dorothy turned to her love of tai chi to get her through the fight of her life.

Tai chi (TIE-chee) is often described as “meditation in motion” because it promotes serenity through gentle movements–connecting the mind and body. Simply watching graceful movements of people gliding through dance-like poses as they practice tai chi is relaxing.

Along with reconciling her mind and body, Tai chi enabled Dorothy to have a purpose in life, “It gave me positive movement.”

Throughout the process, the American Cancer Society a huge support and comfort for Dorothy. A member of the ACS and student in one of Dorothy’s tai chi classes brought in a video documenting several women’s experiences of breast cancer and examples of prosthesis to wear after treatment.

This student made such a great impact that now Dorothy has devoted 8 years doing Relay for Life for the ACS. “Every year, my tai chi class would go to their opening ceremony,” Dorothy said. “Every year we would take up collections and each year we would double or triple the collections. And I’m still doing it. Maybe after this year, after I turn 80 I might stop doing it. Maybe not.”

“Being a 13-year breast cancer survivor, I feel very blessed. There’s so much hope now compared to when I went through the treatment. I feel that I’m still here for a reason – to help other victims of breast cancer.”