Our member of the month for October is Cindy Hysell. She had always been active with aerobics, biking, hiking, boating, and swimming. Cindy also used to run around chasing kids as a nanny for years. All of this was prior to her cancer diagnosis and uphill battle with her health over the years to come.
When Cindy came to SNW Fitness in 2018, she was in a very dark place. In 2000, Cindy found a lump on her chest, close to her breast. After her primary doctor dismissed her concerns, she went for a second opinion. Cindy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Her children were only 7 & 13.
During her treatment, there came a point where she could literally only shuffle to the kitchen from the living room. By the time she arrived in the kitchen, she was completely breathless. The medicine also made it hard to want to eat or even drink water. Everything made her nauseous. From the extensive treatments, and following 6 years of medications that followed, she paid a hefty toll both physically and mentally. Thankfully, they were able to remove the cancer and Cindy has been in remission and has been cancer free for the past 18 years!
The years to follow were riddled with more challenges including skin cancer, a hysterectomy, and lung nodules. More recently, within the past few years, Cindy was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Her movements were very limited. She had gained more weight than she ever had before and was struggling. Not only was she struggling with her weight but also motivation and depression from fighting so hard for so long. She was used to being told, “you can’t do that”, so she didn’t.
Through it all, her rock, her support, her cheerleader, her husband Larry, stood by her side. She began taking breast cancer survivor pool classes and they also decided to do the HMR (Health Management Resources) program. They did lose weight but it was a struggle after the program ended. They didn’t have the prepackaged meals that they were purchasing from the HMR program anymore. Ultimately they gained some back. This is when Larry decided to look into a fitness program. He found SNW Fitness.
With great consideration, Cindy decided to talk with Heather at SNW Fitness about her situation. They discussed her previous hurdles and her goals, and ultimately decided on starting her with personal training. Cindy was also referred to Dr. Visger, an osteopathic physician, to address her back issues. It was only about 3 months of doing her personal training, seeing Dr. Visger for back and hip adjustments, and the pool classes, before we started to really recognize what great and fast, progress Cindy was making.
She was truly redefining herself, physically and emotionally. Larry, her extremely supportive husband, scheduled summer activities for them to help her get back out into the world, and help lift her out of her depression. They went to a number of concerts, in which Cindy was amazed because she could walk up the stairs. She may have been winded but she was astonished that she could do it in the first place. They also took a cooking class, traveled a little, and went camping. Slowly but surely, Cindy was, and still is, making huge leaps forward with her health.
Cindy stated that what she likes most about SNW Fitness is that the members are more than just another class or client to us. She likes that we focus on the individual person and put our heart and soul into what we do. Cindy also likes that everyone here is friendly, positive, and encouraging. She is very happy with her personal trainer, she likes that they can relate to each other so well and she likes her openness.
Cindy said that she cannot believe just how much her life, physically and emotionally, has changed over this past year. She regained her confidence and self-esteem, in addition to becoming more socially engaged and optimistic. Cindy’s smile and spunk have returned. Physically, she feels stronger and more capable. She is proud that she is now much more aware of her posture and finds herself subconsciously correcting her stance. Emotionally, she feels like that dark place she started at is much further away.
Cindy’s future is looking bright. So many things have changed for the better this year. In Cindy’s words, “doing this program has put a smile back on my face.” She’s excited and thankful for being able to participate in life again instead of just being on the sidelines. She is still very cautious but she has changed that voice inside telling her “you can’t do that” to “let me see how my body will respond to that.”
She had been put through the ringer for years, literally fighting for her life. Cindy is no doubt a survivor. Cindy is an amazing example of getting knocked down and getting back up again. If she could give any advice and encouragement it would be, “you can do it, one day at a time.” Cindy stated that with support, encouragement, positivity, and a little bravery, “you CAN beat the FEAR and accomplish your health goals.” Never give up on your goals.