Impossible is Nothing

Posted: May 10, 2010 in Confessions of the CEO, Fitness

I love my job.  I have the honor of working with a great many clients who inspire me on a day-to-day basis by courageously confronting and then surpassing their own limitations.   Catherine is one such client.  There’s a poster in our gym of Ali after he knocked his opponent out – the caption reads:  Impossible is Nothing.  Since meeting Catherine, whenever I see that poster, I think of her.  This is her story.


My Name is Catherine and I’m 51 years old. I joined Capital City Boxing and started the Hit to Fit Program on March 18th.  I cannot believe the change in my fitness level in such a short time – and only doing 30 minutes at a time. The workout is as hard as you want to push yourself and modified if you have any injuries. In the first 3 weeks I lost 6 lbs. I don’t think I’ve lost much more weight but I have lost a lot of fat and put on muscle. I think because of this some of my old injuries are not hurting as much.

Sandy, Sandra and Scott are great. They are really aware of everyone in there and help all the time. They really help keep me motivated while I am in there and also keep me on track as I get easily confused.

Here’s why I get confused:

In 2003 I suffered a work accident which resulted in a traumatic brain injury.  I fell and landed on my head also causing me to compress 2 discs in my neck and tear my left trapeze muscle.   I went through 2 rounds of testing both at the Gorge Hospital and also at UVIC to determine the extent of my brain injury.  After the testing I was told I finished in the bottom 3 %.

Before the accident I was an extremely athletic person. I was raised in the east Kootenai and skied hard for 31 years, averaging 25 days a month. I had the 2nd mountain bike in town when they first came out and had to travel to Lethbridge to get it. I river kayaked for 15 years. I worked hard and played harder. By the time I was 35 I had had 6 major concussions 1 resulting in a fractured skull. I had ruptured both my Achilles tendons and torn my ACL.  I tore the ligaments in my left ankle 5 times. I crashed my motorbike and dislocated both my hips.

After my work accident I was constantly falling both up and down stairs, suffered from and still do to this day from constant headache. My memory is really affected. I cannot remember things from day to day and often even minute to minute. I sleep 12-16 hours in a 24 hour period. If I don’t get enough sleep my ability to function stops. I could not ride my bike without falling and was told I never be able to ride again. I was told I would never ski again. I was told I would never swim laps again. I could not take care of myself and needed help in all aspects of my life. I could not balance on 1 foot. I could not touch my nose.

I still suffer from vertigo and have a hard time getting on and off escalators and riding in elevators. If I close my eyes I will fall. I often stutter and slur my words when I am tired or nervous and because of this have been accused of being drunk – I don’t drink alcohol. If I’m stopped by the police and they ask me do some sobriety tests I will probably fail.

I lost my rotator cuff and my neck was is constant spasm and cracking and grinding. They thought I would not regain my rotator cuff – I did. My neck still cracks and grinds every time I move it.

I was in physical rehab for 2 and a half years and in the brain injury rehab program for 6 months. Since late 2006 I have been on my own as far as any assistance in my recovery. I slowly got back in the pool first and worked up from there. I walked as much as possible and always took the stairs even though I knew I would probably fall.

I never quit trying to do things. I slowly started riding my bike, I fell lots. In 2007 I traded my mountain bike for a hybrid bike and now ride as much as possible. No more single track. I had a bad crash in January of 2008 landing on my face and having to have 2 root canals on my front teeth. I got my bike fixed and got back on. I tried to ski in 2006 and almost killed myself getting off the mountain because of the vertigo. In 2009 I tried again with much more success but no more black diamonds or trees for me.

In 2007 I got really ill and had major surgery which resulted in a post operative infection. I was in the hospital for 10 days on IV antibiotics and then oral antibiotics for another 28 days.

The thing my brain injury has taught me is to accept my limitations for what they are. It has taken me years to figure that out and it is still a process. My job now is to take care of myself. I can do almost anything I put my mind to, it may just take me a bit longer and if I can’t do it its ok.

One of my biggest thrills was to meet George Chuvalo just last month. Not long after I was given my prognoses I was watching tv and there was a story with him. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself at that time. After I heard his story it really inspired me to keep trying. He gave me the little push I needed to get off the couch. He was great to talk to.

That’s about it – Hit to Fit is the best thing going – I would recommend it to almost anyone.


Thanks Catherine – you do a lot to keep my life in perspective.  People often think trainers provide the inspiration – lucky for us we have clients like Catherine who give it right back.

  1. Angela says:

    Wow, Catherine! It just goes to show, everybody’s got a story – yours is definitely inspiring. I really admire your strength and determination, keep up the great work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s