Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Swimming After Surgery (SAS)

Swimming After Surgery (SAS) was born in October 2010.  The aim is to help ladies who have had breast cancer surgery regain their confidence by learning a new skill or improving their swimming ability.

Following surgery everything changes.  Many people feel they are being stared at due to the possibility they could be wearing a wig, or a prosthesis.

I went through all these feelings myself in 2008 and wanted to do something to help others overcome these fears and barriers.

In January 2008 I bought my first mastectomy swimming costume.  The next step I thought was going to be easy which was to go back into a swimming pool.  It took six months to pluck up the courage and eventually ask for help from my local leisure centre.

In April 2010 I was speaking to a friend who had had a mastectomy.  "Now you are on the road to recovery, what would you like to do?" I asked

"I would love to be able to learn to swim but I can't afford lessons." 

The next day I telephoned the local council to see if there was a way I could set up a mastectomy swimming group.

I was advised to speak to the local breast cancer support group, obtain feedback and go back to the council at a later date.

I followed this advice and at the breast cancer support group I was asked why I only wanted mastectomy patients.  Lumpectomies leave huge scars too. 

Well I had to rethink the project and had to come up with a name that could expand to other types of surgery in the future.

Swimming After Surgery (SAS) was born.

October 2010 was the very first session of Swimming After Surgery (SAS).  I was undertaking a Level 2 Web Design course so while it was half term the first session of Swimming After Surgery (SAS) took place.

I had envisaged being on poolside giving encouragement.  The ladies who attended that evening had other plans, which was for me to be in the water with them.

Once I had completed my college course in January 2011 I was back every Wednesday evening to Swimming After Surgery (SAS) to nurse it along and to ensure the ladies were enjoying the sessions.

January 2011 I was fortunate enough to commence a Level 1 Teaching Aquatics course.  I completed this and passed in March 2011. 

This enables me to help the ladies in the water with the knowledge and confidence that I can teach safely in the water.

Wednesday 15th February 2012 proved just how much knowledge and skill I have gained.  I had a new lady who was a non swimmer attending the session.  As the sessions are to be pre-booked I knew that I was going to be busy.

Within 3/4 of an hour this lady was swimming widths with just a woggle held out in front of her.  She was smiling and so was I.

This is what Swimming After Surgery (SAS) was set up for.  To build confidence and learn new skills.

I am certainly learning new skills in and out of the water.

Life is certainly full of challenges and I am loving everyone of them.

Best wishes to you all

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