I met up with a friend who has had similar surgery to myself.
We are both over the first year of the operation and hurdles have had to be overcome in many ways.
My friend is going to tackle a hurdle I myself have already crossed. It is to go swimming for the first time since the operation.
In January 2008 I bought a specialist swimming costume. However, in June 2008 I finally plucked up courage to take the plunge.
I fully understand the feelings my friend is coping with. No one can force her to swim, she has to decide herself.
Once the decision is made as to when she wants to go swimming, she knows she can count on me to go with her and help her through such a traumatic time.
The first thing to be done will be to decide whether to borrow a specialist swimming costume or purchase one. Then I will telephone the chosen venue to make arrangements to make the transition easier.
After the swimming session, I know a few days later m friend will look at her swim wear, bikinis etc and decide what she wants to keep and what she can't wear. When I did this I sobbed.
My wonderful husband supported me through this trauma. He asked me if he could do it for me. The answer was a resounding NO as it was something I just had to do for myself.
I have told her I am there for her, no matter what her needs, whether it be a visit, a telephone call, or some support in any way I can.
One thing I discovered is, it is hard to cope with these things on your own but once someone hear that others have been through it, thoughts of "if they can do it so can I" come into one's head.
I wish I hadn't had to learn these things on my own but I have and did.
Now to be able to offer the support I never had to someone who really needs it is a wonderful feeling.
Also knowing who to contact to get the support needed and finding this information is the most difficult thing. I just wish there was a one stop shop for this but at present there isn't.
That is why I am doing the training course I have embarked on so that others in the same boat as me can cope better knowing there are others out there who care and realise what they are feeling. Other courses will follow I hope so that I can achieve my goals.
It is doing something positive that is keeping me going right now.
Best wishes to you all.