“Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.”
~ Noela Evans
I never thought that I would start a career in fitness in my 50’s, its amazing where life can take you! Sometimes, the periods that are the most challenging in your life can also be the beginning of the best times of your life. My dragon was a diagnosis of cancer in my breast, but the dragon’s gift was my rediscovered love of fitness; and with it came a passion to share the benefits of exercise with other survivors. And really, is there anyone who can’t benefit from exercise?
In March of 2012, I had a mastectomy of the right breast followed immediately by a DIEP flap reconstruction (they took fat from my belly to reconstruct the breast). Three months after my surgery, I began looking for resources to help with fitness and exercise as part of my recovery; unfortunately, at that time, they were limited in my area for trainers who understood working with a cancer survivor. Based on a referral from my daughter, I started sessions with a local personal trainer. Like many trainers in the fitness industry, my Personal Trainer was primarily used to working with weight loss clients; she had never worked with a cancer survivor or someone recovering from a surgery that included the two surgical sites I had, one from the mastectomy and breast reconstruction, the other on my abdomen, the site of over 200 stitches from hip to hip! I left my first session exhausted, sore and feeling overwhelmed. I literally was considering looking for someone to help me to my car! Despite the challenging first session, I continued with the program and eventually fell in love with exercise. Exercise gave me back control of my body, which I felt I had lost after my diagnosis. Exercise was therapy; as I made progress it gave me back the confidence that I had lost; I felt stronger, even more fit than before my diagnosis. And gradually, I began to feel a calling; I wanted to help other people recovering from surgery and treatment get back control of their body through fitness and exercise like I had done.
In 2014, I took an early retirement from my corporate position to follow my passion to help fellow survivors enjoy the benefits of exercise; became a personal trainer and then made the investment in advanced qualifications as a Cancer Exercise Specialist® (CES) with the Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI). The CETI-CES course opened my eyes to the many things my trainer had missed doing or had me do when I shouldn’t have; I was lucky to have eluded injury or a set-back! In the CES course, I learned that there is a specific protocol that should be followed to ensure the safety and efficacy of any post-operative cancer exercise program, and in my case, it wasn’t followed!
The beginning of MedeXN………
In early 2019, I re-certified for my Cancer Exercise Specialist certification and at the same time became a member of the Medfit Network. I realized that there was a whole movement in the Fitness Industry in the US towards Specializing in Medical Fitness Exercise, that is, to take specialized training to work with clients who may be functional but compromised, like I was during my recovery. I reached out to Andrea Leonard, the founder and President of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI) and explained how I would like to help build a Community of Medical Fitness Exercise and Nutrition Professionals in Canada. Andrea agreed to become our first Canadian partner for MedeXN fitness INSTITUTE and we became the Canadian Affiliate for CETI! We now have 4 partners in the Medical Fitness Exercise and Nutrition field, offering 12 unique Certifications and Courses. Many of these courses are certified by most of the recognized associations including CanfitPro, NASM, ACE, ACSM, ISSA, YMCA, and the NSFA or can be petitioned for CECs.
Our team at MedeXN is thrilled to be part of the movement to bring help to those underserved segments of our Canadian population with chronic illness and compromised health and to be part of the solution in their journey towards their fitness and health goals. Would you like to be part of the Medical Fitness Exercise Movement? Check out our courses and certifications here and learn how you can be part of an emerging Community of Medical Fitness Exercise Specialists!
Heather Creamer is a Fitness and Nutrition Professional who loves what she does! She is an 8 year breast cancer survivor, who through her own journey after surgery and treatment, found a renewed passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle, lost 45 pounds in the process, and has transitioned that passion into helping her clients to achieve their own health and fitness goals; with a speciality practice in Cancer Exercise.
Heather is a proud member of the NSFA, a Personal Fitness Trainer (NSFA, Nova Scotia Fitness Association and ISSA, International Sports Science Association), a Cancer Exercise Specialist (Cancer Exercise Training Institute) a Certified Coach Practitioner (Certified Coaches Federation) and a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (R.H.N). She has certifications in Mat Pilates for Cancer Exercise, Bosu Balance Trainer and Group TRX.
Heather also earned an MBA from the Sobeys School of Business at St Mary’s University.
Heather is the current Canadian National Affiliate for the Cancer Exercise Training Institute and the Chief Operating Officer of MedeXN Fitness Institute (www.medexn.com ), an online provider of Certifications and Courses (CEC’s) for Health and Fitness Professionals, including the Cancer Exercise Specialist® Advanced Qualification. She is a co-author, (along with Andrea Leonard, Founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute), of “The Survivors Guide to Lymphedema: What you haven’t been told- And what you need to Know”, which will be published this fall.