Jo powering on for health after life threatening situation
PEOPLE are surprised when Jo Slocombe tells them she had a life-threatening brain haemorrhage last year.
Spending quality time in the heavy-weights room at your local gym is not what most people recovering from traumatic injuries do.
The 44-year old is now entered into a major powerlifting competition in Brisbane this December. But it's not about winning.
Taking up weights was more about redefining who she was and what she was capable of after her brush with death in April last year.
"I've been to hell and back, and I've got a second chance and I don't want it to be for nothing," she said. The fitness trainer spent six months in bed after the surprise haemorrhage.
She lost some of her words, there were black spots in her memory, and she lost social confidence. Inevitably, depression, anxiety and post-trauma stress followed.
"I joined GSAC in September, but I was still very medicated and feeling very unwell."
Soon after, she stumbled upon powerlifting after attending some introductory power-lifting sessions at GSAC.
"There was something that just felt good - it really spoke to me," she said.
"I could feel how mentally and physically empowering it was."
Since that moment of clarity, Jo has completed a TAFE Certificate 4 in Fitness - graduating in June - and in July started working at Discover Fitness at Nimbin.
Her long-term goal is a degree in exercise physiology.
There's been occasional apprehensive looks from the male-dominated crew along the way.
"I've had a male member come up to me and ask,'are you nervous about being humiliated'?" she said.
"But, generally speaking, I've had some good support from the guys at the gym.
"I'm in it for the process, and just to pay respect to the activity that's saved my life.
"Being really disciplined is really good for me. Physically I'm stronger and fitter, but mentally and emotionally I'm more resistant to stress."