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Participant Spotlight: Dorathy

November 20, 2021

Dorathy joined the programme to help her prepare for her upcoming total hip replacement. But after years of struggling with pain, and seeing her weight steadily go up, she was becoming frustrated. Her results since joining the programme have been truly inspiring — she’s lost 13kg, and feels fitter, happier and healthier than she has done in years!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 68 years old and I’m a widow. I have 2 grown up children, and 4 grandchildren. My family all live nearby and they give me great support. 

I suffer badly with back pain and arthritis. I’m waiting for a new hip and a new knee, and after that my consultant has said he will take another look at my back.

I live on my own, and I try to cope on my own as best I can.

Why did you choose to join the Sapien prehabilitation programme?

Well it was when I saw my consultant that they suggested I sign up for the prehabilitation service being offered by my hospital. I wanted to do anything I could to help myself ahead of my operation.

 I’m 68 years old, but I don’t feel old. And I wanted to get back to doing the things that I used to do!

Since completing the programme, how has your approach to managing your own health changed?

Well, before joining the Sapien programme, I thought I was managing my own health as best I could. I had been asking for help from different people for years because since taking the drugs for the pain in my back I had put on a lot of weight. And I knew that the extra weight wasn’t good for the pain in my joints or in my back.

The doctors didn’t want to take me off the medication because they thought the pain in my back would get worse. I’ve always eaten very sensibly, and I don’t drink alcohol, so I was finding it incredibly frustrating that I just couldn’t shift the weight. I felt like nobody was listening to me, and I could see myself getting lamer and lamer.

In my first session with my coach, I asked if there was anything that could be done to help me lose some weight. Straight away, my coach said he would be able to help. He worked with me to make small tweaks to my diet, and gradually increase my level of activity during the day. It’s difficult for me to move around because of the pain in my back and joints, but we came up with a plan together that worked for me, and it’s still working… In 12 weeks I’ve lost 13kg! My coach should be bottled and given out on prescription!

Since losing all that weight, have there been any knock-on effects on the rest of your health?

I feel fitter. I’m not as lethargic with carrying all that extra weight around.

I also feel mentally better. I used to feel as if I was asking for help but not getting anywhere — it was like I was banging my head against a wall. Now, I’ve got a more positive attitude. I know that I have the power to positively change my own health.

Has your mindset changed at all in relation to your upcoming surgery?

I feel more confident about the surgery because I know the exercise I’m doing now is strengthening my muscles, and I think that will help me to recover more quickly after the surgery.

I’m getting the support I need. My attitude is that if I’m prepared to do the work, and someone is prepared to give me the help I need, then this will work. I feel as if I’m going into that surgery in the best shape possible, and that I’m going to get back on my feet more quickly after.

What was your favourite thing about the Sapien programme?

My coach was really friendly, and made me feel at ease. They guided me in the right direction, but I never felt pressured. It was like we were a little team. And I think working with my coach, I was able to make excellent progress.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining the Sapien programme?

Definitely go ahead with it! Listen to your coach and work with them.

Update via text message

As it's eight weeks since we last spoke on the phone I thought I'd update you. My weight now is 71.7 kg [from 85kg] and I have to say I feel fitter in myself and much happier going forward for my operation with the loss of all this weight and the progress I've made. Many thanks again for all your support, Dorathy.