Jasmine’s MOVE Journey

After having had a heart condition since I was three years old, I am no stranger to hospitals, tests, operations etc., despite this I’ve always tried to look on the positive side and live life to the fullest; making the most of each day, keeping as active as possible and being grateful for what I do have. My condition caused me to go into heart failure when I was around 11 years old, which had a massive impact on my life, as I was unable to do the things that I had always loved. I ended up having a cardiac arrest at school when I was 12 years old, resulting in an emergency heart transplant.

This was a devastating time but after much recovery I was able to gradually get back to ‘living’ again. I was able to throw myself back into all the things that I loved doing. From dance clubs at school, attending a musical theatre group, to completing my Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. Now as an adult, I am a teacher of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, as well as teaching a performing arts group at the weekends.

In February 2023, I was diagnosed with a post-transplant lymphoma. I spent most of my treatment as an inpatient in hospital, undergoing bowel reconstructive surgery and intensive chemotherapy treatments. Getting through each day was a struggle, but I knew I needed to fight and get through the treatment working towards that end goal. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to go into remission in November 2023. I feel very fortunate to be given another chance at life again.

However, the period of time after having treatment, when the reality of the situation hits you, was very surreal. Although feeling happy and relieved that treatment is over and that I was getting better medically, it felt like I was miles away from who I was before my cancer diagnosis. Could I really rebuild my life all over again? I had no idea that the after effects of treatment would be so intense. I recognised it would take a while to mentally recover and process as well as feeling physically fit again after being in hospital for so long, but I had no idea where to start.

The 8-week MOVE programme was signposted to me by the hospital and when I applied, I was initially apprehensive thinking that I wouldn’t be ‘good enough’ to complete the programme. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I feel I have been so supported in this journey and it has greatly helped to not only build up my strength and stamina, but also my confidence and helped me in processing the whole situation.

I would highly recommend the programme to anyone who is going through a cancer journey, regardless of their physical fitness/ability. Each week’s sessions were highly personalised and tailored to suit me, equally having the flexibility within the week as well. I always looked forward to my weekly video call session where we could catch up and share how the week’s exercises have been going and completing a session together over the call. These sessions have been so valuable.

Since finishing the programme, I am looking forward to starting back at work and getting involved with the Move 5k Your Way groups. Although my journey to recovery is still ongoing, the MOVE programme has really helped me towards this goal.