The My Path to Wellness series was created to highlight the incredible members of our community who embody the fit52 lifestyle—Katelyn Brockmiller is a shining example of this. When Katelyn reached out to us, we were captivated by her story of overcoming life’s toughest challenges (all with a smile on her face!). We are proud to share her wellness journey with you:
Hi fit52 fam,
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist practicing in Yorktown, Virginia.
My path began in 3rd grade when I was diagnosed with scoliosis, meaning my spine is shaped like an “S” (kind of cool to see in x-rays). I wore a back brace to manage my curves for years, but they became so severe (>65 degrees) that they began to impact my breathing. Even though my scoliosis affected my endurance, I was an active kid growing up. I played first baseman in softball, and was always on the field or practicing in the backyard.
In 2004, I found out that I needed surgery to put in metal rods in my back. My only concern was when I would be able to play softball again. Luckily, I healed quickly and was able to start playing within 6 months of my surgery. I was back to being myself. But then we found out that my mom’s inflammatory breast cancer had returned and spread to her brain. Unfortunately, my mom lost her battle in October 2005…that was a very difficult time for me.
“You are worth every bump in the road that you might endure.“
This is truly where my journey to become a healthier version of myself began. I wanted to prevent further surgeries and reduce my risk of cancer, so I decided to take up running. This would be my way of not only becoming healthier, but also healing from my mom’s passing. Before I knew it, my lung volume had improved to the point that I was easily running multiple miles at a time. Then I started going to the gym on a regular basis and changed my eating habits. Prioritizing my health became a passion.
A few years later, while visiting home from college over Thanksgiving break, I suddenly began to experience excruciating back pain. I was admitted to the hospital ICU with sepsis, and immediately rushed into emergency back surgery. They had to remove the bottom rods in my back because the infection had spread to them. Again, I wasn’t scared of the surgery—I was scared of how this would impact my overall health because the rods had controlled my curves for so long. After the surgery, I jumped into exercise as soon as my doctor cleared me to get back to the gym. I was determined to do everything I could to strengthen my back.
Now, I am unstoppable. This year I completed my 5th half marathon—with a time under 2 hours! Life with scoliosis has not always been easy, but my determination has led me to where I am now. I was able to measure my success this year when I went for a checkup to my back doctor. The degrees in my curve improved again, which is unheard of at my age! I listen to my body now more than ever, and am proud to finally live a pain-free life.
A piece of advice I would give to people starting a healthy lifestyle change is to find what truly motivates you. Remember that your path to staying healthy will be ever-changing and challenging, but you are worth every bump in the road that you might endure. There is no bump that is too big to overcome.
I would love to connect with you all through Instagram (@livingwithkatelynbrockmiller) so that I can follow your journey and share encouragement along the way.