Amy Lysyczyn, a seasoned Middle Tennessee realtor, experienced a difficult journey leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amy dealt with 7 surgeries, breast cancer removal, and the loss of female organs which ultimately led to menopause at an early age. Due to her compromised immune system and severe asthma, doctors recommended she should quarantine until there were more answers. “It left me depressed and then some,” Amy stated. “What a burden that is to carry, knowing what I was putting my two young daughters and husband through.”
Fast forward to February 2021, when Amy started attending counseling sessions with Dr. Sherian Anderson with TN Oncology in Murfreesboro. During one of their sessions, Dr. Anderson recommended a program that she had recently learned about called the Ascension Saint Thomas Cancer Wellness and Survivorship program. This program was founded in October 2018 and has served over 300 cancer patients. Funded through the generous support of the Ascension Saint Thomas Foundation, the mission of the Cancer Wellness and Survivorship program is to facilitate healing and support for patients and their families from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. And that's exactly what it did for Amy.
In the weeks leading up to joining this program, Amy was anxious, scared, and everything in between. When she walked through the doors in March 2021, she didn’t realize it would change her life forever. “For the first time in a year and a half, my mind was free from all the depressing and scary thoughts that consistently rushed through it all day, every day,” Amy said. “I got to talk, laugh, and openly discuss body issues as a result of what I’d been through without judgement all while working out and getting physically and mentally healthier.” The support groups associated with this program played a crucial part in Amy's recovery. This group meets twice a month virtually. At these meetings they are open discussions about life, struggles, positive moments, and everything in between. There is also a virtual mindfulness meditation and a chance to work with a nutritionist, if desired, as well.
Quantez Davis, nicknamed “Q,” is an exercise physiologist for the physical part of the program. Q is from Brownsville, Tennessee, just west of Nashville. He attended MTSU where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in exercise science. In fall 2019, he became an intern at Ascension Saint Thomas for their wellness center. “Instantly, I knew this is where I was supposed to be,” Q said. “It was a very genuine atmosphere. The patients and staff were all so welcoming.” At the end of his internship he was offered a job but, due to COVID, his position was placed on hold until further notice.
In January 2021, his manager approached him with a new opportunity. Ascension Saint Thomas was launching a new series for their Cancer Wellness and Survivorship program and he wanted Q to join. Without any hesitation, Q jumped on board. “ I was ecstatic,” Q said. “I didn’t have to think twice about this opportunity.” Q met Amy during her time at the wellness center and they instantly became friends. “Amy had an amazing story and such a great attitude,” Q said. Amy was working hard on her shoulders, due to her past surgeries. Her movement was very limited. Q worked with her every session, determined to help her, and by the end of the program, Amy was able to fully move her shoulder again. “I believed it was going to happen,” Q said. “Seeing her smile and finally reach her goal, it was such a great celebration.”
He tells his patients everyday: “It’s not about where you start, it's about where you finish.” Q has created a safe place for women like Amy. “Coach Q changed my life forever,” Amy states. “He is a gift and could not be a better ambassador for this program and Ascension Saint Thomas as a whole. I still have a long way to go in healing and health, but this program sure gave me a place to start living again.”