28 September, 2022

“You’re learning about using your body without being too energetic after finishing 12 weeks of chemotherapy,” says Wendy Darby, explaining why she chose to do the Breast Cancer UK Pilates Challenge.

She also appreciated having a set time to do the exercise. All while following a sequence of exercises without having the excuse of thinking, “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow”. And meeting other people in similar situations.

Wendy DarbyThat sense of shared community was a critical factor in the challenge. Wendy feels that women don’t talk enough about health issues. She previously worked overseas in women’s reproductive health. Wendy believes it’s important to listen to your body and not be afraid.

“It’s about being in control,” she explains.

“People need to know about things like breast cancer and menopause, and feel free to talk about it and share their fears and hopes instead of hiding in the shadows.”

Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer after a biopsy following a routine scan. She was determined to take control of the situation as much as possible: “I took photographs throughout the treatment, particularly of my hair and my eyebrows when they went. Because I can’t remember now what it was like. I bought a wig before I started treatment – I wore it for half a day. Although it might be seen as a waste of money, it was a positive way to take control of the situation and not let it control you.”

Wendy believes that talking with people and sharing her experience is the most positive thing she can do. She relates one situation where she chatted with a stranger about the importance of testing, biopsies, and possible surgical interventions.

“About a year ago, I was in a sewing shop and took my hat off to show a friend my hair. Another woman in the shop had just been diagnosed with a lump, and she was petrified of going to get the biopsy. So, I talked to her about what had happened to me and even offered to show her my lumpectomy scars.”

“She seemed relieved to simply talk to someone who understood what she was going through.”

A few months later, Wendy returned to the shop and asked about the other woman’s health. The biopsy revealed the lump was not cancerous. But the shop owner thanked Wendy for taking the time to talk with the woman and allay her fears.

“I’m simply happy I could help her, ” says Wendy. “For me, it’s all about voicing that cancer is potentially life-threatening and talking about it openly, along with getting organised and being in control.”

Since completing the BCUK challenge, Wendy has returned to doing Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, and taking long walks. Although she sometimes swims when her knee plays up – and she remains open to more challenges, including more Pilates.

Does the Daily Pilates Movement Challenge seem like something you would like to complete? You can sign up on our website.

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