When I first heard about the Pink Ribbon Programme from my friend, who like me had been through breast cancer I did not know what to expect so I went wit an open mind. But after our first meeting with our instructor we all felt relaxed. We were told at length how breast cancer does affect us mentally and physically and with the right help we can feel better about ourselves. The exercise session was very good especially for me as I have a lot of discomfort under my armpit, caused by radio therapy, but with the help and guidance from our instructor it has helped me very much.
I think the programme would be most beneficial to those who have had their operation and at their most vulnerable state of mind.
I would also like to point out how like myself and others if was of great help to talk to each other about what we have all been through and to discuss how we felt because until you have been through cancer it can be a very traumatic time.
I have achieved a lot from the programme in confidence and agility and it has inspired me to carry on with Pilates classes I enjoy them and they help me a great deal.
Mrs Beryl Spendlove, Leicestershire
When I first saw the advertisement for the Pink Ribbon Programme, my first thoughts were "could this help me?", as it was over seven years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As an archer and an archery coach I was intrigued, and eager to attend the programme to see if it would help me obtain more flexibility to my upper body.
The first session felt a little daunting, as breast cancer can knock your confidence. Being with other ladies who felt just the same way was good for every ones morale and we soon became friends. The exercises pushed us all and soon became part of my daily life.not just a short stretching programme first thing in the morning, but how I walk, stand and bend during the whole day.
The programme also introduced us to other activities we could partake in, from yoga to more active Nordic walking, and gave us the confidence to try other physical activities.
I was impressed when I was assessed before the beginning of the Pink Ribbon Programme and again at the end of the six weeks, to evaluate any improvement in mobility.
Was there an improvement to my mobility? Yes and I feel this exercise programme will be relevant and improve the quality of life for all breast cancer survivors who completed the Pink Ribbon Programme not just in the first few weeks after the course, but years.
Mrs Christine E Brooks, Leicestershire
The Pink Ribbon Programme quite simply gave me my life back.
Before the Pink Ribbon Programme I couldn’t walk up the stairs without stopping as I was out of breath. I was very guarded around my operation scar and wasn’t using my right arm fully. I felt lost and didn’t know where to start or how to put my life back together.
I’m so glad the Programme found me as it helped me remember what normal felt like again. It gave me back my energy and focus that enabled me to make sense of everything that had happened to me.
It gave me confidence and exercise to improve my mobility. It helped me to understand physically and mentally how I was feeling and gave me the most amazing, brave and courageous friends.
Since completing the Pink Ribbon Programme I have returned to exercise walking at least 10 thousand steps per day. I have lost 20lbs and I have started back to Zumba and Clubbercise classes. My confidence has rocketed and I now feel energized and positive about my future.
I was so pleased to see the advert in Coalville Eye about the Pink Ribbon Programme. It was the first time I had seen anything offering help and support to breast cancer survivors. I knew I needed to be proactive and sign up because I had been struggling both physically and mentally since my diagnosis and operation.
Prior to breast cancer I led an active life running my own business which was both fulfilling and challenging. Although I attempted to return to work I soon realized I was not up to the physical demands of the job and I wasn’t in a good place emotionally. I decided I couldn’t continue.
I saw the programme as a real opportunity to turn my life around. Well it certainly did that!
My range of movement is almost back to normal and although my anxiety has not disappeared completely, it has reduced to a manageable level. My self-esteem has improved and I am taking an interest in life again. I have started regular exercise classes, I cycle, walk and hoping to start dance lessons again soon. I am also painting vintage furniture as a part-time job which I am loving!
I am so grateful to the Pink Ribbon Programme for helping me get my life back on track. I only hope other breast cancer survivors will have the same opportunity and hopefully earlier in their recovery!
When I first heard about the Pink Ribbon Programme I had just finished 2 years treatment for breast cancer which included Chemotherapy with loss of hair and weight gain due to steroids. This was followed by 2 operations for a mastectomy and removal of lymph glands which didn’t heal and left me with having daily dressings for 6 weeks and I also developed cording. Once healed I had 3 weeks of radiotherapy and I was put on letrozale tablets which I reacted too resulting in me being unable to move due to severe joint pain. At this stage if anyone said anything to me I would burst into tears. During this time, I was attending a minimum of 3 physiotherapy appointments per week and was struggling. I was unable to do simple tasks such as prepare a meal or vacuum my home and I felt very fatigued and lacking in confidence. This developed into a fear of going out to my pre-cancer activities including driving to work just in case I couldn’t get home again.
