Published on October 07, 2016

Fight fatigue after cancer with this programFight fatigue after cancer with this program

Everyone in Kristine Whaples’ classes may have cancer, but her positive attitude and reassuring nature ensure that cancer is not the focus.  Instead, people who attend the Living Fit for You! Cancer Wellness Program at Falmouth Hospital spend their time building up their bodies and shoring up their spirits.

Enrollment is underway for a new class exclusively for breast cancer patients and survivors.

Beginning on November 2, Whaples, a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, is offering a six-week breast cancer survivorship class from 4 pm to 6 pm every Wednesday at Falmouth Hospital. This first-time program is based on the popular class that she has been bringing to cancer patients and survivors for the past three years.

“Kristine is wonderful, and her classes are wonderful,” said a retired physician who is a two-time cancer survivor. “Everyone loves her and can benefit from her classes. She begins with exercise and weight training customized for each patient, and then has an educational session about nutrition and ways to manage fatigue.”

The woman preferred to remain anonymous because this time she looked so good that not many people knew she had cancer.

“Instead of telling everyone about my cancer diagnosis this time, I just told family and a few close friends. Everyone else thought I was just going to the gym when I left to attend Kristine’s Cancer Wellness Program. Unlike my first bout with cancer more than a decade ago, I looked and felt much better throughout my treatment. With Kristine’s help, I kept moving. She says exercise is the best medicine, and she is right,” she said.

Open To All Cancer Patients

Living Fit For You! classes are open to individuals who are being treated for cancer or who have finished treatment. It is best to enter while you are taking treatment because de-conditioning happens quickly. When you stop or slow down, you start losing muscle, which can start a downward spiral, Whaples cautioned.

Whaples encourages movement, not necessarily exercise, and she scales the amount of physical activity to the individual. It is not a one-size-fits-all program. She helps everyone gauge their levels of fatigue, advising patients to listen to their bodies and stay within the moderate range when it comes to exercise.

“Know your limitations. For example, if you feel very fatigued due to a chemotherapy treatment, only sweep one room at home that day, not four rooms. People who take my class come to understand that exercise truly helps them fight fatigue,” Whaples said.

About 90 percent of patients experience cancer-related fatigue. .

“Your diagnosis can cause worry, anxiety or depression, which can cause fatigue,” she said. “Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, sleep issues, nutrition and staying hydrated can also cause fatigue. These layers of fatigue can be debilitating. My goal is to help each individual deal with each cause so we can chip away at fatigue. For instance, I might link a patient with a nutritionist and a therapist at the hospital. Falmouth Hospital has so many helpful resources.

“You do not have to return to a new normal after cancer. Keep moving! Your quality of life can be the same after cancer,” she said.

“Kristine loves her work, and it shows,” said her former patient. “Everyone who attended our class was positive while they were there thanks to Kristine’s attitude.  I look forward to going back next summer when my husband and I return to our cottage on the Cape.”

To register for the class or for more information, contact Kristine Whaples at 508-495-7685 or

kwhaples@capecodhealth.org. Medical clearance is required for exercise classes.