03/24/2015 11:32 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT

Breast cancer survivors find strength in pilates - and each other

Connie Hazelwood had not expected that surviving breast cancer would change her.

During treatments, Hazelwood says she focused only on trying to survive. But post-cancer, she suddenly felt very alone as she made the transition back to normal life.

"That old Connie is gone," she told Daybreak Kamloops.

"It's kind of like a little bit of a grieving process — of grieving who you used to be, who you are now, and I didn't see that coming at all. I just thought everything would be back to normal."

While Hazelwood is still recovering, she says a pilates class in Kamloops that is specifically designed for breast cancer survivors has helped improve her physical health. It has also allowed her to bond with other women who have experienced similar circumstances.

"It's what we would call more pre-pilates moves," explained Christine Waterman, owner and instructor at Pilates Tree.

Waterman says the movements are simple and can help increase mobility and correct bad posture.

Camilla Drake, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013, has completed an eight weeks-long pilates program. She says she wanted to be active again after being in treatment for a year.

"You just do what you can," she said.

"I'm still in  lot of doctors' appointments, hospital visits, and things like that, so that's why it's slow. You just got to push it a little bit each day."

To hear the full story click on the audio labelled: Kamloops pilates studio works with women who have survived breast cancer