We spoke to Margaret, a local woman involved in a number of voluntary organisations, about her experiences of the free Cancer Survivorship Programme at Somerdale Pavilion. A big thank you to Margaret for sharing her story…
I first came to Somerdale Pavilion because Macmillan had advised me that my discomfort, due to lower rectal cancer, could be helped by exercise to strengthen my core and the muscles relating to my spine.
I knew I didn’t want to go to a gym as, to be honest, formal exercise is not my favourite activity. I hoped I could find a class for those with health issues so the instructor would understand what I could and couldn’t do. In the local paper I read about Somerton Pavilion and their free courses for cancer survivors. I obtained a referral form for my GP to sign and joined the exercise class in April for 12 weeks.
I didn’t find the exercise class easy but I was determined to give it my best shot. Some sessions were held in the gym which I found quite difficult and I almost walked away, but gradually over the weeks I gained confidence, increasing my mobility and strength.
I had the opportunity to join the Nordic walking class, a six-week course, and it really felt like it was for me! I could feel the benefit and enjoyed the classes. I had used ordinary walking to help my recovery since leaving hospital, in Oct 2015, beginning with a slow 60 yards and gradually a little further each week, although only very slowly gaining pace. Nordic walking would be my next stage of rehabilitation.
With socialising over a cup of tea or coffee afterwards, the wellbeing sessions at Somerdale Pavilion had an added opportunity to meet people. However I believe that one needs to keep challenging oneself and moving on. It is comforting to keep with a friendly group but for me, at least, it isn’t going to help me get back to myself or how I’d like to be.
So, having enjoyed the Nordic Walking course, I challenged myself to join the Bristol Nordic Walking Group and participate in their regular weekly walks at Oldbury Court, Fishponds. I have further challenged myself by registering for a 10K family fun day at Dyrham Park in September, but rather than running I will be Nordic walking and raising money for One25, a Bristol charity that helps women who are trapped in street sex work.
I am delighted to be able to keep my involvement with Somerdale Pavilion by becoming a volunteer for one of their Nordic walking groups, encouraging people who are recovering from health issues.
Nordic walking has really made an unbelievable difference to me – and my consultant is delighted too. Yes!!