When breast cancer knocked at my door, I had no idea what the journey would be like. A few weeks after my double mastectomy with lymph node removal, vulnerable with my flattened breast and painful, hard-feeling expanders, I showed up at Vanesa’s clinic. Seeking understanding of why I could not lift my arms past 90 degrees on that first visit, she looked at me and said, yes, you can. During my journey, Vanessa’s thoughtful and personalized care has been instrumental in my healing process, finding my renewed sense of self and working through the heaviness and pain lymphedema causes. In her approach, she is specific to care for the impacted areas, yet holistic to support the overall healing from the traumatic health experience. Treatments are like a good workout, helping me feel a sense of relief for days.
Silvia E Gianelli
Patient of 3.5 years
I feel very fortunate to have been randomly paired with Vanessa.
After a series of tests failed to diagnose the condition of my legs, I was referred to a Lymphedema therapist. I feel very fortunate to have been randomly paired with Vanessa. From the very beginning, she explained everything in terms I could understand and reassured me that my condition was treatable. At the very first session, her knowledge and compassion quickly overcame any tendency for feeling vulnerable or uncomfortable in these circumstances. Each of my questions was addressed professionally, thoroughly, and without judgment. Within just a few sessions with her, the results became very much apparent and continued to improve with each regular visit, as she conscientiously monitored my progress and offered suggestions for things to try at home. Now over a year later, the “tools” she gave me are still keeping the symptoms in check. Vanessa comes highly recommended.
Vanessa has put me on a very positive and motivated track.
I was referred to Vanessa several years ago by my surgeon after developing post-surgical lymphedema in my arm. At the time I was in my late 70’s, and I will soon be 80. I was initially depressed (not to mention completely ignorant) about the diagnosis. I had no experience with any type of bodywork therapy. I was fearful that my life activities would be limited and that my condition was out of my control and would just continue to get worse. Vanessa changed all that and has put me on a very positive and motivated track.
Her knowledge and skills are extremely impressive. She conducts her sessions with professionalism combined with warmth and depth of experience. She reaches all the “right spots” and has been a great source of education about my body, and what my realistic expectations should be about my specific situation. She answers all questions fully and respectfully and does not “talk down” or use unfamiliar medical jargon.
Vanessa is a font of knowledge about lymphedema product resources; she knows and can refer to all of the right providers, and has guided me in finding reputable sources of garments and equipment. She is familiar with insurance coverage requirements and has facilitated coverage for me a number of times. She coordinates with my doctor and reports to him as needed. She is versatile and creative in her thinking and strives mightily to find solutions to problems. She has introduced me to the life-changing compression pump I now use daily, as well as a variety of sleeves, compression bras, exercises, nutrition, and the whole gamut of how to live with lymphedema. I really appreciate Vanessa’s supportive “you can do this” philosophy. I would wholeheartedly recommend her to others. Being her patient has truly been life-changing for me.
The immediate well-being that I feel after our sessions often stays with me for days.
I first met Vanessa in the Spring of 2004, shortly after I had moved to Santa Cruz, CA from New York City. I was looking for a therapist to help me manage the lymphedema in my right arm brought on by aggressive treatment for breast cancer. After that first round of sessions, we lost touch, reconnecting about ten years later in 2015. I have been seeing her regularly every two years since then, in 1 1/2 hour weekly sessions that typically span 9 weeks.
Of all the many health care professionals I see every year, I find my sessions with Vanessa the most rewarding. I look forward to seeing her, and the immediate well-being that I feel after our sessions often stays with me for days. Vanessa exudes a joyful exuberance that is impossible to resist. I always sense that she is giving me her full attention – not just by her words but in her physicality as well. She is equally at ease in problem-solving mode, as in just being “present” and sharing a moment together – as a listener, and a witness.