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Midway through 2012, in the prime of my new career as a personal trainer, I sustained a knee injury while training with a client. The prognosis was bleak, I needed knee surgery. Not the news any trainer wants to hear, and like most trainers, I muddle through training clients with a little hop in my step. Surgery was scheduled in early January of 2013 and physiotherapy would hold me through until then.

The year 2013 was a special year for me - I was turning 50. Yes the big five-0! I was actually looking forward to it. Really! I was in the best shape ever and my business had grown exponentially. I was happy, healthy and with a little knee surgery I’d be all fixed up and as good as new! Brilliant! But things were going to play out a little differently for me then I expected. As December rolled around with a busy Christmas schedule things were winding down with my clients giving me more time to prepare for my impending knee surgery. Workouts were curtailed but I still managed to get a good hardcore workout in. December 20th - I remember like it was yesterday - my husband decided to join me in my workout.

There’s always been some healthy competition and comeradery between us, encouraging each other through tough workouts, so I was up for the challenge. Halfway through our workout I felt a small twinge in my lower back. Not too concerned I continued through till the end. Everything was good, a little sore, but good. The next day, however, was a completely different story. I was in pain, a lot of pain. Ice, heat, legs up, legs down, standing, sitting not matter what I tried I was uncomfortable and it was getting worse. By December 25th, Christmas day I ended up in emergency with a morphine cocktail and Drs prodding and probing to find out what could have brought this seemingly healthy gal down. An emergency MRI revealed three herniated discs and a disc fragment impinging on the main nerve root. Great! I was left with severe back pain and sciatica down my entire right leg into my big toe. This continued for several weeks with a pharmacy at my bed side and the inability to walk upright for more than minutes at a time. Needless to say my knee surgery was on hold indefinitely.

I was mad, upset and getting severely depressed. Wow, turning 50 sucked! I was broken and falling apart at the seams. As for my clients, they were all waiting with baited breath and all eager to get back into their routines. I had nothing I could tell them but to hang on and I’d be back in action in no time. Months passed and my neurosurgeon delivered me the news - I wasn’t a candidate for back surgery and it was just a matter of waiting it out. Even though my pain was subsiding with the help from various therapies, the days turned into weeks the weeks turned into months. Not able to work, I was feeling doomed and my clients were seeking trainers elsewhere. I felt weak, with no energy, my muscle tone was gone and even walking was a challenge. I felt totally deflated.

As the month of May approached my back was stable enough for me to go ahead with my knee surgery. It was a success! I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Therapy continued through the summer and I was gaining strength and starting to feel somewhat whole again. That’s when it hit me! An epiphany! I was so used to going hard and fast I couldn’t think of life any other way. Through this whole ordeal I was forced to slow down. I began to see things a little differently and the term fitness started to change as well. I start to visualize fitness through a more holistic approach. My mental attitude had to change before my body could respond! We all have to overcome hurdles at some point in our lives, it’s how we choose to deal with them that matters. My recovery is still a work in progress, I just don’t let all the negative attitude get in the way. Enjoy what you do, do what you can to live an extraordinary life!

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