Deb Mulrain, Monroe County

I am a Strong Woman.

If you would have told me I could say that 6 months ago, I would have told you it was not possible. Six months ago, I had just finished daily 30 Radiation treatments to my abdomen/pelvis, and two weeks of daily chemotherapy. I finished treatment at 109 pounds on my 5’6” frame, hairless and profoundly weak. I was having issues with continence, difficulty eating, and felt like I had lost control of every aspect of my life.

I had seen an article about a class being offered by the UW-Extension called StrongWomen in the Tomah Journal and asked my Oncologist about it. She indicated I could give it a try, however, she would put lifting restriction on me and monitor my weight. I think she, and I were both a little skeptical about my ability to participate due to my deconditioned state. My husband was optimistic.

I met Erin, my instructor, at the opening session. She was aware of my situation and talked to me about a program of gradual conditioning. I was particularly worried about my loss of upper body strength and balance. I started that session lifting 2# hand weights, and hanging onto my chair for dear life during balancing exercises. I was literally exhausted after the first week’s sessions. Erin was there as my best cheerleader, encouraging me along the way. I came back for week two, and then three, and more. Over the weeks, I did gain strength and balance. I ended the first 12-week session lifting 8# weights and being able to perform the balancing exercises with little chair stabilization.

I am now in my third set of classes. I am physically stronger, and able to do my normal daily activities without fear of falling. More importantly, I gained control of in my life. I discovered that my body and mind are resilient.

I discovered that I am indeed a Strong Woman.

-Deb Mulrain, Monroe County

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