What a great day today was!  It was my first day back teaching Kettlebell since my operation for breast cancer (DCIS/LCIS) a week and 4 days ago.  Nooooo, I wasn’t on the floor swinging the bell and pushing iron over my head! Let’s talk about returning from injury. This is my story.  You make your own story, k?

**No that lady in bed is not ME! Silly 😉


KNOW YOURSELF.  Spend enough time (hopefully before your initial injury) practicing listening to your body and knowing how/when to stop or scale back.  If you aren’t one to scale back when needed i.e. illness, lack of sleep, poor nutrition…. then it will be harder to do so when returning form injury. It’s never to late to get smart though!


PREPARE: Spend enough time outside of the gym gently testing your limits and range of motion. Notice, I didn’t say “workout at home” or “ignore your doctor’s recommendation.”  Here’s what I did.  I raised my arm just a little bit, it hurt… I lowered it.  LOL!  for realz. That’s the beginning. But each time I try, gently, I know what my range is… right then. That’s all you need!

PRACTICE: If you’ve done your home work (aka, you’ve already built good strength before your injury).  When I got home from the hospital I couldn’t use my arms for much more than filling my sleeves! (And that was super hard!!) But I have good core strength.  I was able to get up and down from sitting or propped up on the couch without my hands!  Yay me! That’s something I COULD do.  Did I do 15 x 3 sets of crunches?  LAWDY NO! I just used what I could when I needed. RECOVERY at this point is actually resting.

TEST: So… now I can stand up for a bit… without having to hold up my over swollen right breast! LOL! (I mean, O.M.G.) So, while at the kitchen sink I did 10 air squats, nice and easy… just to see what I had.  I had 10, maybe 25 actually.  But I did 10. I held my chest, so I couldn’t accidentally use my arms if I got stuck at the bottom.  No use ripping stuff, right?

TEST MORE: I made some outings.  STARBUCKS!! Woot! I got tired after a couple hours of sitting and chatting. Yay me!

TEST EVEN MORE:  I visited the gym.  I got tired after about 40 minutes standing and chatting. It was SO defeating!

REST MORE: I managed my pain with pills as prescribed by my Doctor. Only as needed.  I tried taking only 1 when I needed two, I took the second. Some days all I did was sleep and take pain pills. …and eat.  🙂 OH! And post LOTS on Facebook.  Narcotics are awesome! LOL!

SHOWTIME: I brought Guy with me in case I had misjudged my readiness and needed a quick ride back to my pain pills and my comfy couch! In my absence amazing veteran members have been guiding classes in my place. A few of them were at the gym this morning.  I came in, got my bearings, wrote my  lesson plan on the white board and suddenly needed to lie down!  HAHA! (rolls eyes, thinks “THIS IS LAME!” Goes upstairs to lie down.) I then remember I may need to eat. So, I make myself a protein shake since I tend to eat light in the morning and … it’s actually show time. I feel better by the time class starts.

I had at least FOUR people either offer to help or ask me if I was sure I knew what I was doing!  That was awesome!  This class was a little more difficult since there were new people and training new people is quite labor intensive. (and I LOVE it!)

Here’s what I did and didn’t do.

1.) I started slow.

2.) I picked up NO WEIGHTS

3.) I stayed within my range of motion when demonstrating.

4.) When I couldn’t demonstrate I asked one of the other class members to do so.

5.) I did NOTHING with my right side. (I explained this as I went along)

6.) I only did what I was confident and comfortable doing.  If hadn’t felt good or there was any pain.  I would have stopped.

7.) I have TWO rest days planned.  I may or may not need them.  😉

Thanks everyone for reading this over-simplified explanation of getting back in the game.  Thanks for worrying and caring about me. I hope you can take this model and apply it to yourself when you need it.  There is no shame in sitting down, leaving early, calling it quits and trying again.  I look forward to growing in strength with you and I look forward to working through set-backs with you.

There are ALWAYS set-backs. 

Be well. Be strong. Be smart.

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