Wednesday, August 12

Breast Cancer Survivor Story – Jo Bayles

- October 11, 2017

Mother of two, Jo Bayles, says she wouldn’t change the past few years. A somewhat surprising statement given she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in January 2015 and underwent a mastectomy on her right breast at age 40.

Jo says she doesn’t think she would know what she knows now, or understand life as she does, and “be as fit and healthy…if breast cancer hadn’t happened.”

Next month it will be two years since Jo was given the all clear. She puts that down to the dramatic changes in her lifestyle and the huge support from what she refers to as ‘Team Bayles’. The team includes her husband, Hadleigh, and her close-knit family and friends, a nutritionist, a personal trainer, an acupuncturist, a masseuse, a life coach, and the oncology team at The Montefiore Hospital in Hove where she underwent surgery and chemotherapy.

The biggest aid to her recovery, says Jo, has been exercise.  After her course of chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy, Jo felt shattered with no energy. “I had nothing left in me, I felt like I had totally lost Jo.”

Jo went to see Brighton-based personal trainer, Dwayne Clevett, a cancer exercise specialist. She started doing seated exercises and soon was training several times a week. Within 3 months, she was working out in a mainstream gym and now continues to train 4-5 times a week.

Jo said she was “so blown away by the impact and difference exercise made.

“It gave me a purpose, changed my mind-set and started to make me feel strong, physically and mentally.”

Exercising helped make the scar tissue from the mastectomy more flexible. When she first started, Jo could only lift her right arm in front of her, but now has a full range of movement.

Since her recovery, Jo, who has a sports degree, qualified as an Active IQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor, completed a Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral and is now doing a Level 4 Cancer and Exercise Rehabilitation course.

Jo visits The Montefiore to share her experiences with women currently going through chemotherapy. She is hoping to use her training and experience to hold cancer specific exercise classes at the hospital.

“I feel so lucky to have been under the care of The Montefiore team who have played a big part in my recovery – it was such a positive experience that I want to give something back. I now have all this knowledge and know what a difference exercise can make that I want to share it with women going through a similar experience.

By Clare Calder

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