Women’s Health, Cancer, Exercise and the Flute

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Not all health issues musicians face are overuse injury related. Women’s health and cancer can be an intensely private issue, but where do you turn when you’ve had a hysterectomy, breast cancer, lymph node removal, hernia mesh, etc. and want to get back to playing your instrument (in this case, the flute)?

Questions: will I be able to support or play as I used to? Are there exercises I can do to strengthen the deep core muscles and the pelvic floors? How long will the hot flashes last? I’m bleeding, is that normal? How long until I can play again? Do I need to worry about lymphedema? And a whole host of other subjects.

My colleage, Dr. Sandra Cox, FNP and I gave a presentation on this very thing. Dr. Cox starts us off and I take over about 33:45, talking mostly about Lymphedema, adhesions, exercise, and all how is affects how you play your instrument (flute or otherwise).

Topics covered:

  • hot flashes
  • gas pains after surgery are no joke!
  • lymphedema
  • fatigue and/or “chemo brain”
  • reconstructive surgery
  • thyroid surgery: dry eyes, dry mouth, etc.
  • yoga or calisthenics?
  • childbirth concerns as it relates to playing
  • playing with a baby present
  • Pain medicine options
  • C-section and getting back to playing
  • Mastectomies, Lumpectomies, Bladder Surgery

If you would like the handout, please let me know!

I know these are very real issues – I welcome your thoughts and dialogue. Feel free to comment below or send me an email at angela@musicstrong.com – your stories may be more similar to someone else’s story, and I’m compiling them, anonymously, and I hope to share my finding soon, so please share!

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