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Participant Spotlight: Joanne

November 20, 2021

Joanne joined the Sapien programme to help her prepare for complex knee surgery to fix a problem that has affected her since she was 12 years old. She told us how Sapien arrived at just the right time, as being stuck at home during the national lockdown had meant her mobility had started to worsen. She’s still preparing for her operation now, but her outlook has completely changed and she’s more focused than ever.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Joanne, I’m 53 years old and I’m a primary school teacher. I’ve been a teacher for 28 years so I spend lots of time on my feet, which can be difficult with my knee. I’ve actually had problems with both my knees since I was 12 years old, but because I was young and fit we just left it, and I was able to continue doing lots of sports.

It wasn’t until my thirties that the pain in my knees started to get worse, which started causing problems with my hips as well. I’ve struggled to do much exercise for the last 10 years, but about 3 years ago I had a busy day on my feet and woke up the next morning unable to put weight through my left leg. It was then that I was referred to the orthopaedic surgeon and I was told that to fix the problem I would need a partial knee replacement and realignment of the knee joint.

Why did you choose to join the Sapien programme?

Well, between the time since I was first referred to the surgeon and the decision being made to operate, almost a year had passed. And during that time I had become much less active, and my mobility had started to worsen. 

And then, of course, lockdown happened — which only made the problem worse! So when I got the call about signing up to Sapien, I knew it was exactly what I needed. I was particularly interested in having my own health coach who would be there to offer support and keep me motivated.

What was your favourite thing about the programme?

My favourite thing about Sapien was having the exercise videos. I’m sporty, but I hate gyms. So being able to follow the exercise videos from my own home really suited me.

That, and being able to chat with my coach every week who always kept me going.

What are the main positive changes you’ve noticed since completing the programme?

My diet has improved a lot. My coach had lots of ideas to help me cut back on some of the sugary snacks I was eating, and he set me some challenges which sometimes tested me! He also encouraged me to get my daughter involved — who has been fantastic and a huge help!

I think, in general, my focus has improved. And the programme has given me loads of ideas for how to stay on top of my health.

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

I would definitely recommend signing up. It will help you to channel your energy into what you need to focus on. And it’s all done at a pace that’s right for you.