Barbara joined our Active Recovery programme in early 2019 following gruelling cancer treatment. As a previously active person she wanted to regain strength, stamina and enjoyment of taking part in physical activity after the difficult period of her life.
“I went to a MacMillan event at Pride Park Stadium in December 2018 where Derby County Community Trust had a stand. At that stage I was still undergoing chemo, but I knew I wanted to get involved once I had finished treatment to get back into shape, physically and mentally. My course of radiation took its toll but I was ready to sign up in the following spring.
“For the year before joining Active Recovery life had been on hold, really: surgery, a long course of debilitating chemo and five weeks of daily radiotherapy.
“Having taken early retirement on health grounds, I needed to establish new interests, meet new people and get some sort of routine and fitness.
“I’ve always been active (used to be a trampoline coach and swim instructor, among other things) but I was very aware of my body’s limitations at this time. I was hugely fatigued post-treatment and needed to slowly build up my strength and stamina. “
On joining the programme, Barbara soon joined many classes in order to get a taste of what all the sessions were about.
“I now have timetabled sessions of physical activity every week, which makes me engage, even if I don’t really feel like it that day. Sometimes I can’t, as I have some ongoing issues with joint stability and have to take a time out, and when that happens I miss the classes and feeling part of the group.
“I’ve realised the value of the ‘slow’ classes: yoga, pilates. They are helping me to keep muscle tone and strength, even if I’m too tired for cardio - I have been known to stop and do some stretches and breathing exercises at ‘calm’ places, while out walking.”
With the onset of lockdown almost a year after Barbara had joined the programme, she didn’t want to miss out because of the pandemic.
“I used to be unable to motivate myself to do activity at home: I’d always ‘gone’ somewhere to participate. The online sessions throughout lockdown really motivated me to ‘get over myself’ and I really enjoyed them.
“Everyone at Derby County Community Trust is so friendly. To have contact with positive, smiley people, especially during this Covid craziness, is great. I know the offer of support is always there, should I need it.
“The staff have made a space for us to develop as a group, a community, which has been very supportive in these isolating times. The way you’ve adapted the programme during this pandemic has been fabulous. You’ve thought about supporting us socially as well as with our physical fitness. Hats off to you for teaching on Zoom from your homes. It can’t have been an easy thing to take on!
“You’re keeping me going both mentally and physically, ready for when we are ‘allowed out’ again! I’m struggling with a flare up of joint issues again at the moment and have not done classes the last couple of weeks and I really do notice the difference.
“The endless weeks are given a shape by the Active Recovery timetable – it’s the only way I know what day it is!”
Overall, Barbara has said that joining the Active Recovery programme has been such a positive experience, and if the project could help you or anyone you know in recovery from cancer, please get in touch.