– I became health healthy overnight..
At Laila Aakvik, about to turn 80, training three times a week is almost unbelievable. It surprises her even more. Unbothered, she sits and tells us about her past expierences, cancer operations, pain and never-ending sleepless nights. “The story actually starts on the Canary Islands in the fall of 1979. It was cold and uncomfortable, not to mention that it was a difficult time in my life as well. I am unsure if it was the buildup of everything else going on in my life, but I all of a sudden felt a sharp pain in my back. The pain was primarily in-between shoulder blades and was not going away. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the pain was a hell that was going to last the next 40 years,” Laila describes. She is originally from Tingvoll on Nordmøre
Laila has been a hairdresser and has run her own salon. It is a job that demands significant responsibility and also minimal free time. “The pain in my back never seemed to go away. I sat up straight in a chair, with a cold beer pressed up against my back I stood against the wall and pressed hard against the wood. During the day I would be at the acupuncturist, who would stick 30 needles in a straight line from my head down. I tried everything, nothing seemed to work. It felt like there were little peas constantly pressing on my back. It was extremely painful, all the time. A physical therapist compared it to ‘chronic’ lactic acid. I must have been strong willed not to go insane,” Laila continues.
Laila’s “lower region” is still sensitive to the cold, wind and humidity, however her sleepless nights and pain are replaced with frequent training. “I started here last September, and strength training is my favorite. I close my eyes and focus on how my muscles are working hard. Before I started here, I sat at home on the couch and was reliant on pain medicine. Then when I started, I even had to go home early during training. But I didn’t give up. But right before Christmas something changed in my back, and I haven’t taken pain medicine since. It’s unbelievable how 40 years of pain went away. This past Christmas and New Year’s is a time I will never forget,” she says as one of our most frequent members of our clinic.
Although she was able to hide it well, for almost half her life, the pain in her back has been something that she has had to constantly focus on. “I was diagnosed with lung cancer 23 years ago, a cancer that usually effects those that smoke. I probably wouldn’t even have been able to finish a 10 pack in my almost 80 years. I had an operation where part of my lung was removed. Not even a half a year later, I was diagnosed with lymphoma after feeling a bump in throat. Even though only one lymph node was infected, they were all removed. My second operation was even more considerable and made me feel exceptionally unlucky. Most of the time it is heavy smokers that get diagnosed with this, but I pushed on. Knock on wood, no one has had to cut into me since.” Laila’s positive attitude must have been hard to maintain during all these unfortunate moments.
When we were convinced that we were happy with her journal anecdote, Laila had a little more she wanted to elaborate on. “I have to mention that I have dealt with COPD in my old age. Ironic again that smoke has never come out of my mouth. I feel it every once in a while, with my breathing. However, it doesn’t usually hinder my daily life. I don’t let anything effect my quality of life. I also need to mention that my left side is completely numb, kind of like if you got anesthesia from the dentist that never went away.” Once again, she said this with a smile on her face.
For everyone else.
In her work as a hairdresser, she developed substantial and good relationships with her customers. It doesn’t surprise us as she sometimes acted as a psychologist as well. “You often get to know the regulars that come into your salon. Early on, I became comfortable with that responsibility and have lived my life to help others in any way that I can. I do it because I feel like I owe it to everyone that loves me, but I also don’t want to be a burden on society. I will take care of myself as long as I can. I have lived alone after my husband passed almost 7 years ago. Nevertheless, am I privileged to have so many friends that actively show how much they care,” Laila tells us, even though she does not have any grandchildren.
To conclude we have to inform you about “Project 80.” “I turn 80 on August 3rd and plan to be in amazing shape. My specially adapted training routine has been something that has brought me daily doses of happiness. Training keeps me healthy and I will not take the chance to stop with that now. I even have a new jubilee/anniversary in 2031 so I am pushing to make it there. I will probably be training as long as I live,” Laila concludes with, who is about to turn 80. That is something that she even has trouble wrapping her mind around.