Athlete of the Month: Rachel Metcalfe

We are beyond excited to welcome Rachel back to Crux. Rachel has been with us since the days on Ringwood and is always someone in our little community you can count on to cheer you on and push herself to be better every day. 

All of us at Crux are happy to have Rachel back at the gym so please make sure to say hello!

What brought you to Crux? 
I love to run and keep active, but heading into the winter months of 2013 I was looking for a warmer way to stay fit (and not wipe out on the icy sidewalks).  Cheri is a neighbor of mine and suggested I try Crossfit out.  My first few months were in smaller gym off of Ringwood.  I got bit by the bug immediately, and choose working out to running any day.

What’s your proudest moment at Crux?
Coming back. I got sick in October, thinking it was likely strep throat I put off going to get swabbed.  A few days in I started to run a fever and by the weeks end I became sick, rapidly. I went to a walk in and it was confirmed that I had strep, but by that time swelling had begun in my left arm.  I was sent to the hospital and immediately admitted.  Within a day I was rushed to the ICU.  My body went into toxic shock and the swelling continued. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks, and eventually the infection turned into necrotizing faciitis. I had three operations and lost the upper part of my hand to the infection.  I have a graft now on the top of my hand (my upper thigh was the donor) and a substantial incision mark on my forearm.  I remained on IV antibiotics after my discharge in December, and was finally free of them by February.

Because of the damage to my kidneys and blood levels, I was very weak.  It was initially suggested that I return to work by the summer.  Knowing me and my inability to follow directions I started running with my PICC line in, and pushing myself to gain strength.  I started back at work at the end of January and was working full time hours by February. 
Things they don’t tell you about grafts? You have no feeling on the donated skin, it doesn’t sweat or moisturize itself, and the scarring around the edges is very uncomfortable to touch. The graft heals, and as it does it shrinks, so making a fist or opening jars pulls at the skin.  
But, I accomplished my goal to return and be able to work out. Things aren’t pretty, but I feel stronger each day and am happy to reclaim my normal.

As soon as I came out of the hospital, my main goals was to regain mobility and strength in my arm and fingers so I could return to the gym. I went through a tumultuous time after my skin graft and coming to terms with my arm esthetically. I would cover it up and was averse to anyone looking at it or touching it.  I started physiotherapy immediately, and worked diligently with homework.

Eventually I got to a point where I got full mobility back in my fingers and I began to work on making a fist.  Once I accomplished this in late January I knew that I could think about coming back.  The first day back I walked in with my scars and didn’t cover it up and continued my journey back to healthy.

What is your favourite memory or moment at Crux?
Last years intramurals.  The sense of community and support is amazing.  This year I have been coming each Friday night to watch and cheer, and it is a reminder of what I continue to work towards.