Brenda’s Journey: Building Strength After Injury

Day of Healthy Living Friday, January 3, 2020 Written by

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Brenda decided it was time to take charge and get healthy. As she exercised and gained a new level of fitness, she realized that she was in charge of her body and started enjoying the activity. She had another setback with a recent broken leg. Brenda shares her insights on getting back to healthy.

The day I’ve been anticipating is here! I graduated to full weight bearing and walking! 10 weeks ago, I broke my leg in a bizarre accident in which a theater-goer fell on me. As a result, I’ve had to adjust my usual routine of dance classes, walking around my neighborhood, and up the stairs in my three-story townhome.

My dance teacher helped me find exercise I could do without putting weight on my leg, but my leg is still very weak. Nothing beats weight-bearing to gain muscle! Now comes the challenge. Keep moving, build muscle and strength, and don’t over-do it. Challenge accepted!

I have a standing desk at work, and I find that standing every hour or so and doing toe raises is not only good for building up my calves, it also is a refreshing brain boost. Using a resistance band around my upper knee, I can also do leg kicks to strengthen my hip abductors.

I need to get on a stationary bike as well. Remembering to stop at the gym for a 10-minute pedal is hard. And I feel silly walking in with my one crutch and getting on a bike and then leaving after just a few short minutes. That stems from my lifelong issue of being judged. And really, no one is watching me or timing me (well … maybe they are, but that’s their problem). And since I’m still not driving, I feel guilty making my partner either wait for me or do a short workout themselves. Okay … really … I just need to get over it and do it.

And that brings me to managing my food intake. When I wasn’t moving much, I found I wasn’t very hungry. I usually got by with either two meals a day or a few small snack/meals. Now that I’m back in the office and moving, I’m hungry more often. I need to find the balance to get the right calories into my system to fuel my muscle and not the fat.

I’m finding the key to getting back to my old normal is setting daily goals. Like going down the stairs without a crutch. Walking two blocks. Getting a regular shoe on. For 2020, I joined a virtual challenge: walk 2,020 miles in 2020. I won’t be up for 11,000 steps right off the bat, but it’s one way I can motivate myself to keep moving. Making healthy food choices. Each day is a new accomplishment to unlock. And soon I’ll be back to dancing, strength training, and walking.