Battling Cancer With Determination
Inspire the World to Fitness®: Whether in treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or teaching fitness classes, IDEA member Lynne Kurutz serves as an example of hope and health.
For 20 years Lynne Kurutz has loved spreading the joy of movement to her group exercise students. As a picture of health, she had no reason to think that anything would get in the way of her teaching. However, 4 months after the birth of her second son in 2002, she was shocked to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her journey toward recovery has not been an easy one, but Kurutz has been committed to exercise throughout the process.
In the early days of her diagnosis Kurutz felt lucky. Because she had no symptoms, she continued to work out and teach. After natural medicine treatments got rid of a lot of the disease, she continued with life as usual until spring 2007. Then she started to feel horrible. Her blood pressure was out of control, she was getting fevers and night sweats, and she ended up with hydronephrosis in one of her kidneys. A biopsy of the mass showed that cells had transformed into aggressive, as opposed to slow growing, cells. “I felt that I had no choice other than to go with aggressive traditional treatment for the cancer.”
Although many people wouldn’t want to exercise while undergoing chemotherapy, Kurutz resolved to do as much as she could. “I brought ankle weights and a resistance band to use at the hospital,” she says. “I ran 5 or 6 miles a day on a treadmill until about the fourth day of chemo. Then I had to back off. I tried to use the chair, my bed and even the IV pole to do some toning and core work. The staff thought I was a nutcase! Once the chemo took over, I was pretty much married to my bed.”
On the seventh day of Kurutz’s treatment, she was infused with stem cells. Her energy was gone and she frequently slept. After her blood counts started to come back, she optimistically tried to walk on the treadmill. “Unfortunately, it was like someone had stripped my body of my years of exercise,” she says. “After returning home, I was eventually able to walk for about 15 minutes at a slow pace. Little by little, I increased the time and pace. My ability to start over once the transplant had taken place had more to do with my mental attitude than anything else.”
Throughout the course of her disease, Kurutz has taught at American Family Fitness in Vestal, New York. She has developed quite a circle of dedicated students. “I have been open with them in every step of my treatment,” she says. “I never knew what kind of motivation I was offering by just being me.”
While she was preparing for her stem cell transplant, little did she know that her students were planning a surprise. One Friday night after warm-up during her double step class, a student turned off the music. “I had no idea what was going on,” she recalls. “They made me close my eyes, and when I opened them all the students were wearing black tank tops that read ‘Lynne’s Lunatics’ on the front and ‘Friday night double step’ on the back. By this point all my hair had fallen out, and I was teaching in baseball caps. My students soon created Lynne’s Lunatics baseball caps and rubber bracelets, too. They were beyond supportive, and I felt so touched.”
Kurutz has always been bothered by the way the media focuses on the negative aspects of cancer. “Life doesn’t end with a diagnosis,” she says. “I’d like to be an example of hope. After my stem cell transplant, I returned to teaching. I started sooner than I should have, but I needed to teach. Teaching is so much a part of me that I couldn’t wait any longer. My class was understanding when I had to take breaks and just call out the moves. I felt like I got hit by a bulldozer every night for quite some time. Things slowly improved. I will continue with my classes because they always make me feel better.”
A CT scan in late July showed her lymphoma to be stable. “However, I don’t think the doctors know what is going to happen long term with me, so I’m forced to live with the thought that the disease could come back at any time,” she says.
The past year has taught Kurutz a lot about herself. “I have always been a full-speed-ahead person,” she says. “My time in the hospital gave me an opportunity to reflect on all that I have been through in my life and what I would like to change.”
Her advice to others? “Never believe you can’t do something. Listen to your body, but don’t be afraid to give a little push now and then. I’m 100% sure that because of my physical condition, this journey has been just a bit easier for me than the average patient.”
Note: Kurutz says she is happy to share more about her experience. You can reach her at email@example.com.
For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, "Like" IDEA on Facebook here.
Sidebar: Tell Us What You Are Doing
Are your clients obese, disabled or just starting to exercise after years of sedentary living? We want to hear how you are motivating, challenging and retaining clients on a long-term basis. In 200 words or less, detail the specifics of your program and client(s), along with your name and contact information. If your success story is compelling and unique, we may use it in a future issue or on the Inspire the World to Fitness® section of the website.
Mail: Sandy Todd Webster
10455 Pacific Center Court
San Diego, CA 92121-4339
Fax: (858) 535-8234
© 2008 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
- Abdominals/Core Conditioning
- Body Image
- Boot Camp
- Cardiovascular Training
- Career Issues
- Client Advice
- Client Handouts
- Coaching/Lifestyle Coaching
- Consumer Education
- Continuing Education/CECs/Home Study
- Corrective Exercise
- Disabilities and Diseases
- Fitness Handouts
- Government Initiatives
- Group Fitness
- Health Clubs/Fitness Facilities
- Inactive Market/Inspire the World to Fitness
- Industry Issues/Trends
- Injuries/Injury Prevention
- Legal Issues
- Marketing and Sales
- Medicine/Medical Profession
- Nutrition/Healthy Eating
- Personal Trainer Institute West 2013 Blog
- Personal Training
- Program Design
- Program Trends
- Research/Exercise Science
- Sample Classes
- Sample Workouts/Program Design
- Self Improvement
- Special Populations
- Strength Training
- Technology/World Wide Web
- Weight Management
- Women/Women's Health Issues
IDEA Fit Tips
|Extreme Interval Training
In this course you'll learn goal-focused intervals and over 50 dynamic exercises and drills to create extensive and intensive training formats.
|Cut to the Core
This is a raw, unedited video filmed live at the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention™. Cut to the Core is packed full of core-focused exercises that aim to improve the way you look, feel and live.
|September 2011 IDEA Fitness Journal Quiz 4: Plyometric Training
This continuing education quiz is an in-depth look at plyometric training. Plyometric exercises—jumping, bounding, hopping, arm pushing, and catching and throwing weighted objects such as machine balls—are movements that involve rapid eccentric and concentric muscle actions.