Something to smile about on World Smile Day!

Before I was admitted for investigation to the Royal Marsden on the 3rd June, I visited a gastroenterologist who told me that my symptoms were due to constipation and he sent me home with Movicol. With this in mind I thought it would be good to go to a ‘Legs, Bums and Tums’ class to get things moving. I remember at the time not enjoying this class because every exercise I did hurt a lot more than usual, and I remember feeling as though things were moving around in my tummy. It’s still strange to think back to that time now that I know it was in fact ‘Cyril’.

Once I’d started my chemo in June, I felt too anxious to go back to the gym. I think this was because I was worried about feeling unwell, being in a confined space and also picking up a virus. I made sure that I did a lot of walking but didn’t ever go back to the gym.

After having my operation, I knew that physiotherapy would be an important part of my recovery. As I explained in my surgery blog, the Marsden physiotherapy team was incredible at getting me moving post-surgery and with preparing me for managing at home.

As I was discharged from hospital earlier than anticipated, keeping up physio at home was really important. Chai Cancer Care provided me with amazing support because I had  weekly physiotherapy sessions at home. This was brilliant because at that point in my recovery I was much weaker so it was comforting to have these sessions at home. After a few weeks, I started to progress to harder exercises which was a great motivation for me to keep going with it.

Today marks another special day for me – I had my first physio session at Chai Cancer Care in the gym. It felt very surreal entering a gym again. Not only did the session work on my core stability, but I used an arm bike, cycled for eight minutes and even did steps ups! Even though I was very out of breath and tired after the session, I was on cloud nine! It was a huge achievement for me and reminded me of just how far I have come. Now I can’t wait to get my gym kit back on for session 2!

At this point, I want to say a huge thank you to the Marsden physiotherapy team who got me up and moving after surgery and prepped me with exercises to do at home. I also want to thank the Chai Cancer Care physiotherapists who have supported me with my rehab at home. It’s not always been easy and there have been days when I’ve felt really tired and weak from chemo, but I have tried hard to keep up with my exercises as much as I can because they are so important to my overall recovery.

I’ve achieved something big for me today and it reminded me again that ‘Recovery is a process. It takes time. It takes patience.’ Sometimes it feels like it takes everything you’ve got. But there are people who are highly experienced and skilled in knowing how to get you to your goals, and with their support physical recovery is achievable, even when it sometimes feels unachievable!



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