• Strong Again: the Journey Back to Strength

    Strong Again: the Journey Back to Strength

    I’m at a gym in Shanghai, China, doing a Turkish Get Up for the FIRST time in more than a MONTH… IT FEELS SO GOOD…! I have missed training, lifting, moving, and enjoying being strong in my body.

    Being able to move, without discomfort or pain, is such an underated gift. A few people close to me know that in May of this year I had some very necessary surgery, a hysterectomy. Lucky for me, I was able to have laparoscopic surgery, but even still it is major surgery. Recovery has been slow, albeit steady.aucgetup-logo

    If I weren’t as strong as I am, I would have been bed-ridden for at least a week or more. The day of the surgery, the nurses try to get you up and walking. Thank you Turkish Get Up. Groggy as I was, I rolled right up out of the hospital bed and was on my feet, surprising the nurse when she turned around to assist me. She was shocked! I am very glad I train for strength, because as it was, the first few days were painful, slow, slow, tired, slow, and more slow.

    Upper body strength allowed me to move myself around in bed WITHOUT engaging my core…I can’t remember when the last time I didn’t want to engage my core! But after surgery, using my abdominal muscles was not fun at all. Having the strength to lift myself and being able to maintain shoulder stability while rolling to an upright position allowed me to be more mobile faster. I became fatigued as the day wore on for sure, but in my opinion, getting up and about and making yourself comfortable is pretty key for recovery, mentally and physically.

    As the soreness and discomfort of the surgery receded, it became very clear that the solid base of core stability and strength I had built over the years would be coming in handy. Reaching out to get a cup of tea, drying my hair, bending over to tie my shoe, closing the car door…all of these mundane aspects of life were suddenly thrown into high relief. I could feel every muscle in my torso working to help make it happen. I could also see how not being strong enough would make even the simplest of life’s tasks difficult and tiring. A friend told me that they were unable to get out of bed for two plus weeks after the same surgery!

    The prescription: no lifting more than 10lbs for 10-weeks. Now that I was starting to feel better, the real work had just begun: not pushing too hard  or too fast. Or basically, I needed to listen to my doctors, friends, and loved ones. I needed to work on recovering. Not so easy as it turns out, but I was determined.

    About 10 days post-surgery, I was scheduled to teach a Ground Force Method Level I Certification at the studio and rescheduling was not an option. Needless to say, I taught the cert from a figure-4 seated position. Training for strength and healthy movement also builds work capacity. So even though it was taxing two days, I was strong enough to get it done. Some very helpful and talented assistants helped make it possible, and it was very successful. A huge thank you to Josh Malison, William Baldyga, Chelsea Whalen, Mara Kapsner-Smith, Anthony Aamodt, and my finger wagging Molly Douce. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

    I also want to thank all the people at Kettlebility, our incredible community of clients and students, friends, instructors, and family. Your continued support and caring has been immeasurably wonderful and is treasured. It has been really heartwarming to have such watchful eyes on me at the studio, and at home – reminding me to rest, to slow down, to NOT pick up that kettlebell, to let others help – to let myself heal.

    There is so much I have taken for granted in being able to be relatively strong and move well. Not being able to ‘do’ gives a better perspective on recovery and the struggle to get back on track, to get myself back again.

    After taking family time in China to visit my new nephew (and forced rest time), I’m just now again embarking on the journey of strength and better movement. Looking forward to the process of getting myself back in the game again makes me really happy, and I decided that sharing the journey might help others who are returning from a life event, injury, or set back of some sort. Just like everyone that sets a goal, I’ve figured out what it is, and I’m starting from the ground floor and taking the steps one at a time.

    Andrea U-Shi Chang
    Master StrongFirst Instructor
    GFM Global Instructor
    Kettlebility Owner
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2Comments
  • Posted by Neil on July 20, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    So well said. Thank you. Strength Training = PreHabilitation. Two years ago, at age 68, I had a hip replaced. Recovery was quick because of a history of Strength Training (and a first-class doc). I mention this only to confirm everything you experienced and shared.

    Reply
  • Posted by Kevin on July 20, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Way to go Andrea, you are an inspiration to all of us!! 🙂

    Reply

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