Meet Tara Hoffman
Diagnosis: Tumor in right breast
Treatment: Lumpectomy and then an axillary dissection to remove lymph nodes. This surgery left me at risk for developing lymphedema, and I had heard some women managed this with exercise. When my doctor introduced me to ROW, I jumped at the chance to do something active as part of my treatment!
Currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer? I started rowing during chemotherapy. My energy level was low, but participating in water practices actually boosted it! Being part of a group working together was a great physical and psychological support. I’m just wrapping up a course of radiation now, and rowing in the fall head races.
Did you have a regular exercise regimen before joining ROW? I rowed in college, then fell out of the exercise habit in adulthood. About eight years ago I took up running and love having fitness back in my life. Staying active during treatment has helped me manage side effects and made me feel better overall. Mind you, I’m not breaking any records, just getting out there and doing what I can!
When did you join ROW? I came to check out the water practice before my doctor had cleared me to row. Riding in the coaches’ launch on the Chicago River with the industrial backdrop and commercial barge traffic was a little intimidating! But the novice rowers I met were super welcoming. They were preparing for their first race in Milwaukee and their enthusiasm was catching!
Thought from Tara: “I came for the exercise, but soon found I was getting much more than that in camaraderie and support. My teammates look out for me and ask how I’m doing. They’ve all been though similar treatment and can offer wisdom or just an empathetic ear. Then we all get hands on the boat and get some rowing in!”