Barb’s Fitness Journey – Overcoming the Fear of Walking – Part 3

by ADC - Barb

Isn’t it amazing the things that we take for granted?

Most of us don’t give any thought to waking up each Barbmorning and completing our routine activities such as getting dressed, going to work and running errands.  I never thought that my future would include years of no longer trusting my feet as I walk, stand, and especially while climbing stairs.

Yet it happened to me.

Click here to read about Barb’s Journey from the beginning.


Diagnosed with Cancer

Back in 2000 I was diagnosed with the onset of ovarian cancer and opted to go through chemotherapy.

One of the long-term side effects from the chemo is partial numbness in my feet.  You know how you curl up to watch TV or read a book with a leg beneath you and at some point your leg falls asleep?  That’s how both of my feet and lower legs feel every minute of every day.

I also have a problem with swelling in my feet and ankles, which makes the numbness worse.

Thus, for a few years I became very fearful about walking.  I constantly felt that I needed to be able to touch something, just in case I were to lose my balance.

If I were walking in a hallway, my shoulder would be an inch or two from the wall.  If walking through a parking lot, I walked near the cars.

Living in Western NY, winters can get really bad.  I would only go grocery shopping on days when the parking lot was totally cleared of snow and ice.

Thankfully, at both of my part-time jobs, I’m able to park fairly close to the doors of the buildings.


Learning to Trust My Feetwalking

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to be coached by Brian Darrow out of Florida.

Via emails, Brian developed a plan to help me get back into walking and to begin trusting my feet again.  Brian had me start with a one mile walk which caused me to cry the night prior to the walk.

I had so many self doubts and fears going on in my head.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it.

Yet, I did!

Brian didn’t care how many stops I made or how long it took me, he just wanted me to do it.

With Brian’s coaching and encouragement, I walked a total of 100 miles in a few months.

During those initial walks, I named every tree that I walked by!  My thought was if I were going to stumble or fall, maybe I would be close enough to grab onto a tree.

At some point, I realized I was walking and no longer feeling as though my feet were propelling out of control.  That was a huge realization.

During the winter months I walked outside when I felt it was safe to do so.  On the bad wintry days I walked the perimeter of our church’s sanctuary.  Twenty laps around equaled a mile.

To keep from counting laps, I would place 20 pennies in my left pant pocket and each time I completed a lap,  I moved a penny to my right pocket.  I also cranked up the music and found myself walking faster as I trusted my feet more and more.

In less than two years I had walked more than 500 miles and lost 90 pounds.

I wish I could say that my walking continues to improve and I’m enjoying daily walks.  Unfortunately, when I began taking 4 or 5 mile walks, I developed severe pain in my feet.  My doctors still aren’t sure what is causing the pain other than a combination of things.

Thus, I’ve been told to limit the walking and focus on other kinds of exercising.  I also continue to struggle with stairs.


Pressing On

Thankfully I have a resistance pool and I can use it regardless of how much pain I’m in.  On good days, I take a half mile or mile walk.  I also work out with weights.  I’m frustrated that I’ve gained back 20 out of the 90 pounds, but have gotten back on track again.

The following is a video that recaps my fitness journey thus far.


I still have a long ways to go, but I view this as making lifestyle changes and not just dieting.

I’m learning that anytime I slip, I need to immediately get right back on track and not wait until the weekend, next week, next month…you know how that goes!

In my next article I’ll be sharing tips that are working for me and hopefully can be of help to you.

What “fear” has been holding you back from being consistent with work outs and eating healthy?  Let us help you.


Click here to read about Barb’s Journey from the beginning.

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