At age 14, I lost my right leg to cancer. The good news is I survived the cancer and now, many decades past my teens, I feel blessed. Because I have a high-level amputation, I chose to use crutches for mobility.
Outside of my work as a writer/editor in the federal government, I have pursued an active life over the years, participating in equestrian sport, swimming, walking and dragon boating. But, like most people, especially persons with a disability, wear and tear caught up with me. Around 2005, I developed osteoarthritis in my knee and elbow. A long-time riding instructor, I gave up teaching riding, as the hours of standing and walking in the barn and arena were putting too much strain on my knee and elbow. I gave up dragon boating, as it become too much for my knee. And I could no longer embark on long walks in the Gatineau Park. Life was beginning to feel like a process of “giving up” things I enjoy doing.
Then, I discovered LiquidGym and all the wisdom, services and encouragement they have to offer! I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been going to LiquidGym, but I think it’s been more than four years. Guided physiotherapy and exercise in the water and on dry land have helped me strengthen my leg and mitigate knee pain. While I am not hiking the hills like I used to, I rarely even take a Tylenol. My plan is to put off having a knee replacement as long as possible, and perhaps even avoid it altogether.
Another huge plus of being at LiquidGym is that the facility is completely accessible. Management and staff have addressed every detail, including grab bars in the change rooms, and non-slip surfaces water may be on the floor, such as around pools and showers. With my knee and elbow issues, I find it increasingly challenging to get up easily off the floor. After a swim, I’m wet, of course, and if the floor surface is both wet and slippery, too, it’s a daunting combination to defy gravity and stand up! At LiquidGym, the pools are adapted and above ground, so it’s safe easy to get in and out.
At present, I engage in weekly personal training sessions with Dan Burns. He tells me, “We’re going to do…” then describes and assigns the exercise, and stands back and watches! The “we” is “me,” of course, and I cheerfully do the assigned exercises under Dan’s watchful eye, fuelled by his jokes and stories. The workouts vary from week to week, and progression is steady and rewarding. Dan seems to understand just how much to ask for; I never worry about getting injured or overdoing it. And I’m amazed by how great I feel afterward. My sessions with Dan at LiquidGym are truly a high point of my week. They’re helping to keep me going forward, and to enjoy the process, too!