And so it begins!

I would be lying if I didn’t say the last year has been one of the hardest of my life.  Yes, worse than Katrina.  Shocked?  Well it is true.  When your life and livelihood are all about running and fitness and health and being a personal trainer, breaking your back and not being able to run can really stink.

Most of you know I had an accident in Vegas last year while at the WLSFA event.  Some may remember me giving my talk at the event on crutches! I think I left my hotel room a total of 4 times in the five days I was there.  (Thank God For Cari, Connie and Frank)


It has been crazy ever since.

Literally, since May 18 when I fell, I had not slept more than two hours at night without waking in pain.  I had 24/7 pains from the broken bones pinching off nerves.  I literally felt ALL THE TIME as if someone were stabbing my butt cheeks and grinding the knife and the pain would shoot all the way down my legs and usually stop at my shins, but sometimes go all the way to my ankles.  I literally forgot what it felt like to NOT hurt.

I refused to live my life doped up on narcotics, and so I learned to live with it and I did okay until right after Christmas, and even walked a half marathon last November with the broken back.  Yes I was slow and instead of improving on my previous time, I was in the last 200 people to finish out of about 16k, but I did it.

Here we are at the finish!


Then, around January, things started to go a bit downhill. It got to the point that a simple walk in the grocery store left me in sever pain the next day.  Sitting for more than a few minutes was torture and I would limp for about the first ten steps every time I stood up.  Ben and I love to dance and even slow dancing would leave me in major pain.  The bones were just not healing and were slipping more, and unstable and my ortho and I decided it was time for surgery.  The bones had to be stabilized.  We had tried PT, epidural, and all sorts of conservative treatments.

Since January, when things really started to decline, I have had to stop all forms of exercise and cardio at the request of my doc which was hard.  It is pretty discouraging to be a personal trainer and gain 25 pounds because you cannot exercise.  If you ever wonder if there is a real correlation between exercise and losing or maintaining weight, I am here to tell you THAT YOU MUST HAVE THE EXERCISE component. At first I let it really get me down and i thought,” how can I be a good trainer when I cannot exercise??”  Then I realized my injury had zero to do with my knowledge and ability to train my Online Fitness clients.  I had to immediately stop the pity party and most, except my closest friends, were not even aware I had one for a short time!!! I love what I do, I love my clients, and I know I am a damn good trainer, regardless of my current situation.  In fact, they are not just clients to me, they are like extended family.  This is why we call the group our Fit and Flourishing Family.  It is my big extended family that is spread all over the country and I love them all!

May 20th I had spinal fusion surgery to graft the bones back together and make them stable again.  So far, this is the best decision I have ever made.  The 24/7 pain is gone.  Of course I have surgical pain, but that will go away in time.  I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be able to sit for more than 5 minutes without sharp pains shooting down my legs.  It is such a relief, in fact,  that sometimes I sit here, even with my incision pain and cry from disbelief.  It may seem silly and dramatic to some, but when your reality is 24/7 pain for a year, having it gone is the most incredible feeling EVER.

I have slept more in the last week than I had in a year.  I absolutely cannot say enough about Dr. Clinton Howard and The Orthopaedic Group and also about the staff at Mobile Infirmary.  I received excellent care and know I am on the road to recovery.  I do not think I could have picked a better surgeon and would recommend him to anyone I know.

I have lofty goals.  I want to run again.  That is still unsure because Dr. Howard is not sure if the grafts will be able to take the pounding of running.  But until he says absolutely never, which one doctor DID tell me right after my accident, I am going to remain hopeful.  Last number I was given was a 60% chance I could run again one day.

My immediate goal is to at least walk the 10k with my charity group this coming January for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  My SUPER LOFTY GOAL is to walk the half marathon.

In the middle of all of this I have also gone back to school at the University of Alabama to get my degree in food and nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian. Combining being an RD with being a personal trainer will give me even more to offer my clients and radio listeners.  I am really excited about this new journey as well.

My first big event post-op will be in August.  Ben and I will be speaking at the Obesity Action Coalition‘s “Your Weight Matters” Convention in Phoenix.  It will be so nice to see people from the community again and to be speaking.  I cannot wait!

So my comeback begins!  Now I get to be on the journey of losing this 25 pounds with my clients and that is going to be fun.  They motivate me.  Knowing a LOT OF PEOPLE are in WAY WORSE situations than me also motivates me.  I believe with all of my heart that by January, I CAN at least do this 10k as a walker.  I will push myself but not do more than my doctor allows.

Being a trainer also keeps me going and motivates me.  Every time I do something to help a client, or give them a new workout, or do a webinar, or read their logs, it motivates me to get back to where I am at optimal levels of fitness as well.  Even if I never run another step, I WILL ALWAYS be a walker and will ALWAYS do endurance events.

I just want to say a big thanks to my hubby and kids and all of my amazing friends who have been there for me at the hospital and since I have been home just checking on me, and encouraging me. I will be blogging my way to Disney in January and will do this race for  Boston, and to raise funds for the foundation we created to fight childhood obesity and advocate for bariatric procedures as viable tools to fight obesity in adults.





About Erin Akey

I am a formerly morbidly obese wife, mother, Christian, author, speaker, water fitness instructor, nutritionist, anti-obesity advocate, and Emerald Ambassador with Plexus Worldwide. I am passionate about helping people fight the disease of obesity and also preventing and addressing obesity in children. I believe we have so many amazing tools available to treat this disease and we all need to take advantage of the ones we feel are right for us. I am also passionate about women taking the time to care for their needs. We live in a world where so many of us spend all of our time taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. I am all about making God the center of everything and letting His will take control of our lives and watching the beautiful blessings come from that release of power! Live, Laugh, and LOVE every day! Be grateful and be humble and watch the world around you change!
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