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Betty & Amanda: Amazing women in hydrotherapy
December 29, 2017 | by Erin Bussin

Both of these women are amazing athletes and people. They have faced so much adversity in their lives and have been able to pull the positive out of every situation. I feel so lucky to be able to treat them along with the wonderful physiotherapists, chiropractors, therapists and sports medicine physicians at Fortius.

Because of this, I wanted to share their stories to help give others belief that anything is possible, to never give up when they are in pain, scared to move or feel hopeless.

Name: Betty

Fortius Team
Physiotherapist: Katie Wnuk
Performance Rehabilitation Coach: Erin Bussin
Betty’s life obstacles and why she cAme to Fortius:

Betty was diagnosed with cancer in October 2014. After entering remission and the conclusion of her chemotherapy, she started to lose function and feel excruciating pain in her right leg. Betty wasn’t able to walk without falling over. One year later, the doctors discovered nerve damage from the radiation.

Betty and her Team’s Goal: 

Her initial goal was to be able to walk properly. As she continued to progress her goals changed to getting back to work and becoming more fit.


In January 2017, a collaborative strengthening treatment plan, combing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, was developed to help Betty regain function in her right leg. The water density allowed her to walk, squat and perform dynamic movements without pain or the fear of falling. After six months of rehabilitation at Fortius, her leg vastly improved and she was able to run in the water for the first time since her battle with cancer. By October 2017, she was able to run for up to 45 minutes in the underwater treadmill. Betty also hasn’t been taking any pain medication for a year – she was previously on four different types of pain medication.

She is planning to return to work between January and February of 2018, and is excited to be back in the office with her colleagues.

What to look forward to in 2018:

Betty next goal is to complete a 5km run by the spring of 2018. She currently training hard in the hydrotherapy pool in order to reach this next milestone.

Betty’s experience in Hydrotherapy:

“It was such a scary time. I’ve always been independent and never sick. Getting cancer and finding out I had extreme nerve damage in a leg, it put me in a different frame of mind. I realized that it can happen to anyone. Over a year later, I am much stronger although I still have a ways to go. I am walking properly, I am moving, and my confidence is back. I can walk down stairs without falling. I used to fall when I got to my apartment stairs. I can’t believe the difference between one year and now. Hydrotherapy is an encouraging environment and I can tell my best interest is at the heart of the matter every time I come in.”  – Betty

Betty’s words of wisdom:

“Things happen. The only way to go is forward. You need to start doing things for yourself. Therapy takes a long time but at least you know you are getting better.” – Betty

Name: Amanda

Fortius Team
Physiotherapist: Chris Franks
Performance Rehabilitation Coach: Erin Bussin
Amanda’s life obstacles and why she came to Fortius:

Amanda is a 31 year old police officer and avid Crossfit athlete who enjoys to hike, run and swim. In 2012, she discovered she had a brain tumor. It was removed December 2012, and just as things were getting better, she started to feel pain in her left knee. The pain escalated and she had to stop working and participating in sports. A MRI showed she had a baker’s cyst and bone spur in her left knee. She received surgery February 2017. After surgery she was unable to return to Crossfit, running, and swimming due to severe knee pain.

Amanda’s Goals:

To get back into the activities she loves, and to participate without experiencing any pain or limitations.


Amanda started doing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy in June 2017. The goal in hydrotherapy was to develop a plan to build overall strength, conditioning, and running load and intensity without pain or an inflammatory reaction afterwards. The program started with active recovery-based exercises and low impact runs to reduce symptoms and develop a workload capacity. The program gradually increased in intensity in order to get Amanda running at 50% of her body weight and sprinting at top speeds.

By December 2017, Amanda was running intervals on a track and going to crossfit weekly.

What to look forward to in 2018:

Amanda will continue to push herself and increase her running endurance as well as Crossfit stamina. Amanda’s next goal for 2018 is to get approval to rejoin as a fully operational police officer outside of the office.

Amanda’s experience in Hydrotherapy:

“In Hydrotherapy, I noticed how quickly my knee pain improved in a short time after 9 month of struggling to return to run. Finally somewhere I could do real movement without the impact and pain. It was a therapy that made me want to go. Before each appointment I would think about how far I can get that day. I looked forward to each appointment.” – Amanda

Amanda’s words of wisdom:

“Start where you can and build on it. Yesterday I was only able to survive; but I did it. Yesterday I was only able to do everyday tasks; but I completed something. Yesterday I was only able to get to the gym, but I made it. Yesterday I was only able to…. but look where I am today. Every day is an opportunity; every day is a privilege; every day is a chance.” – Amanda


Do you have a health or performance goal you are trying to reach? Visit our website or call us at 604.292.2501 to ask how our underwater treadmill can help you*.

*Hydrotherapy requires a referral from your doctor, physiotherapist or health care provider.