As the largest orthopedic physician group in the Midwest, and one of the largest in the country, you are sure to find a clinic that best meets your needs.
May 3, 2019
Being active and inspiring others to be active is my life! Before my injury, I was very active in cross-fit type competitions, running, lifting, paddle boarding, kickboxing, yoga, etc. If there was a way to challenge and move my body, I was all about giving it a try. I am an elite-level group fitness instructor and kickboxing coach at Lifetime Fitness. I have an active husband and 4 very active children! When we are not in a hockey rink, at a soccer field, football field or gymnastics gym, you can find us hiking, biking, paddle boarding, swimming and visiting obstacle and trampoline parks.
We, as a family, decided to skip trick or treating this Halloween and do something active! We went to a local trampoline to jump and play on the ninja warrior course. And that is where my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt! My kids and I were trying to make it up the warped wall, but I had a very hard fall that dislocated and broke my left ankle and (what I believed to have) jammed my right thumb. I was taken by ambulance to the local ER where they stabilized my ankle and told me to contact an orthopedic surgeon. Sheer panic set in. My whole personal and professional life revolves around me being active and inspiring others and now I was immobile!
I was extremely lucky to have Dr. Coetzee with TCO repair my ankle. The surgery was very successful! But I knew the road ahead of me was going to be a long, uphill climb! The weeks after my surgery I had a lot of bad days! A lot of my bad days were more mentally bad then physically painful. My entire way of life was completely flipped. Instead of me helping, inspiring and motivating others, I was stuck relying on others to help me with basic tasks. I felt like I missed out on a lot, especially during the holiday seasons. I was stuck on sideline watching everyone else play and enjoy life. When things were looking up, at my six week post-op appointment, my surgeon took a look at what we believed to be my jammed thumb and brought in a hand specialist. An MRI the following day confirmed my jammed thumb was actually 2 torn ligaments that required surgical repair! I couldn’t believe it! I was starting physical therapy and now headed back to the operating room. Once again, I knew I was in good hands having Dr. Koch with TCO repair my thumb. Another very successful surgery but this made my recovery more challenging! Regardless, I was bound and determined to get back to where I was before my crazy crash. I needed to prove to myself, my kids, my husband, my coworkers and my group fitness members, that even when we experience set backs - even a horrific injury - you can come back!!
I was extremely motivated and anxious to start and crush my physical therapy, and shortly thereafter, my occupational therapy! My mindset going into therapy was that this is my job for the next 16 weeks. I needed to dedicate 100% of myself during my therapy sessions, make a point to never miss a session and to do my daily exercises at home. My physical therapist, Meredith Butulis, was so amazing and motivating. She was very clear with my plan for therapy and she knew and understood my goals. I felt at every session we made progress so it made going to therapy very exciting! Meredith described my plan as a freight train, we are always pushing and driving forward but in a controlled pace. She was very clear that I could not push my ankle too much or it could reverse my progress. Slow and steady really does win the race! I also had to spend time in occupational therapy for my thumb. I was going to physical therapy for ankle twice a week and occupational therapy once a week. It consumed my life but again, I made it my job to get back!
After 15 long weeks, I graduated from therapy!! I was beyond excited to see how far I had come!! Now another battle was about to begin! I needed to get back to teaching group fitness! As a group fitness instructor, I perform most of the class with my members. Doing every movement with them! I took it slow. I started out by walking on the treadmill and using other cardio machines. I was lifting weights to strengthen my body. And of course still performing all my physical therapy stretches and exercises! And just like physical therapy, I felt that every time I stepped into the gym I was making progress. I had a goal of April 1st to teach my fist class!
April 1st came very fast but I was ready! It was the most amazing feeling to step into the group fitness studio and have the members welcome me back! They seemed equally excited to have me back! Most of them were shocked that I had come back so fast! I did have to modify some movements and do more coaching but I felt complete again teaching, motivating and inspiring others again! Since then, I have added several more classes to my schedule and am now full time again after 5 months of medical leave! I am teaching new formats and piloting a brand new group fitness format for Lifetime! I have also decided to become a certified personal trainer through Lifetime Academy so I can further help and motivate other people to achieve their goals! One of my biggest accomplishments was running with my children in their school family fun run! It felt great to run side by side with them and they all said “Mommy you are running again!”
This could have been a devastating injury but with hard work, determination and an amazing team at TCO, I have been able to comeback!! I have a very positive outlook on my future. I don’t think my ankle or thumb will hold me back from anything I want to accomplish!! I am so thankful for my amazing team at TCO for giving the opportunity to be active again and live my life fully!