I have been very active all of my life. You name it, I did it: Gymnastics, track, marathons, I even was a bull rider! The last training I did was for a full marathon, I felt great! Little did I know, my next run would change everything. While training for a 15 mile run, my knee began to hurt, so I went in to get it checked out in fear that it was blown. The doctor told me if I kept running, I wouldn’t have any knees left! He continued to tell me that I would need to have Knee replacement surgery. Devastated by the news, I decided I would join a gym and start on weight machines and the treadmill. I figured I would get a trainer to build up strength in my legs, with hopes of putting off the surgery. I was told to see Abby at Emerald City Athletics, she had her own experience with knee struggles and knew how to train me. Time passed and my knees kept hurting. They began to swell, so I went back to get them checked. That’s when I found out I would need total knee replacement on not just one, but BOTH knees. I had worn through the bone and my knees were bone marrow on bone marrow. I tried everything to put off the surgery, I went in and had gel injections done on both knees after being told it can work for many years. Well, $6,000 later, mine worked for 6 weeks (Thank God for good insurance!)
On New Year’s Eve, my left knee blew up, I was rushed to the emergency room, to be told that it needed to be drained of fluid. The following day, my knee was drained and what came out was not expected. It was all blood, no fluid. My knee was slowing filling with blood and was starting to dislocate! The pain was excruciating! The doctor was baffled, as this was a rare case. He sent my blood work to get tested and thus began the weeks and weeks of testing at hospital after hospital. I went through all types of testing, even Leukemia (this came back negative, but was still VERY scary.) My body was riddled with red blood spots and bruises. My case went all over Seattle, even to a world renowned blood specialist, but no one could figure it out. The blood specialist assured me that she would be able to get me through the surgery but asked if I was sure I really wanted it! At this point, I answered with a resounding: Yes!
The night before my surgery, my doctor told me, they would only be operating on one of my knees because there was high risk I would stroke out on the table. So, they decided to come back for the second knee later. After surgery, I celebrated as I was told it was a success! However, two days after surgery, I developed an allergic reaction to the medicine they gave me and you guessed it, things got worse! My sodium levels plummeted and I retained water, my whole body blew up like a ballon. I began hallucinating as my body began to enter into brain damage. I was an hour and a half away from death. My body had retained so much fluid, that to remove it, I had to urinate 60 pounds of fluid. Eight doctors began working on me at once, as the head doctor took my hand and said “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do for you. It’s up to your body now, but I need to tell you while I can: you are fading into brain damage.”
All I could think of was my husband and family. I was scared and began to pray. I told God “this was not the plan, I need a much better story than a knee replacement!” At an hour and a half away from death, a miracle happened. A chemist Doctor that was on the phone with another doctor in the room came up with the right combo that saved my life.
After weeks in the hospital, I made it through. My liver was messed up for six months from all the medications, I had many blood transfusions, and I was incredibly weak. Well after all that, I still needed the other knee replaced! I came home one Friday night, to have the other knee blow up and start bleeding! My husband rushed me to a hospital in downtown Seattle. Going into surgery, I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up. It’s an awful feeling going into surgery and thinking you might die while in it! But I made it out alive and I felt great after. I had a few setbacks. I had to be taught how to walk all over again, how to step backwards, how to step up on a curb and down, how to walk up and down a stair. I have worked very hard to be able to just walk!
Three years later, I am proud of my progress. I was told to try swimming, NOT my choice of exercise, but I did for several months until I was able to ride a bike. This is when I finally went back to ECA! I was walking with a walker, but I refused to go into the gym with a walker, so, I walked in with a cane, to bike for 10 minutes a day. With Abby’s help, I continued to get stronger and stronger. I told myself, next summer, I would ride my Harley! And I did it! This past summer, I rode to Sturgis, Almost 3,000 miles! I was exhausted from it and it took me two weeks to recover, but I did it!
I had hit my all time high for weight gain and knew I needed to do something to get the pounds off. I was weak, my right leg had begun to twist, and my IT band was getting hooked on my apparatus in my knee. I told Abby “I need you to help me.” Her words to me were “we can do this but you HAVE to listen to me and do exactly what I tell you to do!” When Abby put me on the scale and told me my goal weight I laughed. I told her there is no way I will ever get there. But she never gave up on me.
Her encouragement from a “Come on! One more! You can do it! ” to a smile from across the gym has gotten me to three pounds past my goal numbers! I have lost over 22 pounds and over 8% body fat! I’m amazed beyond words, that at my age of 58, Abby could get me this far!
I have had so much taken away from me with my blood disorder and knee replacement, but I’m determined! I’m a fighter and I have a goal I will achieve! I have to say thank you for the help and amazing support of each and every one of the staff members at ECA! I would not be where I am today, if it wasn’t for each one of the trainers pushing me when I felt I couldn’t do it. However, None of this is even remotely possible without the love, support, and compassion of my best friend and love of my life, my husband, who took incredible care of me throughout this ordeal. It wasn’t an easy road. He was my legs for many years, and the support of this man is absolutely amazing. I have had many adventures but along with my husband, Abby, and the staff of ECA, I will have many more left!
Member of our Monroe club // Shannon Frediani
*Results may vary from person to person