/ Turning Negatives Into Positives

Turning Negatives Into Positives



Turning Negatives Into Positives

Donna McDowell

So just when training is really becoming fun and I’m seeing real improvement in my fitness, along comes an injury. Not too bad in the beginning but soon starting to effect my ability to do some movements. A trip to the orthopedist results in a diagnosis of advanced osteoarthritis of the knee. But he says I’m too young for a knee replacement so we will work with more conservative treatments and I should continue to exercise because movement is good for arthritis. I give the conservative treatments a try. Over the following year I continue to train. There is no improvement with the treatments and I continue to have increasing difficulty doing some movements and increasing pain.

The old me, before I started training, would have just said “oh well, guess I should stop exercising because it hurts. That is the easy road. But the new me just could not give in to that idea. I like training and I love lifting weights and getting stronger, why would I give that up? Although the orthopedist continued to tell me that I was too young for a knee replacement it was becoming pretty evident to me that the only thing that was going to improve my knee was a knee replacement. So, I continued to train with the new goal of being the best possible candidate for a knee replacement.

I am not going to say that this was an easy process or that I did not become discouraged at times, because I really did! I was very lucky to have a very good trainer and friend (Jeremy) who provided tremendous encouragement. Jeremy was able to modify exercises for me so I could accomplish them and came up with a myriad of new movements and exercises I could do. He was even thinking ahead and teaching me things I could do after the surgery to work my way back.

When I finally got the the Orthopedist who does knee replacements he said I was more than ready for a knee replacement. For the 6 weeks while I waited for my surgery day I continued to exercise and prepare for the surgery from a fitness standpoint.

My surgery was on a Thursday. I reported to physical therapy on Monday morning to begin that journey back on crutches. I was not sure what to expect from this process. By Friday I was on a stationary bike and was instructed to just rock my leg back and forth to try and get some range of motion back in my knee. I made a full revolution and continued to do so for 1.25 miles. The Physical Therapist was very surprised by this. I was elated. I started back in the gym doing light training just two weeks after the surgery, on a rowing machine 18 days after surgery. Probably not the norm, but just shows you what not giving up maintaining fitness can do for you.

Injury does not have to mean stop what you are doing! You may not be able to do all the things you did before the injury but you can do something. I could have given up and said I hurt too much to exercise but I didn’t and it has made all the difference in my recovery from a pretty big surgery. I won’t be running marathons but you will see me at the gym getting better and stronger, doing what I love.

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about the author


Heather’s passion is motivating others to bring them to their fullest potential both physically and mentally.
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