Whilst I was in hospital having treatment I had no energy what so ever and most exercise was not an option. Being in one ward for over a month at a time does horrible things to your fitness level. I would get out of breath doing the most day-day tasks, like showering. However when I had breaks from my treatment, and I was allowed to go home, I did make a real effort to go out and get fitter. I use the term ‘get fitter’ very lightly. There was no way in hell I was ever going to go for a run or do any vigorous exercise. My fitness plans then centered on taking the dog for a walk without fainting. I was often over taken by what looked like the oldest person in the village.
As the days went on I started to be able to do greater distances without getting so breathless. However, each time I made any real improvement I would be back in to St James’ for my next stage of treatment. Once I had finished my treatment, my body was weaker than it had ever been. Admittedly, it was very hard mentally, as well as physically, but I made it my goal to get my fitness back to where it had been before my diagnosis as soon as I could.
On the 14th December my Hickman line was removed. This was an amazing day! Yes the Hickman line is incredible in terms of the benefits it offers throughout your treatment, however I was not sorry to see it go. This meant no more dangling cords, no more worry about getting an infection, and finally getting a decent nights sleep! But most importantly it meant that soon, I would be able to get back into a swimming pool. Once my neutrophils (the best indicator of immune function) were high enough, which took until the 21st Feb, I was allowed back into the pool. This might not sound particularly exciting to some people but swimming has been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember. When I was ill I would (quite literally) dream about jumping into a pool and feeling the water against my skin. My eyes welled up when I could finally jump in and make my dreams a reality. My first session back was incredible so thank you to the York water polo boys for giving me the reception I got!! After lobbing Matty (the goalkeeper) a few times in net, I felt like I was home!