September 4th, 2018 – Rachelle Vigna’s Journey and the Susan G. Komen Event

Rachelle is one of our patients who had a gastric sleeve surgery about 2 years ago.  She came to share her journey and her experience with walking 60 miles in 3 days only 3 months after surgery.

Rachelle had a lap band placed elsewhere a number of years ago, and had problem with vomiting after eating for years.  She eventually came to us and had the band removed.  During the months after her band removal, she decided to come to some support groups to hear about the sleeve, and became friends with Kelly, another patient who had the sleeve a year before.  Kelly told her about the Susan G. Komen 60 mile walk in 3 days in San Diego.  Rachelle had a grandmother, mom, and niece who had previously had breast cancer, and her niece had died at the age of 29 from an aggressive breast cancer.  Rachelle decided she needed to do this in remembrance of her family members, and Kelly agreed to do it with her.  They started a 6 month training session shortly after she had her band removed.  3 months after her sleeve surgery, she and Kelly flew to San Diego for the walk.

Rachelle shared many of the pictures and stories from the 3 days, talking about the physical and emotional experience.  They finished the 3 day walk and met a lot of wonderful folks who were there either as survivors, or in remembrance of those lost to breast cancer.  It is the largest walk in the US, with around 2500 walkers going 20 miles a day along the coast.  You can walk as part of a group or team or on your own, but it is very well organized and there are many volunteers – including the San Diego police depart.  Everyone dresses up and the town is bathed in pink for that weekend.  The best part was the camaraderie everyone felt being together for a common cause.  There is food and water all along the route, there are vans to take those that can’t make it up to the next stop, you can camp out every night or stay in a hotel along the route, and when you reach the end of the walk, there are remembrance tents where you can go in and truly remember the person you are walking for, which is quite an emotional and spiritual experience.  Rachelle talked about how everyone helped encourage everyone else, and even pushed someone up the hill to Torrey Pines in a wheelchair.  She said she had a great sense of accomplishment and was so inspired by the time she was there.  I think everyone in support group was ready to go by the time she finished talking about it.  For more information, you can go online to the Susuan G. Komen Website. There are walks in 7 cities, but the largest by far is in San Diego.

Rachelle answered a few questions afterward, and shared that she had regained 10 lbs while going through a recent divorce.  During that time she stopped exercising daily and was eating things she knew weren’t on her diet.  She is now ready to get back on track, and was heading to the gym when she left. 

We are here to help so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to call our direct line at 913-677-6319.