Success Tips for Dealing with the Unexpected

Amidst summer’s splendor I experienced a major setback with a serious backward fall that sent me into shoulder surgery and six weeks of rehab.

Overcoming the unexpected has been both a challenge and inspiration. A challenge for tackling an untimely and unwanted life detour. An inspiration for seeking new ways to engage my mental and physical fortitude.

Everything changed in seconds. Faced with one arm out of commission (hostage to a sling) and a short-term driving ban (per doctor’s orders), I had to create a game plan for staying engaged.

My strategy hinged on three posts:

1. See silver linings. Resist getting mired in negativity. The clear, calm communication of my terrific orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Arthur Bowman, helped me to adjust to my new normal – which, as he emphasized, could have been “far worse.” Although rehabilitation required major changes in my lifestyle, they would be temporary. The good news was that I had full use of my dominant arm – and that enabled many possibilities for activities.


Linda Dulye with her surgeon Dr. Arthur Bowman

2. Enlist a coach. Once I got the go-ahead from my doctor, I reached out to a local wellness expert, Fitness Director Tuan Nguyen, to design a training program for rehabilitation. Getting back to a gym was a huge boost, mentally and physically. Tuan’s expertise in kinesiology yielded a new interval training regime to isolate muscles and rebuild strength, stability and stamina. His zeal and energy were sheer inspiration to keep me moving forward and focused on silver linings.

Linda Dulye and her fitness coach Tuan Nguyen


3. Set milestones. I highlighted dates on my calendar for rejoining my rowing crew and competing in fall regattas.  With the help of many supportive friends and family plus Tuan and my doctors, I’ve made remarkable progress. My return row happened just shy of six weeks from my injury and I’m actively training for race season. Having visible milestones created a concrete roadmap for me and others to see. And seeing is believing!  Tested for summer, I learned to dodge the quicksand of defeatism and soak up positive vibes from staying engaged.

Mission accomplished with the help of my crewmate Michael Laureyns.


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