I May I saw the advert for the Pink Ribbon Programme and enrolled. It was the best decision I have made. I met other women who had the same experiences as me. We had Pilates sessions designed specifically for breast cancer considering everyone’s needs, which having been unable to lift my arm and suffering stiffness restricting my movement this form of exercise helped me immensely. The programme also had guests which enabled us to experience different taster sessions including Nordic Walking and Meditation, along with demonstrations on nutritional smoothies and juices and a local supplier talking about bra fitting after breast cancer and availability, all of which I found very informative.
Encouraged by what I have learnt from my experiences with the Pink Ribbon Programme and how it made me feel, I have joined a Pilates class and returned to playing tennis and I continue to do the exercises using the Pink Ribbon Programme home exercise booklet. I have also invested in own Nordic Walking poles so I can accompany my partner and dog on regular walks.
The Pink Ribbon Programme has enabled me to become more confident, it has left me enjoying a full and active life and I am getting stronger both physically and mentally day by day.
The Pink Ribbon Programme was recommended to me by a friend who had recently completed the course and I’m so glad she diid.
I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy two years ago and had decreased mobility in my left arm and shoulder. The exercises we did in the class have improved that massively and given me the confidence to use that side more. Having been reticent to try Pilates before, the class has inspired me to continue practicing it at a weekly class.
The programme also introduced me to activates I would never have tried before such as belly dancing and tai chi.
Michelle, who runs the course, is an excellent instructor and is very knowledgeable about the after effects of breast cancer surgery. She makes the classes fun and is an all round life coach!
It was very cathartic to share the whole programme with people who had gone through a similar experience to mine. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has been affected by breast cancer.
My ‘In the Pink’ Story
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2017 following a routine mammogram. I had felt no lumps or been unwell, so it came as a complete shock.
In April 2018 following multiple hospital appointments, surgery, radiotherapy and medication I found myself at home, alone and wondering how I get back to some sort of normality. It had taken me a long time to accept the new me.
Prior to my illness I was a confident, outgoing NHS Worker of 34 years, a wife, mother and sister. I had become isolated, seeing only a select group of friends and close family. I had been off work for 7 months and the thought of returning to work was not only daunting but quite terrifying. Loss of confidence, self-esteem, a painful right shoulder and arm reducing mobility had made my mood very low. Although my manager had been very supportive and kept in contact throughout, walking back into hospital to my place of work filled me with fear and anxiety.
However, my best friend received a leaflet from her G.P’s practice (as she had breast cancer several years ago) and suggested with both apply for the course.
Although I then went onto meet Michelle at home, on the day of the first Pink Ribbon Programme I felt nervous but excited. But it was fantastic!!! It was great to meet with other ladies with similar histories, be it at different stages of their treatment. We learnt from each other. The course boosted my confidence and self-esteem and GOT ME BACK TO WORK! We built friendships which remain and undertook activities that I never thought I would do!!!
Most important was the Pilates exercises which were successful in returning the mobility to my arm and thus no more pain. My mobility is now excellent. The exercises were obviously difficult at first but with perseverance and performing them regularly as instructed the results were amazing. I now attend a local Pilates session every week.
My facilitator and instructor Michelle was a massive influence- her passion, enthusiasm and fabulous personality makes this programme the success it is. I certainly would not have returned to work so quickly without this support. I feel like I'm back to the mother wife and health professional that I was a year ago, rather than a cancer survivor with side effects of treatment. My mental health is definitely improved, and I am enjoying life again thanks to the ‘In the Pink’ Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Programme.
May 2018 Programme
This programme is amazing, and I recommend to anyone who had undergone surgery for breast cancer. My initial thoughts were great; someone who understands my condition and will know how far to push me in a safe environment.
I lost movement on both sides due to surgery in 2014 and again in 2016 so one side was stiff and the other still painful. Through the programme I have learnt why my body moves in such a way, why I am now different and how to embrace this, what is connected to what; which took away the fear and supported me to push further and improve. I am amazed at how much movement I had lost due to my treatment; without this programme I would have stayed at this point and not regained movement, strength or confidence. Simple milestone are achieved such as being able to reach up to get a cup out of a cupboard without thinking about it and I have improved so much more.
Michelle spends time to get to know your own condition and the impact of treatment both physically and mentally. For me cancer destroyed my confidence in my ability to move as I was scared of doing more damage, so to talk with someone who understood and was qualified was perfect. Michelle is motivational, bossy when I need it and such fun. I immediately trusted her skill and knowledge which gave me confidence to participate, and to push for improvement more than I initially thought possible. This is supported with follow up sessions up to a year after the programme continues which continues to motivate me.
