Self-employed PR professional Mandy Smith, 48, lives in Whitstable, Kent with her partner Alex.
“I always enjoyed a walk, but i would only go occasionally at weekends and i never saw it as a form of exercise. However, this all changed in January when i had to undergo a full abdominal hysterectomy.
In the summer of 2014 i discovered i had very large fibroids on my womb which were causing me a lot of pain and although not cancerous, it was decided the best thing to do was to have a hysterectomy, which had to be abdominal due to the size of the fibroids. So at the beginning of this year i went into hospital and although i was told time and time again what a major operation this was, i didn’t realise the severity of it until afterwards. Getting out of bed the next day was a strange experience. The body is an amazing thing though, and i was surprised how well i could move after such a huge operation.
In the days following, the side effects of the surgery started causing me severe discomfort so i started to regularly move around the ground floor of my house to improve circulation which helped the pain ease and made me feel so much better. From then on, i was conscious that walking was going to be crucial to my recovery and so every hour i would move around the house, building up day by day.
A week later, my mum took me out for a short stroll and although i was clinging on to her for dear life, it felt amazing to be outside. By the third week of my recovery, i was walking twenty minutes every day which soon built up to thirty, and i was so impressed with how it was helping me – physically and mentally.
A lot of people can fall into depression after a hysterectomy, staying in bed, lacking company and fresh air. I cherished my time walking. The first time i walked forty minutes i was thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell all my friends. I was overwhelmed by the support, as it seemed i was inspiring others too.
Now here i am, four months post operation and feeling great. Although i’m back at work again i am making time for a twenty minute walk each day. Amazingly, i’ve lost 8lbs since the operation – usually people gain weight due to inactivity.
I would strongly urge people to try twenty minutes of walking each day for May – it gives you time out to reflect and de-stress. My advice is to start with small steps, start walking for a purpose – to the post-box or local shop, and build it up from there – you will be amazed at the benefits.