For so long, I never really knew where I fit. I always knew that one day, I would run my own business, but it was always a matter of what and when. For so long, my life had been about supporting my husband’s professional motorsport career and raising our two boys. Our lives were dictated by race schedules, travel, appearances, school, soccer games and the list went on. After all that, there wasn’t a lot of time left over and certainly not a lot of time to focus on myself or a business. But at the time, that was my role in our “team”, and I was okay with that because I knew, one day, I would get my turn.
Christmas 2018, we were up at the river having some family time. Dean’s motorsport career had come to an end and we were considering what was next. We were looking forward to seeing in the new year and all of the opportunities it would hold, excited to start a new chapter in our lives... and then I fell.
The water was glassy so I went for a single ski. It happened so fast, I don’t even know what happened, but I fell forwards and the ski went backwards. Just like that I ruptured my knee. My surgeon would later go on to tell me “you know how a footballer “does” a knee? Well, you did that and then took it to a whole other level”.
I had a complete rupture of my ACL, rupture of my MCL and tearing of the popliteus tendon on my left knee and a partial MCL tear and severe bone bruising on my right knee. I would spend 7 weeks in a brace before I was even ready to have surgery.
After my surgery, I went to a dark place. I was so limited in what I could do, where I could go. Walking was difficult and painful, driving wasn’t allowed and as I began rehab it only got worse. I was given a book of exercises to do, to regain my strength and I could barely do one rep of each. It didn’t help that I hated using weights machines and almost all of my exercises were exactly that. I started questioning whether I would ever get back to normal.
I retreated internally and became depressed. I went from being frustrated about not being able to leave the house, to not wanting to leave it.
I didn’t want to see people. I hated when people would ask how I was doing. I wanted to scream the truth at them. “I’m awful! I’m either crying, trying not to scream, angry or in pain”. In amongst the darkness, something kept pushing me. I made Dean take photos of me at my absolute worst, when I was completely falling apart. When he asked me why I just said “because, hopefully, one day I can look back and remember how awful I felt and remember that I got through it”.
As time went by things improved but I was still frustrated that I wasn’t regaining my flexibility. I needed something else. And that’s when I walked in to KX. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was terrified. Terrified I’d be surrounded by super skinny, insanely fit people, terrified I wouldn’t be able to do it. And then the instructor came over, put her hand on my shoulder and said hi. She talked me through what we would be doing, talked to me about my injury and filled me with so much relief. I could do this but if I struggled that was okay too. I was hooked. I left there and rang my husband, we needed to be a part of it.
We went through the processes, got the approvals and we were on our way with a goal to open in May 2020... and then COVID happened.
All of a sudden, we’d gone from working towards our new chapter to having everything stop in an instant. All of our current work disappeared, and all fitness studios were closed. We weren’t sure how we’d pay the bills, let alone start a new business. Thankfully we were able to get through. Dean was able to “pivot” and find new work and after restrictions, lockdowns, delays, setbacks and plenty of other bumps along the way, we finally opened our studio, December 2020.
Now I can reflect on what’s happened and what it’s taken to get here. So many people keep saying “you must be so relieved after waiting so long”. I smile and say yes, but inside I’m thinking you have no idea. In January this year, I got back up on the single ski for the first time. As I sat in the water waiting, I had flashes back to the pain and the tears but as I popped out of the water, I felt strong and thought about all I had achieved.
An awful experience had turned into something amazing and while I never want to be in that position again, I’m grateful for the outcomes and the strength it’s given me.
For assistance with anxiety or depression visit This Way Up.
Erin Canto is a mum and Australian small business owner of KX Pilates St Marys.