By Member of the Month
We are pleased to announce Judi as LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic’s Member of the Month for October 2018! Judi takes us through her complex medical history and shares with us how personal determination and the proper support and guidance can help us overcome serious health challenges.
My name is Judi Saltman.
The combination of a life-long struggle with my weight and a sedentary life with long work hours, (almost 24/7) in an otherwise satisfying career led to the not-unexpected result of Type-2 diabetes, and other health conditions.
In 2014, after I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, my cardiologist and I discussed his expectation of my developing heart disease and the risks of my sedentary life and weight swings (I had just lost 90 pounds and regained half that amount). He recommended I join LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, promising that it would change my life.
Having done no real physical exercise since my years as a baby ballerina, I was very apprehensive and somewhat ashamed of my physical health and weight when I joined the LIVE WELL family. The LIVE WELL Kerrisdale staff swept those negative feelings away very quickly, unlike any other exercise program I had tried and abandoned over the last 50 years. They welcomed me with warmth, knowledge, compassion, humour and detailed guidance.
It wasn’t until I formally retired at 69 in 2016, however, that I found I could commit to regular, consistent attendance. But life interrupts the best laid plans, and it wasn’t until February 2018, following two hernia surgeries, soft tissue damage from falls, and almost a year of cancer treatment, that I returned on a regular basis to my exercise program. The LIVE WELL staff has been instrumental in guiding me and supporting me through many health issues and setbacks, helping me as I slowly lost weight and focused on monitoring my blood sugars.
My progress has been surprising to me, coming to this program as I was, with little expectation of success. Every day I would think of a reason to stay home, continue my quiet life, resting and reading another book and cuddling my cat. But the great personalities of the staff and the warmth of other members kept me coming.
The staff has been so remarkably supportive in encouraging my journey from baby steps (the one pound dumb-bells) and catching me when I collapsed after three minutes on the treadmill that I first responded to with fear and loathing. Today, I can spend 30 minutes on the treadmill in a state of quiet exhilaration and confidence. The staff has helped me adapt and redesign my exercise program though many health issues. They have mentored me in endurance, self-compassion and striving for better health. I admire the LIVE WELL program so much that I talked my daughter into joining me. Her support and presence has cheered me on.
In August of this year, I had two experiences that highlight for me the talent, patience and compassion of the staff. During my cancer treatment, my Type-2 diabetes blood sugars increased frighteningly – after five months of working with LIVE WELL and making careful food choices, my 3-month blood sugar number dropped two percentage points and I lost 20 pounds. The endocrinologist called this a huge success. I told him that LIVE WELL’s support and my commitment to the program were instrumental in this achievement.
Similarly, when my cardiologist diagnosed me two months ago with a probable blocked artery, and referred me to the MIBI test at St. Paul’s Hospital (the four-hour test involves injection of nuclear isotopes, MRIs, and the stress treadmill), I was expecting a phone call from the cardiologist letting me know what level of heart disease I now had. When he phoned, however, he said – “The test results show that you have the heart of a 20-year-old.” Oh no, I thought, some poor 20-year-old has received the results of heart health from my 71-year-old test results. They switched them, like babies at birth. “Don’t be ridiculous” said the cardiologist, “Go out there and enjoy your life. And remember – keep going to LIVE WELL.” As the individual who originally sent me to LIVE WELL, he knew it had played a big part in the Improved health of my heart.
So, thank you LIVE WELL. Thanks to my friends and mentors on the staff – Arne, Stephanie, Dave, Paul, Craig, Kristin and Leo, among others. And thank you to all the other exercisers who inspire me as I observe their good humor, hard work, and progress day to day and year to year.
Thank you so much Judi for sharing your your story with us. You have shown us that courage and the will to persevere and adapt can help one through the most difficult times. The LIVE WELL family will always be there to support you!