As someone who immerses himself in the health, wellness and fitness industry every waking moment, I come across many different types of individuals with fascinating stories.
For this month, I want to share with you the story of one of my fitness colleagues, Liz Corah, group fitness manager for Equinox. Liz remains a beacon of light and inspiration, embracing struggle and inspiring every person who crosses her path.
Earlier this year, Liz was teaching a special event group fitness class for Equinox in Washington, D.C., to a large number of members. Shortly after the class, she had a grand mal seizure, including a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. This type of seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain. After being rushed to the emergency room, tests revealed a nonmalignant meningioma brain tumor the size of a softball.
Meninges are the three membranes that line the skull and vertebral canal and enclose the brain and spinal cord. Sometimes, the body produces too many cells and the excessive amount of meninges forms a tumor. Liz’s large tumor was attached to the major artery that runs through the skull, so that her brain was actually being pushed aside and couldn’t take it anymore, resulting in the seizure.
When asked to describe the timeline of recent events, Liz recalls, “The tumor was discovered on May 22, 2016. I interviewed six surgeons. Surgery took place at Georgetown Hospital on Friday, June 17. I lost 25 pounds pre-surgery to make sure I was in optimal condition to not only survive but also be able to get up after and heal as quickly as possible. I spent the summer recovering both physically and mentally. There was an internal struggle happening. My body wanted to move, but the drying cement in my skull, 8-inch incision and recovering brain thought otherwise. Ten weeks post-op, I am back to work, starting slow and acclimating to life again.”
As if this wasn’t enough to deal with, the surgeons had to leave part of the tumor in because it was attached to an artery. In another 10 years she will have to go through this again and have it removed a second time. “At first, I went to a negative place with this info,” Corah explains. “But eventually, I chose to shift my focus and turn it into a positive thing. I have 10 years to kick butt, reach goals, live dreams, fall in love and do everything that I want to do.”
What exactly keeps her this inspired, motivated, and upbeat? Her three children ages 13, 11 and 7, who look up to her and whom she wants to lead by example.
“Sure, things get hard,” she adds, “but you can choose to react any way you want. If I’m feeling unmotivated or tired, I try to remind myself of these things: That you can do anything you want to do in life. I have goals to reach and sitting around isn’t going to get me closer to them. There are so many possibilities in the future, and that I’m here to help inspire others to reach their goals.”
Life is truly a mystery. One day you can be teaching a fitness class with plans for the rest of the day and then next thing you know you completely lose control and end up in a hospital in another state. Liz is currently writing a book with the intention to remind the world that each day is a gift and not guaranteed. It really has put life in perspective for her. I think it’s safe to say it has for all of us as well.
Reach Giovanni on twitter @GiovanniRoselli and his website, GiovanniRoselli.com.