Read about how I found fitness after brain tumor. Be inspired and motivated to get in shape again no matter your struggle.

On April 3rd, 2016, I “celebrated” one year of my brain tumor surgery. I didn’t throw a party or anything, but it was still a special day for me.

The most interesting part was looking back and seeing how much my life has changed in these 12 months.

Leaving to the hospital, the expectation on the surgery, the “aftermath”, everything was a big question-mark that only unveil itself as time passed.

The months following the surgery were significant lessons to me and a lot more changed than I expected. There were times when I was really down and in doubt. It all seemed endless, and it was hard to keep up with the good hopes all the time.

But while I had my frustrations, I knew:

  1. how lucky I was
  2. I was not alone in my struggles

Because of that, I decided to extend the celebration to my blog and share a little more about what happened throughout my recovery.

Finding #fitness after #health issues isn't easy. Here's how I did it. #coaching Click To Tweet

The series “How To Find Fitness After…”

For this blog series, I chose the interview format because, in the next months, I’ll be sharing the stories and experiences of other athletes. What we all have in common is that we come from being very active to having to lie down for longer than expect to recover from injuries or surgeries.

Our objective is to connect with others who have been through similar situations (or are still struggling). We ourselves had to learn how to start from scratch and overcome different challenges. We want to inspire, motivate, and help others through our own experiences.

NOTE: Please feel free to ask questions, but keep in mind that neither me or the future participants are doctors or health care providers. We’re sharing information and tips about our specific cases. Although the same practices may also apply to your case, please consult a professional before doing anything that may harm your wellness.

"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise." - Victor Hugo

Finding fitness after brain tumor

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Debbie Rodrigues, a Holistic Life Coach, who helps active women be healthy and live fully without added stress.

Until 2015, I was climbing the corporate ladder. In that year, I went through a brain tumor surgery, and my idea of the perfect career path changed.

The tumor was discovered back in 2012, but I opted to delay the surgery hoping that it wasn’t going to be necessary. Unfortunately, the results of my yearly MRI in 2014 showed significant growth in the tumor and surgery became inevitable.

How physically active were you before the surgery?

I was VERY active!

Since 2012, I started working out twice a day. Back then, I participated in Bikini competitions. In 2014, I discovered I could also do CrossFit and my passion for the sport flourished.

Running is another activity I always squeezed in my agenda even though I only participated in a few races. Most of them 5k.

How long did it take you to be fully recovered?

My surgery was in April 2015. It was not until September the same here that I started feeling truly better. Before that, even though I was cleared by doctors, I had lots of pain and was feeling unwell.

In fact, it was only when I returned to CrossFit in February 2016 that I realized there was more. I had lost:

  • muscle mass
  • part of my coordination
  • all my strength

Daily yoga sessions at home spared me from losing all my mobility, but that was it.

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During recovery, what activities could/couldn’t you perform?

Already at the hospital, I could take care of myself. I was awake a couple of hours after surgery, and I felt much better than expected.

When I got home, however, I was confronted with constant tiredness. I didn’t take any medication outside painkillers. Yet, I slept most of the day and the whole night; and moving around the house was incredibly tiresome.

I tried to go back to jogging that summer, but I just couldn’t.

Daily tasks around the house we no big deal after three months but physical activities remained a no-no until long after that.

What was the most difficult part of your recovery?

The hardest for me was hearing from doctors over and over again that everything was alright when I was, in fact, feeling miserable.

I wanted to workout, I wanted to do the things I loved, but I was tired and in pain. Yet, no one seemed to believe me. It was frustrating and depressing.

What treatment(s) did you follow to get back on track?

I didn’t follow any treatment after surgery. Once the wound healed, I started to slow cut down the number of painkillers.

I wish I had gone through physiotherapy. I think it should have speeded up my recovery and do damage control in my muscle. However, it’s not like I’m not getting back on track little by little.

What are three tips you’d give to someone to find fitness after brain tumor?

The three things I’d recommend anyone going through recovery, but also who needs to start with physical activities because of their health are:

1. Take one step a time

It’s okay to want to get back on track asap, but patience is your best friend during recovery. Even when it’s related to just a cold, forcing oneself back to activity may have a reversed effect.

2. Ask for help whenever needed

Talk to other people! No matter how “special” your situation is, you’re not alone. There are people out there going through similar struggles. You don’t need to fear to ask for help.

3. Believe

When we are involved in the negativity of not being able to do the things we like, it’s easy to feel down and lose hope. It’s normal and happens to all of us in different moments of our life.

Yet, we cannot dwell in these dark places. Have faith in your recovery and you’re half way there.

Take one step a time on your journey back to #fitness after injury or surgery. #coaching Click To Tweet

Would you like to join the “Find Fitness After…” project?

Are you (or do you know) an athlete who went through a long period of recovery after a medical condition, surgery or injury (non-related to any physical activity)?

If yes, please drop me a line at with subject RECOVERY INTERVIEW. I’d love to hear, and share your story!

For other posts about my brain tumor read also:

Please check the list of link parties I join here.

How To Find Fitness After Brain Tumor.

Be Healthy and Live Fully.

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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog