Darlaine's Story

Darlaine's Story

My sister has been my rock.

Darlaine was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, and after a lot of research about mastectomies she decided to “just get rid of ‘em”. She embraced her new appearance with an intricate flower tattoo across her chest, each flower representing someone in her family who supported her through her condition. She also found friendship with a number of other women with lobular breast cancer, and together they aim to support each other through the ups and downs of living with the condition.

When I started to think about going back to exercise after my surgery, it was a bit difficult to know what to do, but I had made up a series of small movements. I've taken a bit from yoga, a bit from tai chi and a bit from just stretching. It just really helps with the tightness around my scars doing this. I have a diagnosis of invasive lobular breast cancer. When I first got back in the water, I was really anxious that I'd be swimming and the scar would open and my implants would go floating off up the swimming pool. And then I got this ridiculously floral swimming hat. I probably look totally ridiculous, it's just part of the whole thing.

My sister won't come swimming with me, she's too embarrassed, so she'll kind of sit and watch, probably fall asleep actually. It's really nice to have someone that close, that you, that you can hang out with and that really is supportive like that. Yeah, she's really dragged me through this.

How Darlaine Gets Moving

Darlaine began swimming as a way to loosen the muscles and scar tissue around her breasts after her bilateral mastectomy. In the pool, Darlaine has also created her own exercises and routines based on Tai Chi, which she jokes makes her look like a “silly 60- something in a floral pink swimming hat”. She likes the peace that comes with getting active solo in the pool, and also enjoys it when she can visit her sister on the coast and have a laugh together about how entertaining Darlaine looks doing her movements in the sea.

Darlaine is proud to be learning to listen to her body, resting when she needs and taking it easy after her most recent surgery , saying that “small steps, little and often” is what currently works best for her. She’s still determined to get out walking as much as she can with friends and can’t wait for some time to head down to the beach for a swim in the sea.

Related Resources

Here are some resources related to Darlaine’s story about moving more:

Breast Cancer Now - Information on exercise and breast cancer

Macmillan - The Move More guide

Pool Finder - Swim England