I asked my GP to refer me to Ability Bow in 2014 as I have been undergoing treatment for cancer since 2011. My hospital physiotherapist recommended general exercise for my overall health. A cancer diagnosis made life very difficult both physically and psychologically with invasive surgeries, drug treatments, scans and hospital appointments. Your life is not your own -which spurred me on to reclaim the last six years of my life that have been interrupted by cancer.
I also have incurable Lymphoedema caused by cancer surgery, which weakens the lymphatic system that helps to fight off infections and remove excess fluid. Swelling affects my dominant right arm; this is very painful and has prevented me from doing many everyday things, like carrying shopping or changing a lightbulb. Also as a result of side-effects from long-term drug treatment I have joint-pain, numerous infections, fatigue, insomnia, depression, weight-gain, headaches and dizziness. Before my illness I was pretty active but with cancer treatment everyday life becomes such an effort, you become very sedentary.
Exercise was tough at first but the more I came to the Ability Bow Gym the easier and more beneficial it got. I had one-to-one sessions with Jamie, who gave me an exercise regime that I still do once or twice every week. My regime comprises of recumbent bike, abductors, leg presses, cross-trainer, arm exercises with light-weights, knee-raises and arm-cycles. This compliments the exercise programme I have from my Lymphoedema Nurse, which includes home arm exercises with a small ball to help with lymphatic draining.
The arthritis I have in both feet and left knee has improved and I am gradually losing the weight I put on because of the medication too - it’s coming off slowly and steadily. Ability Bow is such a specialist facility - I know I would not be able to get the same support and positivity anywhere else. I’m now looking forward to coming off the cancer drug that I’ve taken for 5 years , I’m going out to celebrate tomorrow !
Coming to Ability Bow and exercising has made me feel more positive and energetic! I can definitely feel those positive endorphins working! I feel so much part of the Ability Bow community – it’s such a supportive and empowering gym - and it keeps me fit of course! After cancer you’re never the same, you have to find the ‘New Normal You’ and part of this for me has been through exercise.
Ability Bow has done this for me – it’s given me back my life!