Rebell of the Month: Sheryl Kaiser

We are excited to announce that Sheryl Kaiser is our June Rebell of the Month! Sheryl is an amazing person with a strong motivation, and great personality. She has never shied away from the challenges she has been given from our programs. One thing Sheryl has done that has intrigued us the most here at Restored Strength, she always tried her hardest every set and rep. With that said, her hard work and attitude has helped her earn the praise of Rebell of the Month! We are excited to share her story with you!

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My husband, Dan and I at the Space Needle in Seattle, WA.

Your Background

I am a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher but most importantly at this time in my life I am a survivor.

Let me explain that. In March of 2014 my life hit its lowest level. I developed what is called necrotizing fasciitis commonly known as flesh-eating disease. It is an infection that results in the death of the body’s soft tissue. It is a severe disease of sudden onset that spreads quickly.

From me working on Friday, to not being able to stay awake on Saturday with a severe backache, I was airlifted to Avera Sioux Falls on Sunday and by Tuesday afternoon they had to amputate my right leg to save my life. In just a handful of days my life changed DRASTICALLY! The doctors told my family I only had a 20% chance of survival even with the leg being amputated.

I suppose you could count my one-month rehab stay in the hospital as my only real prior training. However, that was learning to sit up on my own, stand on my own while holding on to the parallel bars and using a slide board to get from my bed to wheelchair. Heck, even learning to use my wheelchair was a challenge.

After four total months hospitalized I returned home the day before my 57th birthday. I vowed to do everything I could to not let this handicap define who I am as a person!

Thoughts about strength training before & after

My first thought when I heard about Restored Strength was there is NO WAY I could do that with one leg. However, a good friend of mine was attending and I was inspired by her to at least give it a try.

When I meet William and Tyler they both welcomed me with open arms and promised they could definitely work with me regardless of my handicap. They encouraged me to at least give it a try for three months and see how much progress I could make. At that point, decide if Restored Strength was the fit for me. Well, guess what…after three months I signed up for another three months!

Tyler is my coach and he started me where I was at physically. We have progressed so much together that some days I even surprise myself.

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Performing a Paloff Press 

Challenging barrier you overcame

First, I had to get myself through the front door to even visit with William about the possibility of working with them. That took guts for me, as I was very unsure of my potential and myself.

Secondly, I had to make myself realize that working out at Restored Strength was a personal goal each and every visit. I did not need to worry about the other people working out at much higher levels as myself. There is no comparison made between the individuals working out. We are each there for our own benefit.

Greatest achievement

I truly believe my greatest achievement thus far at Restored Strength is the belief I have of my own potential.

I am gaining strength with operating my wheelchair. I am able to transfer myself from the floor to my wheelchair, which I hadn’t been able to do by myself. That is important when you are a grandmother and want to be on the floor playing with your grandchildren.

With the added strength in my left leg I am able to stand for longer periods of time, for example, at the kitchen sink, in church, etc.

Changes your family/friends noticed

The most significant change comment from my family has come from my son, Mike, who sees me only once in awhile as he lives in Savage. He has commented on my weight loss and strength each time I have seen him. He continues to encourage me to keep it up!

Over Memorial Day, I even got into the grandkids’ swimming pool. I was able to get in and out with very little help. The grandkids were thrilled to see how big of splash they could make on Grandma.

My husband, Dan, is very glad I can get myself into my wheelchair now so he doesn’t have to pick me up off the floor.

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My husband, Dan, and I with our three grandchildren, Brady, Kylie and Zoey.

What do you tell people about our training

I have told many people about my Restored Strength experience. I encourage them to check it out for themselves. William and Tyler are amazing to work with and are so supportive of your efforts each and every time you work out with them. They tailor your program specifically for you and the goals you are trying to reach. There is no comparison between you and others when it comes to your abilities.

What do you enjoy about our training here

I love the fact I am doing something good for myself. I am pushing myself to get stronger and more flexible. I am living up to the vow I made to myself and family not to let this handicap define me.

I look forward to my two weekly sessions with Tyler. He is so encouraging and supportive that I feel like I have my own personal cheerleader……”Great job”, “You can do it”, “Wow! Look what you just did, etc.

When working out with two or three other people in the room it isn’t a big deal. They are doing their program and I am doing mine. It is like you are the only person in the room. Except there is an overall family feeling.

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Working on some rocking 

3 benefits you’ve noticed

My life has definitely improved since beginning my workouts at Restored Strength. Choosing three benefits is easy….

  1. I believe in my own strength and physical capabilities. I use to be very self-conscience of my amputation and now I just shrug it off as what is and who cares. I am Sheryl and I will live my life to the fullest.
  2. I am doing something very healthy for my body. In addition to the actual training I am drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables. I have really turned away from processed foods. Eat fresh!
  3. I am working so hard to be able to finally use my artificial right leg without a walker. You would have to see this contraption to believe it. Since I have no leg bone at all to attach it to I have to use a ‘bucket’ type apparatus to sit in, cinch it tight against my waist, and then try to balance, let alone walk. I have only been able to use it with a walker or with a person on each side of me. This is my next major training task.

What makes the difference

I can’t say I’ve ever really trained anywhere else. I have been a YMCA member and tried Anytime Fitness and other Fitness locations, but just didn’t seem to fit in. While these are other great places the individual help I needed wasn’t there.

The fact that I could work one on one with someone who could program exercises specifically for me week by week and see my growth was the reason I joined Restored Strength.

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A picture of myself while at Limb Lab while getting my artificial leg fitted.

Additional words

I could be so bitter about what happened to me physically back in 2014, but I am not bitter. I have helped welcome two new granddaughters since my illness. My daughter is getting married the end of June. I have great family and friends that have supported me throughout these last four years. BUT, I am here!!!

William and Tyler have been added to this group of family and friends. Let them help you realize some of your dreams. If the one-legged lady can find success with these gentlemen just THINK what they can do for you!

Helping Sheryl set goals and achieve them one after another has been amazing to say the least. The times Sheryl and I have spent training together have always been positive. Sheryl has always looked at things with a positive mindset, and can do anything she is motivated to do.

Watch her story!

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