Success Story: Ellen M.

It was supposed to be a normal day.  I was supposed to get my MRI scan, then the results from my neuro-oncologist. She would let me know everything was stable and would schedule another scan in three months. I knew the drill.

This time, I, unfortunately, was informed the brain tumor was growing and I needed to begin an aggressive 15-month treatment. I was not prepared to hear that devastating news at all.

After completing radiation, the fatigue was simply unbearable. I could barely get out of bed to eat. I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without being out of breath, I couldn’t even tidy up my room without my muscles being sore the next day. My doctors recommended I start the BFit BWell program. I thought they were crazy. I couldn’t imagine doing the program based on the current condition I was in.

I started the program on the exact same day I started phase two of my treatment which was chemo. I was terrified. I was terrified of failure. I was terrified I’d be the most out of shape person they had ever seen and they wouldn’t know what to do with me. I was scared that gyms were for athletic people, and this program was for people who knew things about exercising. I was terrified of not being their “typical client” and that they would be shocked when I didn’t know gym terminology.

On my first day at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, I was met with kind, non-judgmental, uplifting trainers that met me exactly where I was and did not make me feel embarrassed or feel out of place. I was not where I wanted to be in terms of the way I looked and the way I felt due to treatment side effects. The time the Bfit Bwell trainers took to understand my health background to make sure they created a plan that was appropriate for me was so important to me as I’m sure it is for all participants of this program.

During the program, my trainers celebrated all my victories with me, such as walking up the stairs without getting out of breath, losing weight, being able to carry laundry baskets and cleaning without pulling muscles and simply just having MORE ENERGY. It motivated me to keep going and keep getting stronger to see what else I could do! What other possibility was there?

There were days that chemo would make me so weak and I could not do what I had the previous week. I got very upset about that. So, I cried. I got so mad at myself and my body for not cooperating that I just cried and the BFit BWell trainers would have a seat next to me on the floor and be my friend. They would remind me that I was in the gym, and that alone was a huge accomplishment. They’d remind me how far I had come since day one and that I was going through something incredibly difficult. They would listen to me until I was ready to get back up and keep going.

BFit BWell is a life-changing program. I feel so much stronger physically, mentally and emotionally after completing it. It has given me so much confidence in myself because it made showed me I can do something outside my comfort zone.

It is my sincere wish that everyone who is physically able to participate in this program would take the leap and do it! I think it empowers cancer survivors no matter how weak they feel or where they are in treatment to take control and be able to say, “I did it! It was hard, but I did it!”.

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center