Our Breakthrough Spotlight Member for January is Sarah Amico! Sarah recently had a partial knee replacement, and she shares how being strong both physically and mentally helped her going into the surgery, and is helping her with a speedy recovery!
BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you, Sarah, for being our Spotlight member for January! You have trained with us for a long time, before we even opened Breakthrough! I want to say it’s been at least 7 years…
SARAH: Really? Wow! Seven years? That is the longest I have stayed at any gym, I’ll tell you that! Ha, ha!
BREAKTHROUGH: Well, we are honored! One of the reasons that I wanted to sit down with you today, and there are many… You are an athlete, and we have seen you do a lot of really amazing things over the years. But just recently you had a partial knee replacement.
BREAKTHROUGH: So, I wanted to hear a little bit about how you are feeling?
SARAH: I am feeling great! I am feeling like I can pretty much do almost everything.
BREAKTHROUGH: How long ago was it?
SARAH: 6 ½ weeks ago.
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh my gosh! And you have already been back in the gym for about two weeks!
SARAH: Yeah! And I was walking without crutches or a walker after 5 days, which surprised even me. And I was driving after two weeks and doing all the PT. And I know it was because I was prepared beforehand. Because I was trying to get strong before the surgery so that I would have an easier time recovering after. And I wanted to be strong going in.
BREAKTHROUGH: And it was really inspiring to see how you were so dedicated to making sure that going into the surgery you were prepared. Because a lot of times I think people don’t believe there is a way to prepare, or that it won’t really matter that much. I have definitely known people who, when they are going to have some type of surgery, especially joint replacement, they stop training because things hurt. It doesn’t feel good. You know, you are obviously going into the surgery because there is some pain going on. It doesn’t always feel comfortable to keep training. But you were so dedicated about finding ways to stay strong without going into pain and knowing how much that would…
SARAH: …. Affect it! Also, I think your attitude. I just think I was really focused. I was strong mentally and I was optimistic. I think people also go into surgeries worried, stressed, anxious. And that affects the healing. I think that you just have to go in with a really good attitude and know that you are going to be in pain, but it is going to be fine on the other side. Also pain tolerance -ha, ha- that makes a big difference!
BREAKTHROUGH: That’s true! What helped you with that attitude? Is there anything that helped you get mentally prepared? I know in here, you were definitely doing everything you needed to do physically to get prepared.
SARAH: I think I am just an optimistic person to begin with. Also, I knew, down the road, what I wanted to do. I wanted to get back riding my horse, and I wanted to continue hiking and those things were causing me a lot of pain. I just was thinking about that; thinking about – I want to do this, so I need to plan, and I need to figure out how to get there.
BREAKTHROUGH: Well, that can be a huge motivator for people. Knowing that there is stuff that you love to do that you aren’t able to do as much as you’d like to right now. So, would you say that’s a part of your motivation?
SARAH: Yes, and also to get back in here in the gym. To be lifting weights and feeling strong. Not just hiking and riding my horse. Just to be in the gym, working and being active, and being, you know, back to normal.
BREAKTHROUGH: In terms of your recovery process, what has been helpful to you?
SARAH: Having a target, having a goal, having you guys here helping me along and saying, “Don’t do too much!”
TOGETHER: Ha, ha!
SARAH: “You are going too far, you’re going too fast. You’re trying to do too much…” because I do tend to overdo and do too much too fast. Just having you guys as guides. And actually, I should have said this at the beginning, having you on the front end as well. You guys are here with so much support and I felt so ready because of you – all three of you. RT, and you, and Caleb. I just think that if I were at another gym, it wouldn’t have been so easy. I wouldn’t have felt as strong – going in or coming out or coming back as quickly. I just felt really prepared.
BREAKTHROUGH: That’s good! And we are happy that that’s the case! That’s why we do what we do. I mean, yes, I want to see you deadlifting and doing swings and all that stuff again. But to know that you’re going to be able to go out and do things outside the gym too – that’s why we train! So, we can do the stuff that gets us going. So, one of the things we always like to ask people is “What is your Why?” Aside from the surgery, you have been active probably your entire life…
SARAH: Yes, my whole life.
BREAKTHROUGH: So, what motivates you to keep doing that? What is your Why? What makes you want to keep training?
SARAH: That’s a good question. You know, it has always been a part of me. I have been a competitive athlete and I think the desire to be better. I guess I have never thought about it. It has always just been a part of me. I have always had the desire to be moving. And I love strength training.
BREAKTHROUGH: I know it is a hard thing to put your finger on when it has been a part of your life for so long.
SARAH: It is. I guess I don’t even question it. It’s not like I do it because want to get somewhere or I have a goal. I just do it because I love it. I love feeling strong. I love being in here. I love seeing how much I can do. I was a competitive fencer… Which is part of the reason I had my knee replacement. Because of so much damage in my knees. I am happy to have found something I love as much as I loved fencing. Riding horses, hiking, being in the gym.
BREAKTHROUGH: That is awesome! I appreciate you sharing your story. And I look forward to sharing it with other people so they can know that having a knee replacement, or any kind of temporary set back doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
SARAH: Not at all. And the stronger you are both mentally and physically, the easier it all is!
BREAKTHROUGH: That’s right! Awesome, Sarah! Thank you!