In May 2012 I was admitted to the Royal London Hospital and remained as an inpatient for 2 months, I had been diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) which is an acute condition affecting the peripheral nervous system. At this point I was not able to stand and had very restricted movement and sensation in my legs and arms. Following discharge from the hospital I used a wheelchair for the following month and then gradually moved on to using crutches until early 2013. I was referred to Ability Bow by the Outpatient Physiotherapy Department at the Royal London Hospital because I required support in regaining strength, mobility and confidence.
I attended the gym for supervised sessions once a week for 10 weeks with Chantelle. A personalised programme was devised for me and revised as I progressed to keep it relevant and challenging. The programme consisted of a full range of cardiovascular exercises, weight training and stretching, utilising the majority of the different equipment available at the gym. Following the supervised sessions I continued to attend the gym weekly until 2014, gradually increasing the amount and difficulty of the various exercises.
Currently I am fully mobile and all my symptoms have been resolved, apart from some residual fatigue Attending the gym had a profound influence on all areas of my recovery. My strength, mobility and flexibility returned steadily. As I was gradually able to do more my confidence also increased and I was able to get back to my everyday activities that had become difficult, such as using public transport and negotiating stairs or escalators. Having regular and tailored support and instruction significantly increased the rate of my recovery and enabled me to regain my independence and return to work much more quickly than I otherwise would have been able to.
A debilitating condition like GBS can be extremely demoralising and having somewhere to attend each week where you could readily feel the benefit really helped to keep motivated and positive. I have kept up regular exercise and run twice a week. I have also entered several charity fun runs. I would like to thank all the staff at the gym who were always extremely welcoming, friendly and supportive. The atmosphere at Ability Bow is always so positive and encouraging and I am really grateful to them and the other gym members who really helped me at a very difficult time. Ability Bow also filled a crucial role for me that would otherwise not have been there, bridging the gap in services between hospital outpatient care and community support.