Tony goes from strength to strength at 65

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Tony Goes From Strength to Strength - Black Swan Health

Cancer survivor Tony Lypka says managing his chronic pain with exercise classes at Black Swan Health is the highlight of his week.

The West Perth resident, who celebrated his 65th birthday this month, has been coming to the classes at Black Swan Health’s Osborne Park gym for over a year. Tony suffers from multiple myeloma, a cancer which affects his plasma cells and bone marrow. He has lived with severe and constant pain for a long time and was diagnosed with the debilitating cancer in 2014.

According to the Leukaemia Foundation four Australians are diagnosed with the cancer every day, totalling 1,700 a year. The cancer has made Tony’s bones weaker and more brittle.

Before coming to Black Swan Health, Tony spent close to four months at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital undergoing treatment for fractures in his arms and legs. This included total bilateral hip replacements, bilateral shoulder joint surgeries and a titanium rod stabilising his femur. During a hospital stay, a physiotherapist suggested he try the programs available at Black Swan Health.
Tony originally took part in STEPS, a chronic pain self-management program and now takes part in Strength to Strength, a circuit-based exercise program twice a week. Led by Physiotherapist Simone Berzen, Strength to Strength is designed to help people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoporosis, chronic heart disease, and chronic pain conditions.

Under Simone’s close supervision, clients like Tony are guided through individualised exercise programs to help them manage their conditions and chronic pain.

“Simone’s a great help. She’s encouraging and it’s a friendly environment. There’s great people in the class, everyone’s friendly and we talk and laugh a lot!”

Since attending classes, Tony has stopped taking all pain medication and relies solely on exercise to manage his pain.

“I thought I wouldn’t ever be pain free and it was driving me mad. Constant pain from the minute I got out of bed until I feel asleep at night. I still have a lot of pain now, but it’s manageable. It doesn’t restrict me from doing anything. I know the exercises has helped me tremendously.”

I can’t live without it. It’s the highlight of my week coming here twice a week, I really look forward to it. I’d come on weekends if I could!”

Another client in the class, George Forrestill, joined the program in late 2015 to manage his diabetes. So far, he has lost 10 kilos and has been able to reduce his insulin dose for the first time in 30 years. You can read his story here.

If you would like to know more about the Strength to Strength program, call 9201 0044 or go to this link.