A Fresh Perspective on Living Life to the Fullest

Jan 20, 2016
Ashley Ann Lawrie


How important is your eyesight to you? In the summer of 2013, Andrea Mumby began losing her sight. Within weeks, she was completely blind. Family didn’t risk leaving her alone for fear Andrea would injure herself trying to find her way around the house.

“It was the scariest thing you could ever imagine,” said the 35-year-old. “You learn who your friends are because I lost some who were unable to deal with me not being able to see. You definitely learn not to take your vision for granted. Even learning how to make a sandwich for myself was an interesting task.

”The culprit was a condition called intracranial hypertension. Pressure grows around the brain, due in part to fluid build up. It can be associated with tumour growth, but Andrea, thankfully, didn’t have any tumours. In her case, it was diagnosed as idiopathic, meaning there was no obvious cause.

In addition to losing her sight, Andrea also suffered from severe migraines.

Coping with it all was a big challenge. Andrea enjoys a variety of crafts, but had to find new ways to deal with the stress, depression and panic she was feeling at the time.

“I learned meditation,” she said. “That helped me to centre myself and deal with whatever I had to each day.”

There was, however, a clear path to treatment – lose weight. While being overweight isn’t considered a cause, it has proven to be an effective, long-term treatment.

“I knew I had to lose weight before that, I wasn’t naïve, but I didn’t have the motivation,” Andrea said. “Then something like this happens and you appreciate what you’re missing out on – while I couldn’t see, my niece was born. I didn’t get to actually see her until she was six months old.”

Before she could head to a gym, Andrea had to undergo more aggressive and intrusive forms of treatment to get her eyesight back.

Doctors put her on a liquid diet of only 900 calories a day in October 2014. This was followed by medications and injections into her eyes.It took Andrea eight months to get her vision back. She wanted to do more than just lose weight through diet – she wanted to hit the gym to get in shape and be stronger.

By 2015, she was ready. With her husband Paul’s help, she researched her options and found her way to FFF’s Kanata location. Andrea doesn’t drive. She found FFF to be the best option for her within walking distance, versus the other fitness studios and big chain gyms in the neighbourhood, or working with a personal trainer who makes house calls.

“With FFF, I’ve found a gym and a personal trainer where we’re on the same page,” Andrea said. “This gym is the kind of environment that I want and Matt (Uden) understands my goals. He motivates me by keeping what we do flexible and interesting. It’s always something different.”

So far, she’s lost about 65 pounds of fat and added muscle she’s never had. The migraines are gone and her medication use has been greatly reduced. More importantly, she can enjoy life now in a way she couldn’t before.

“Now I can do stuff with my nieces and nephews without getting winded,” she said. “I realize how many things I was missing out on before all this started. But now I have this new chance to enjoy life all over again. I can more easily see the upside of things, because I know what the alternative could be.”

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