Read about our pioneering study with South Tees NHS Foundation Trust here.

Participant Spotlight: Samantha

Surgery Hero
October 9, 2023

Samantha is 30 years old and joined the Surgery Hero programme while awaiting on a procedure on her ankle for management of arthritis. Samantha tells us of the deep bond she established with her coach and how the self-management strategies she learned while working with her coach continue to serve her today.

Can you tell us a bit about your health journey?

I’m 30 years old and I’ve had a problem with my ankle for quite a long time now. I’ve had a couple of operations on it already, one when I was about 15 years old and the other 4 or 5 years ago. 

After the second operation I developed arthritis in my ankle so I needed to have a steroid injection to help with the pain. I’ve always been an active person so having this problem has been quite difficult for me. I used to travel all the time and go on solo adventures up mountains, but since developing arthritis I’ve needed to walk with a stick, so my life really has changed a lot.

Why did you choose to take part in the Surgery Hero programme?

I really wasn’t expecting to be offered Surgery Hero at all. I’ve had surgery before and nothing like this existed then, but as I read more into I just thought this sounds great.

Previously, the support I had received post-op had only focused on the physical aspect of recovery, but having surgery also takes a big toll mentally. My coach has been able to help so much with improving my mental wellbeing, and that’s something I really wish I had had before. 

Since completing the programme, has your approach to managing your own health changed?

Definitely. I feel a lot more accountable for my actions daily and I’ve learned to look on the positive side and be grateful for what I do have in life.

I’ve also established more of a routine around taking time to think and reflect. Being asked the right questions by Charlotte each week really helped me to learn how to get into that reflective mindset and I continue to feel that way now.

What was your favourite thing about the Surgery Hero programme?

I loved it all, but I think having that weekly check-in made me want to do better in my week knowing that at the end of the week I’d be looking back on what I had achieved. We all sometimes need that extra layer of accountability to do the things we know that are good for us. I’m just really grateful to have got someone I got on with so well.

I also really like the information that was provided in the app. It was absolutely amazing. Really well-written and engaging, but also short and to the point without any unnecessary information or jargon.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking part in the Surgery Hero programme?

Do your best to get yourself as healthy as you can before the operation. I didn't realise how important it was before, but it really does matter.

Having surgery can feel quite isolating, and you can feel like just another name on a long list, but when you have Surgery Hero you don't feel like you're going through it by yourself.

It's just amazing! Trust in Surgery Hero, use everything you can from them, and know that there's someone looking out for you!

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