5 Lessons I Didn't Want to Learn


1. Injuries Suck

It could’ve been worse. A torn Achilles Tendon requires months and months of recovery. I was lucky. I spontaneously ruptured my Plantaris Tendon teaching a really fun Step class. My Orthopedic Dr. and Foot Specialist explained that I had, in effect, performed ‘my own surgery’. Roughly 3-5% of those suffering with Plantar Fasciitis require a surgical technique called endoscopic plantar fasciotomy to relieve pain. I just did it to myself… without my knowledge or consent!

Second only to my 4 daughters and 4 perfect grand children is my passion for fitness and dance. And when I’m passionate about something, it becomes part of my identity. I am movement. I am dance. I am teaching, training and lifting. Although I feel petty complaining about my injury when there is so much suffering in the world, my physical limitations hurt.

2. Patience is not my favorite virtue

We are told it is a virtue, but from my experience, it is an art form I do not possess. I never realized that waiting for my injury to heal would be such a mental battle. Delaying my gratification of intense exercise and crazy new Zumba choreography means regulating the adrenaline and  endorphin driven forces within me! My arm pits and hands have been too bruised and chafed from the crutches to even perform upper body movements. A AARRRGGGHH! Joyce Meyer suggests, “Patience is not simply the  ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Oh, my. I’m 52 ½. I should know better. But, honestly, I considered doubling up on my hormone patches to deal with myself. Menopause + Injury = STAY AWAY FROM ANGIE.
Anyone remember ‘Patience’ by Guns and Roses?  “Said ‘woman take it slow, and it'll work itself out fine’. All we need is just a little patience.” I’m fervently hoping I excel from this experience rather than be diminished by it. Check back with me in a few weeks😊

3. Self-reliance has its limits

“Wheelchair, wheelchair passing on the left!” yelled the incredibly sweet Delta Airlines attendant as he transported me to my departure gate. I closed my eyes wishing for a cloak of invisibility that never materialized. Unwanted attention was garnered from well-wishers and empathetic onlookers as well as from gawkers and rude teenagers. I don’t like getting helped. At all. I want to be the one serving, assisting, pushing the wheelchair, opening doors and giving verbal encouragement… ‘Hang in there! You can do it!’ I like that side of the equation best. But I also unexpectedly discovered that allowing others to support me brings a blessing to them. Feeling needed, doing a good deed, picking up a crutch or holding the door to my bathroom stall, generates usefulness and creates joy in others. To make my life easier, my friends Jenn and Chris convinced me to borrow a knee scooter from the Caring Closet in Work Life. At the time I was projectile-ugly crying in my office, and I thought they wanted me to lock myself in that closet. After Jen happily obtained the glorious invention, my friend Pam surprised me and  tricked it out. I gleefully dropped my dumb crutches when I gazed upon my pimped ride with pink horns, bells, streamers and mini vanity plates😊 Her smile was almost as big as mine. I am determined to stop stealing blessings.

4. I need more gears

The majority of my life I’ve had 2 gears -  5th and Reverse. I typically go hard, go home, go to bed. Repeat daily. I have not valued moderation in energy expenditure or the need for recovery. Shame on me. I get it now. Embracing a less frenetic pace for the sake of total body wellness is not a concept I have grasped, and the consequences are evident. I’ve implemented Chair Cardio and I will join other brilliant and balanced souls in Yoga Nidra on Wednesdays at 1:15 in GX!

5. Trust and adjust

I wake up every morning have to hit a reset button and work with my new, albeit temporary, normal. I try to appreciate small increments of improvements and look forward to the next. I’ve learned that pain and setbacks are more about my mindset and only as bad as I decide to view them. There are always worse and better days ahead. Life, pain, joy, struggle and success come in seasons. I’m prepared for things to get worse, but trust that I have times ahead so great I can’t even imagine them yet. I believe there is still time for me to become the person I want to be… in spite of myself 😊

Have you been injured and, as a result, learned something maybe you didn't want to learn?




About Author

Angie Calli Fernandez

Recreation Fitness Program Coordinator

Angie grew up a dance and golf loving Hoosier. Duke University beckoned her to North Carolina and while she will die a devoted Blue Devil, she is proud to call the Tarheel state her home. Fitness has been Angie’s career for over 30 years and she has held multiple national certifications and taught innumerable class types and styles and personally trained all ages and sizes. Family and fun are the cornerstones in her life and she and has been blessed with 4 amazing daughters, two perfect grandsons - Leo and Pierce - and two perfect granddaughters - Viviana and Camila. Working at SAS is a dream come true for Angie and she hopefully will live out the remainder of her days spreading her love of life to her new SAS family!


  1. Thank you for sharing Angie! I can relate to all your points above. When I've struggled with an injury, I've found that not challenging myself was the biggest challenge. With your lessons learned, you have certainly found the best in a bad situation. Wishing you 100% recovery soon.

  2. Celeste Cooper-Peel on

    Such a wonderful article! I just love Angie's positive energy, humor and always finding value in whatever situation evolves in life. Keep on scootin'!

  3. Loved your article, it really resonates with me. Thanks for sharing and wish you a quick recovery so you can get back out there and kick our butts.

  4. Kevin DeBruhl on

    I've often said, nothing's more irritable than an injured athlete. Good that you can reflect on things, adjust, and prepare for the recovery stage!
    Get well soon!

    • Angie Calli Fernandez
      Angie Calli Fernandez on

      Thanks, Kevin... to add on to your sage thought... " nothing's more irritable than an injured athlete with irritable bowel syndrome'... taking Nsaids has been a challenge :0

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