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LETTER: We all need teachers in our lives

Reader says learning from friend and client inspires her
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BurlingtonToday received the following Letter to the Editor from reader Susan Stuart, who says she feels inspired by her friend and client going through cancer: 

Finding the motivation to exercise and stick with it isn’t always easy but having the will, strength & courage to do it while facing life with a terminal illness is another.

With permission, meet my dear friend & client Shelly. She came to me with muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, brain fog, a hunched back posture, along with a host of other symptoms.

Shelly is 46 years old & was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer in 2021. Unfortunately the cancer has spread to both lungs. While Stage 4 cancer isn’t curable; treatment, exercise & mindset can improve overall survival & quality of life.

I asked how I could help. “With all the shit that happens to you when you have cancer, exercise is the one thing I can control. The side effects of the illness & drugs have left me unable to walk without aids, so stretching & strengthening will help me regain my mobility & independence.”

After our sessions I asked how she felt. “I feel amazing, more limber, healthier, & I’ve regained my mobility.”

I felt so inspired working with Shelly; her vision, drive & positivity was contagious. I asked how her mindset had shifted? “I have clarity again, I feel more in control of my mind & body. Exercise really reduces the frequency & duration of my depressive episodes. I feel powerful!”

Shelly taught me many things about life during our sessions, I asked what she would say to someone facing a serious health crisis that might be nervous about exercise? “Make the time for it, dig deep & find the motivation. Believe that your life depends on it, an investment in yourself. You & the loved ones around you are worth the effort. “

I asked if she ever felt that exercise might be detrimental to her well-being? “Never crossed my mind, moving in any fashion is better than inactivity. Training with you felt safe, you gave me work arounds to avoid my tumour area & other problem areas. I am so grateful to you for how you helped me during the most difficult time of my life.”

Shelly looks at life from a very different place than anyone else I know. She has stripped away all the ‘stuff’ & focuses on the essentials; a fit body, a calm mind, & a house full of love.

We all need teachers in our lives, Shelly is one of mine!

With love on the journey!

Susan Stuart,
Burlington, Ont.

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