Inspiration Story: Kerry Blum Overcomes it All
My Return Back to Fitness Struggles, Situations & Strategies
By: Kerry L. Blum
Six years ago, my orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me with a weight lifting cyst that had taken up residency and caused extreme pain in my left shoulder joint. I was 2 years into weight lifting and loving my gym schedule and fitness lifestyle. So, we decided to try steroid injections as a first attempt to reduce the cyst. But they weren’t doing anything more than disguising the pain and if I didn’t have surgery, I’d never be able to lift again.
Being a cancer survivor, my initial thought was optimistic. I had seen much worse! Then, the realization of missing the gym again set in. I began trying to prepare for the down time by thinking it wouldn’t be so bad since I’m healthy and in great shape. I honestly figured I’d be back in no time.
One year later and months of intense shoulder physical rehab was followed by another surgery to alleviate medical issues from other surgeries. The surprise after surgery was that I was cut hip to hip again for the fourth time. Then, I had some career changes and a physical move. “Life” was happening again and so the gym went on the backburner. I removed myself from all social media because I couldn’t face the online world.
Over the course of the following years I kept remembering the healthy, strong, fit version of me and saw that I had slowly lost her in the mix of surgeries and life. I began to miss her so much I found myself sinking into depression and anger. I was so angry that my body betrayed me to become a body I despised. As my depression grew darker, my husband tried everything to help re-ignite that fitness fire I had when he first met me and to save me from myself. When Joe and I met I traveled with my food, I ate on time no matter what, I didn’t miss the gym or a workout.
Seeing me in this state was not the woman he had met or seen before. Joe bought me everything I would need to workout at home until I was ready (comfortable) to join a gym again. We had a full-blown gym at home from dumbbells to a smith machine and even a huge leg press.
I would start and stop and start and stop.
It was almost like what before was my passion, my life, my dream had suddenly become my greatest enemy and I hated myself for it. I hated that I regained the weight I fought so endlessly to lose from other surgeries and treatments. I was angry that I broke promises I made to my children and to myself. And I was ashamed about what “all those people” who knew the “fit me” before might be thinking of me now. I was used to inspiring so many others via social media and felt like such a failure. I began to think that as wonderful as I was at motivating others I couldn’t motivate myself.
What was happening to my dream?
I beat cancer. I came back from being an unhealthy, overweight, sluggish and weak person to a strong vibrant healthy energized 40-year-old. Now I couldn’t conquer myself and my thoughts. Over the next three years I found her. Me. The strong, fit, healthy woman was there, inside hiding with shame, embarrassment, and guilt. There is no need to go into detail what struggles I had to come to terms with, however, I am proud to say by the Grace of God and the encouragement of my husband, Joe and his never-ending support and love I started to peel away shame, embarrassment, guilt and underneath all the layers I found her again.
When I first met Joe, he used to call me his pink butterfly. I had pink highlights in my hair in support of breast cancer awareness. I started doing it in remembrance of my best friend’s mother who had fought a courageous and long battle with cancer. Once I started peeling away the negative layers and releasing myself, I found that pink butterfly deep inside and she slowly started to rise and spread her wings again.
Fast forward to 2018, four physical moves later, and more challenging situations and struggles. I decided, after receiving four sporadic emails from ISSA advertising their new Instructor led certified professional training program, that is was time. Time to bring that dream to life, time to stop letting the world decide for me that I was too old, had made too many mistakes, that I failed before. I decided to start living again and with the encouragement from my family and the acknowledgement from God that I was ready, it was time I signed up with ISSA.
It was exciting and challenging going back to school, putting discipline back into my life, and staying focused.
When I started the online course with ISSA I paused the workouts I did at home because this dream, this goal, this desire to learn and help people is so strong I refused to allow any distractions to take away from it.
I was blessed with an amazing online instructor with ISSA, Professor Lindsay Kent. She not only taught and offered her expertise, she encouraged and became my own personal mentor without realizing it. Professor Kent along with my husband helped a spark ignite into a fitness fire desire again. I enjoyed my time with ISSA so much that I am starting my second course in a few weeks and have two more after that. ISSA has allowed me to reach my dreams by continuing my education which will allow me to help others reach their goals, their dreams. My vision has always been clear, to be a personal trainer and help as many as I can through their own personal struggles and situations.
My passion for cancer patients and cancer survivors has never left me, it has only increased. Confidence is not about beauty. Confidence is your inner strength and fitness lays the foundation for strength to grow.
You only get one chance to live this life, how will you choose to live it? I made my decision, it’s time for this pink butterfly to spread her wings and to fly again! Grab the butterfly catcher Joe, she’s back! Who says I can’t be fit at 50? Watch me!