lady doing pilates

This is Claudia’s story in her own words. It marks ten years since her first cancer diagnosis and ten years of getting back on the bike through Pilates and exercise.

Ten years ago, I started the New Year full of good intentions for my fitness. Five months later, I woke up in intensive care after major abdominal 
surgery for ovarian cancer. 

A long scar down the middle of my belly (needing 68 staples…)… gone any core stability or strength. 
I worked on getting active again, and as soon as I was allowed to, I started doing Pilates with Michelle and Ellen at The Pilates Pod. 

Their experience with people with vulnerable bodies and going through a tough patch really helped.  It was also a place where I felt I could ditch the headscarf when my hair had gone during chemo. Not everyone copes with
seeing a person who looks different. They do, and they do it well at the Pod.
Core strength and body confidence back, I got fit again. 

Six years later, I had a recurrence. Such is life.

Also, a recurrence of that very long cut in my belly, the very long scar, the disappearance of my core stability. 
So the Pod and I did it again! This time my hair stayed though 🙂

I continue to do Pilates every week at the Pod. It helps me, I’ve made friends there, and the regular reminder to my posture muscles stops my spine from turning into a question mark! 
After all, my personality is probably more like an exclamation mark- so my spine better stay straight! 

I’ve been blessed that modern cancer therapy has given me a decade and to celebrate that and raise some funds for ovarian cancer research, I will be riding 100 miles (Ride London 2024) in May – my core will need to do overtime as that’s 8 hours on a bike…! 

Working with the team at the Pod will help!


Listen to Claudia’s story over the last ten years at Patient Voices – insight through first person’s stories

For me, life is like riding a bicycle.

In the beginning, I had to learn, steadied by my father’s hand and by my stabilizers. When I fell off, comforted by my Mutti and Papa.

I’ve always loved riding my bike everywhere, stopping when I wanted and looking at the loveliest around me.
I think I am quite good at riding my bike, but I’ve had one painful fall each decade. I dusted myself off, mended what was hurt, and got back on, sometimes needing to build fitness again, sometimes confidence.

Life’s bicycle has been similar.

In the beginning, I had to learn, steadied by my parents’ guidance and life’s stabilizers: friends, families, and teachers.
I’ve loved living my life, stopping for a break when I wanted, and looking at the loveliness around me.

I think I’m quite good at living my life, yet life’s bicycle has also thrown me off at times.
In 2007, when my Father fell out of the sky, that hurt and hurt, and it took a long time to dust myself off and really live again. We did that together: my husband, my family, my friends.

In 2014, when I discovered I have ovarian cancer, I came off life’s bicycle but i discovered that I could journey on foot for a while!
That year, with all its pain, was also a good year. Time with family and friends; my life’s stabilisers – we had some good times.

Getting back on? Well, they say you never forget how to ride a bike. It took courage, my fitness gone, my confidence for normality a bit shaky but we did it together and I’ve loved it.
In 2018, I got thrown off again with a recurrence of cancer. I dust myself off, we dust ourselves off. It throws those who love me and who I love, and we ride on. Get on with the joy of living, onwards and upwards!

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