It is an emotional journey, and as a class we came together and supported each other as we had good days and not so good days and faced our fears. Michelle facilitated this by planning the sessions to include a tea and cake break so we had an opportunity to chat or just listen. As a group we became friends and did not want the programme to end; however, we are mindful that we are now able to move on, thanks to the programme, and there are other patients who need this activity. I recommend this programme and if you have any doubt just find out more about it; it is well worth it.
January 2018 Programme
“I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it and how much benefit I gained from it.
I was quite apprehensive before it started and did not really know what to expect, even though I had heard word of mouth that it was good and that I would be fine.
I was really impressed with the whole thing and even the random belly dancing and Indian drumming was related back to our previous Pilates classes.
The Classes where pitched at just the right level and Michelle made us all feel at ease and capable, she also injected a great deal of humour to all the sessions which was just what we needed. She also passed on her knowledge in an easy and informative way.
The folder we used was really helpful and easy to follow and I am using it at home and all the techniques I have learnt I have incorporated into my daily routine (apart from the belly dancing.)
My mobility has greatly improved and I could tell the difference even after week 2, I used to have difficulty putting my arms through clothes, but no more I’m like wonder woman !!
I will raise this programme with my local doctors and try to get it as a GP referral.”
“I would like to say a great big thank you, to everyone running and delivering this course for people like me who have gone through breast cancer.
The diagnosis left me, along with those I know who have gone through the same treatment, feeling lost, alone and like a freak. The initial diagnosis and operation, which was hard to deal with were nothing compared to the effects of chemotherapy.
Telling my family was harrowing enough, but one person, who I thought was a friend and no longer see, told me to get away from her as she did not want to catch anything. That made me feel dirty and unwanted. My family and real friends however more than made up for this and showered me with love and caring. But this left me frightened to go out and meet with other people. Apart from family I kept myself to myself.
The chemotherapy upset my bowel and I had to cease the course one treatment before the end as my bowel ruptured and was life threatening, so I was moved to a general surgery ward. And I was not the only one this happened to!!! This is a 'short' (ha-ha) summary of what happened to me so you will understand just how much your ‘In the Pink’ course helped me.
I was told about SCTE by word of mouth at a Moving Forward course at Glenfield Hospital by a lady who had already been on the course, Christine, it was one of the best things to come out of that course, the second being meeting with the 10 ladies taking part who have since become daily friends.
I felt really apprehensive about meeting Michelle, SCTE’s programme co-ordinator, for the initial interview; one, because I felt useless and thought people would see me as an undeserving participant and two, feeling so weak that I would let people down.
How wrong could I have been, Michelle put me at my ease and kindly explained what I could gain and give if I took up a place at Mountsorrel.
Day one, feeling very apprehensive, I got to the hall and met the other participants, they were all feeling the same, but we got on very well. It made me feel a little silly, but I understood why I had those feelings. I really enjoyed the first week. It made me remember just how good being with other people feels. I surprised myself with how well I got on. Then I started to analyse my feelings and realised just how much one person had pulled me down...... now could I go on from here?.... or was I really a freak.
Week two even better, everyone welcomed each other and trying a new activity along with the Pilates was great. Michelle was so positive about how we were doing and made everything fun as well as doing a great deal of good.
This went on throughout the weeks and by now I was beginning to believe in myself again. I could do things like before and make new friends and not feel uncomfortable. The way the ‘In the Pink’ course is delivered is inspirational as it's involving the participants, not just getting a collection of people in a room and talking to them. When treatment stops at the hospitals, you are left on your own with no information as to how to help oneself, so the feelings I had of myself just filled my mind and grew. It was a black hole with no way out. Michelle and the programme helped me to climb out of the hole and see the light. I cannot think of anything else that could have done this.
I used to go to Pilates before diagnosis and really enjoyed it, but just going back to the same class where the instructor does not have the understanding that Michelle has would have had me trying to keep up to the standard I was at before. I now I realise this would have been the wrong thing to do. Your course has shown me that some things need to be approached differently but have a better effect.
I was a well thought of payroll manager with loads of get up and go before the bombshell hit me. I thought I had been robbed of life by all that happened. I now realise this is the start of a new part of my life with things to look forward to thanks to your programme of participation in new things with other people. Words are not enough to express just how much better I feel and that I can now go forward and give again to others.”
THANK YOU all so very much.
A post-operative, pilates based, recovery programme.
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Tel: 0300 365 9791