Kirklin Clinic Head & Neck Cancer Support Group,  Birmingham, AL

distributed by American Cancer Society

Pat Sanders, Editor

December 2003 



Inhealth is now offering a prosthesis designed for the patient that has a yeast problem. There are 180 different strains of yeast that have been found in the human body and each of us is different. Most patients will be helped but there will be a few individuals that will still have problems because of the various types of yeast.  Inhealth and Dr. Blom have been working on this for a number of years and Dr. Blom has had very good experience in the trials over the last 2 years with this product.  The new prosthesis is currently on the market for  $150.00. 


The regular indwelling and the patient changeable prosthesis are still available.  However, Inhealth has increased the sizes that are offered in the regular indwelling prosthesis.  Inhealth is also offering prostheses that have a large esophageal flange for the patients that are leaking around the prosthesis. 


Also being introduced is a monometer to assist the patient and the SLP to reduce the amount of back pressure by bio feedback.


A fenestrated laryngectomy tube is another recent product addition. 


You may check these out on the Inhealth web site http://inhealth.com/ where you may click on any of these new products for details.



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The WebWhispers Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean was a great success with 66 people going.  The weather was a bit wet on the first part of the trip but it didn’t dampen our spirits and we had plenty to do.  In addition to all of the shipboard activities, we had a get acquainted meeting and a clinic with all of our professionals helping and answering questions in a totally informal setting.  It was one of the best parts of the cruise.  The individual consultations were fabulous and going on in 4 different corners of the conference room we were assigned.  






Hello and welcome back to THE RIGHT STRETCH, a series of articles on stretching and self-care.   In our last session, we focused on the upper body:  head, neck, shoulders and upper back.  In session two, we are going to focus on everything that has to do directly with the lower back and legs. 


In my seventeen years as a massage therapist, I have taken numerous seminars to increase my knowledge and ability to assist my clients to achieve and maintain better health.  None of these seminars has paid off more than the ones in which I learned to work with lower back pain.  How many of us, at one time in our life, has had a complaint about tightness or soreness in our lower back?  In my practice, the count is well over seventy percent! 


Whether you are a very mobile, highly energetic person, or a little bit more sedentary, maintaining the health of your back is tantamount to your overall well-being.  Walking, jogging, cooking, shopping, even working at a desk job, we all are aware that our ability to remain comfortably upright is necessary to get our tasks finished.


It is my belief that a large number of lower back problems are a result of tightness in the gluteal (buttocks) region of the lower back, as well as through the hips and upper legs.  Therefore, our session today will cover all of these areas.  I will also include stretches for the sides of the torso to complete the session.


As always, remember to follow these simple stretching guidelines:


1.  Keep a slow, sustained stretch. No bouncing!

2.  Go to the limit of your range of motion and hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds and release.

3.  After a stretch, gently return the body part being stretched to its original set position.

4.  If you feel pain-BACK OFF!

5.  Do each stretch 2-3 times.

6.  Inhale before a stretch, and slowly exhale as you stretch.  Breathe a full breath while in the stretch, and release on another inhalation.

7. Relax into the stretch and be aware that other body parts are not tensing as you stretch.


Let’s stretch!!  This session will be done mostly on the floor.  Choose an area to stretch that gives you plenty of room to full stretch your arms and legs out in every direction.  If you lack floor space, you can choose to stretch on a bed.  Have a bath towel, small pillow or rolled up hand towel available, and one or two bed pillows as well.  These will be the tools we will use in this session.  Wear light, comfortable, clothing that allows lots of movement. 


Gently ease yourself to the floor.  If you have difficulty getting down to or back up from the floor, have a sturdy chair nearby to use as a balance or prop.  You can use a table leg as well, if the table is sturdy.  Sit comfortably and take three slow deep breaths.  Take care to breathe slowly and with awareness, not forcing the air in, but rather allowing space in your body to accommodate more breath, then allowing the breath to escape instead of forcing it out.  Very slowly roll your head in a full circle, first taking your chin to your chest, the rolling your right ear toward the right shoulder and continuing around until your chin reaches your chest again.  Notice any areas of discomfort and allow yourself a few seconds to breathe into and release any tight areas.  Then reverse the move and take your left ear toward the right shoulder and continue until your chin reaches your chest again.


Ease yourself onto your back and place the small pillow or towel roll under your head if necessary to maintain comfort in your neck.  With your legs straight, drag your right foot toward your right buttock, the sole of your foot on the floor, knee pointing toward the ceiling.  I will call this “standing your foot” for future reference.  Now, stand your left foot.  Lift your right knee toward your chin, and wrap your interlaced fingers around the top of your shin.  If you need assistance getting your leg up, place the bath towel behind your knee and pull on the ends of it to lift your knee toward your chin.  Pull your knee up toward your chin until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, the muscle group on the back of your upper leg.  Hold the stretch fifteen seconds, and release, allowing your foot to return to standing.  Repeat this stretch three times.  Do the same stretch with your left leg three times.  


