Stacy/Anastacia Montafis "Never Give Up!"
I was born March 25, 1978. I grew up in a small town in Long Island, and was fortunate to have a very energetic, and athletic family around to watch and learn from. From Soccer, to a Cheerleader, to Karate, to dancing...I loved being apart of this competitive, and fun lifestyle. I always had a "Never give up attitude."
It was not until after High School that my interest in Fitness became the most important activity in my life.Being at the gym gave me a new sense of self confidence, and I loved what it did to my total appearance. I loved my energy level, and my new abundance of strength that I had gained from Weight Training. I had changed my overall appearance, and best of all, my lifestyle. My body responded well, thanks to great genetics and years of being involved in competitive sports. Since High School Cheerleading and Soccer was over, this was my new found love.
In 1997, The love of my new found hobby came to a jolting stop. I was diagnosed with having a very large GIANT cell Tumor of the bone in my left distal femur. ( Left Thigh Bone )
It was first discovered at a routine chiropractic visit at a Family friend's office. After an X-ray, and then a Biopsy, I knew I had a serious issue. The tumor was large and growing fast. It had basically taken over the entire bone itself. I was told i might lose my leg. I was scared, confused and angry. As for me...Fitness was over in my mind, and my life itself was practically over.....the fire I started, and the fire that was always inside me, was completely put out.
Thank God I found a Doctor, I will not even begin to tell you the nightmare the medical field is, and what they put my family through. Samual Kenan from The " Hospital For Joint Diseases" saved me, and my leg. He removed the entire tumor, leaving a shell of bone as he described it, and filled the area with my hip bone, and cement like material to create my new thigh bone. Truly amazing!!! Thanks Doc!!! I cannot fully describe the respect I have for this Man; he called my Mother on the day before Thanksgiving, and told me to come in the day after the Holiday. Can you imagine that??
After 5 more surgeries, Routine doctor visits, years of rehab, pain...immobility, depression, frustration, anger, uncertainty, confusion, self pity, sadness, the loss of half of my muscle in my left leg, and most of all DETERMINATION. I am here, stronger than ever trying to show people that you can do anything. You can achieve you goals, you can remove the obstacles that stand in your way. You just have to try.
It took me a really long time to feel this way, for a long time I was angry and truly could not come to terms with this. This changed everything in my life, who I was, what I did, how I perceived life itself. I was limited physically, and at times mentally, and I was never used to that train of thought.
December 11, 2003 is six years being free from this joint disease. I still feel pain, I still cannot run, and still cannot do so many of the wonderful things I used to be able to do. I need to avoid breakage, and I cannot do anything that would put a lot of unneeded pressure on the joint itself. Many people said that I would not do most of what I do today. They doubted me, or they were just plain scared for me to try. But I try to do something new all of the time, just because I wake up and I say that i know I can try. Not only am I weight training again, I started boxing, I walk fast on a treadmill, I can chase my beautiful niece ( Isabella ) around her house. I am finally at peace. So I consider myself lucky. Lucky to have not given up on myself, and who I am as a person and if believed that I couldn't do it, or if I didn't try, Who knows what I would be doing now.
When my Doctor heard me tell him that I was Weight Training again, he couldn't believe it...I was squatting again...Something he said I would never be able to do. I have also been a Personal Trainer now for over a year. My Physical Therapy experience pushed my interest in strength training and helping people with disabilities. I train many clients with ailments and take great pride in watching them succeed.
Today, I am thankful to be here, and to have gone through these experiences. I truly feel it has made me the Trainer that I am, The Competitor that I am, and has made me a better person.