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Member Highlight with Martha Levine

May 10, 2019

A few weeks ago I walked on tip toe across the floor of my doctor’s office. Her smile was as wide as mine. “You couldn’t do that two months ago. Clearly, you  are doing it now because of the work you’ve been doing with Dusty at the gym” she said.  


Let me explain. Two years ago, small pieces of bone from a vertebra in my lower back broke off and tangled themselves around the sciatic nerve that runs down the back of the leg and under the foot. A talented neurosurgeon operated on me and untangled the bone bits from the sciatic nerve. My back was healed but I was left with collateral nerve damage. The muscles in my leg were severely compromised. I had drop foot, which means that when I stood on my toes, my heel would flop down because there was no muscle strength to support it. Prior to the surgery my favorite form of exercise had been taking walks with friends, which I could no longer do. I became discouraged and despondent.


Enter Dusty Paul, personal trainer at Island Fitness! I told Dusty my tale of woe and he put together a twice-weekly program tailored to my needs. Dusty has an incredible positive and caring attitude that began to transform not only the strength of my muscles, but my general outlook on life. At each session he showed me how much strength my body still had. I amazed myself as I heaved up weights and balanced on one leg. My body slowly changed and as it did, I began to believe in myself. One day, Dusty had me skipping and doing jumping jacks, something I never imagined doing again.  I began to look forward to our twice-weekly sessions. I started taking walks again, short distances at first building to longer strolls. It was exhilarating.


As I walked our son’s new puppy on the paths at Cass Park, a group of giggling children came over wanting to pet her and asking all kinds of questions. It was a delightful encounter. I quietly sent up thanks to Dusty and Island Fitness for giving me the tools to make it all possible.           

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