Again, pull your right knee up toward your chin as far as is comfortable and interlace your fingers (or use a bath towel) behind your knee.  Without moving your upper leg, extend your lower leg at the knee, taking your foot up toward the ceiling.  If you can get it all the way straight, step up with your heel like you are trying to step on the ceiling.  Hold ten seconds and bend at the knee, then lowering your foot to standing.  Do this stretch three times, then repeat with the left leg. 


Keeping your feet standing, pull them as close together as possible.  Gently allow your legs to move as a unit toward the left floor, twisting through the lower spine, your upper body remaining on the floor, and your legs and lower back moving to the left.  When your left leg touches the floor, take a couple of breaths and open the space in the side of your torso as you breathe.  Bring your legs as a unit back to standing.  Repeat on the same side.  Then do the same stretch on the other side. 


Are you breathing?  Don’t hold your breath.  Be conscious of the role of breathing as you stretch, as stretching is a mild form of exercise.  Oxygen is needed to nourish and cleanse all the tissues in your body! 


Slide one of your legs down until it is straight, and then the other.  Lengthen your right leg by gently stepping toward the wall with your heel, bringing your toes up toward your nose.  Allow your leg to lengthen by freeing your hip, lower back, and even your ribcage.  Can you feel the stretch all the way through the right side of your body? 


If you want to increase this stretch, raise your right arm above your head on the floor and reach as if you are trying to climb a ladder.   If you cannot rest your arm on the floor above your head comfortably, place a pillow or folded towel underneath it.  Repeat on the left side, and then the right.  Step down with your heel and climb the ladder with your right leg and hand, then step down and climb the ladder with your left leg and hand. Repeat this entire motion ten times.  After a little practice, you can feel the rocking mechanism in your hips and shoulders as your spine frees itself with the motion.


Allow yourself a moment to rest and breathe while lying on the floor.  Then gently roll to one side and push yourself up to sitting position.  Place one of the bed pillows under your buttocks to lift your body just a little.  You may find that if you sit closer to the front edge of the pillow, your back is a bit more supported.  If this is uncomfortable for you, add enough pillows or a folded towel so that you can sit comfortably. 


Place your left leg straight out, at an angle from your body, heel on the floor and toes toward the ceiling, and place the sole of your right foot on your left inner thigh.  Sit as tall as you can, lengthening through your spine.  Allow your hands to rest at your sides. Pivot at the waist so that your torso is in line with your left leg and gently bend forward at the hip, so that your upper body gently moves toward your left foot.  Take the utmost care that you are not bending through your upper back or waist.   This is a small movement, and you should feel a stretch through the back of your left leg. Hold this stretch ten seconds and release for five seconds.   Breathe in and exhale as you stretch into your leg again.


Still working on your left leg, point your toes toward the ceiling.  Pull your toes toward your nose until you feel a stretch behind your knee through your calf muscle.  You can assist this stretch using the bath towel, placing it under the ball of your foot and pulling the ends toward your chest, bringing the ball of your foot and your toes toward your nose.  Hold this stretch for twenty seconds.  Release for five seconds and repeat.


Now spend a minute or two massaging the muscles on your left thigh.   Use the heel of your hand to press the muscles, and using circular motions, first clockwise and then counter-clockwise, and be sure to switch hands before one tires.  Rub as much of your left thigh as you can reach, working all the way down to your knee and as far up as the crease at your groin. 


Switch legs, stretching your right one out at an angle from your body, the left one on your right inner thigh and repeat the previous series of stretches and then massage.


Take a moment to breathe again before working your way back up to a standing position to complete this session.  This is a simple standing posture (asana) taken from Hatha yoga.  Stand with your feet wider apart than your hips, toes pointing forward.  Relax and allow any tension to release out of your body.  As you inhale, slowly raise your right arm, palm facing down, out from the side of your body.  When your arm reaches shoulder height, turn your palm upward and continue to raise your arm toward your ear.  As you exhale, slowly bend at the waist, leaning your body toward the left, allowing your left arm to slide down your left leg.  Keep your head in line with your spine and your right arm next to your ear.  Open your ribs on your right side and stay in this stretch through one breath cycle.  Inhale and slowly return to standing posture.   Repeat on the other side.


This asana is called the abdominal lift.  Standing with your legs wider apart than your hips, bend your knees slightly and lean forward from your waist only enough to place your hands on your thighs, right above your knees.  Exhale completely.  Suck your abdominal area in and up, pulling your navel toward your spine.  Hold this position through a breath cycle and then release, inhaling slowly.  Slowly return to standing and breathe for a moment. 


Sense the relaxation in your body and mind and take an internal picture of it.  Imagine yourself doing your daily tasks from this place if you can.  When you are ready, thank yourself for time well spent, make that imagination into a reality, and enjoy your flexible, strong body!!

Shari Aizenman <wrldlygrl@juno.com> 


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