Tri Challenge: Reinventing my world
January 12th, 2012
07:38 AM ET

Tri Challenge: Reinventing my world

Every day this week, CNN will introduce you to one member of the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge team.  Today meet Denise Castelli.  As a recent amputee, Denise is searching for a way to reclaim the feeling of being a competitive athlete that she cherished before her accident.

I’ve learned a lot about support over these past few years.  I often stop and think to myself that I don’t know where I’d be without my family, friends, the support of my community and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

In April 2008, I was your ordinary senior in college.  Well, maybe not entirely ordinary. I was an NCAA softball player, as well as a dean’s list student at the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut. I was only looking forward to my next journey: Life after college.  With graduation around the corner, I couldn’t help but think about the world of possibilities that were out there for me.

But on April 22, 2008, tragedy struck. During one of the final games of that season (and ultimately my career), I took off from first base on a steal, headed for second and broke my leg.  I can still remember hearing the snap and the instant pain that I felt.

Up until this point in my life, I had never really experienced a moment that was so heartbreaking.  I couldn’t finish out my senior year (including  the NCAA tournament) or play in my senior game, and the chances of me walking across the stage at graduation looked slim.  I wish I knew then, how little all these things would matter to me in the months to come.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

To make the longest, most epic medical story short, I ended up with an infection in my broken leg.  I would spend the next 18 months of my life battling that infection. After osteomyelitis (an acute or chronic bone infection) set in, I soon lost complete circulation in my foot.  An amputation was inevitable.  On November 4, 2009 I had my right leg amputated below the knee and my world, as I knew it, ended.

I wish I could tell you that the first month or so after my amputation was filled with optimism and hope, but sadly, it wasn’t.  I really wanted to do nothing but lay around in my bed and cry.  I had no idea which direction to take or who to even reach out to.  That’s when fate stepped in and decided to make it happen.

My prosthetist had heard about a one day running/mobility clinic held by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. With nowhere else to turn and very little confidence under my belt, I went.  That day changed my life.  My eyes were opened to an entire world of people who were not only amputees, but also athletes in every sense of the word.  From that day on, I was determined to not let this amputation beat me.  I had to find a way to not just survive, but thrive.

And that’s exactly what I did.

So what does Fit Nation mean to me?  In one word: EVERYTHING!  It means having the life that I used to have.  It means being active, being competitive, having a purpose.  Though I do have some fears (okay, maybe more than some) about becoming a triathlete, I realize that they’re the same fears I had when I faced my amputation.  I’ve never let the fear of the unknown stop me before and I’m not going to let that happen now.

So, yes, on November 4, 2009, my world as I knew it, did end. But the beauty of it is that an entire new world opened up to me.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Nina Lovel

    Denise, your story is amazing and it is now your turn to pay it forward as you become the inspiration for thousands of others to overcome challenges and take responsibility for their own health, happiness, and lives. Expect from this day forward that strangers will come up and tell you their stories of how you've inspired them. The circle becomes complete as those stories then inspire YOU even more. You will never grow tired of hearing them. Eyes on ya, girl–go get 'em!

    January 12, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Rick Morris

    You go, Denise! I can't wait to meet you in Atlanta. I'm very proud to be part of this team with you by our side.

    January 13, 2012 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Denise

    What an inspirational story! This will be a journey that will show all that watch that there are no excuses whatsoever for not trying to attain a goal.
    I had wanted to be a participant on the team but there is no way that I could hold a candle to the sheer grit , determination and strength that you have already shown. Will be following you and your team mates from now until you cross the finish line!

    January 14, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Peter F

    What a great story. I am glad you have overcome what had happened. Stories like this help me keep up my own hard work and get fit.

    January 14, 2012 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Minis

    Hell yeah! I sometrd the field! It was an amazing game! I remember my dad texting me saying we were leaving if OSU scored again, almost immediately ISU scored and I? replied: not gonna happen

    February 1, 2012 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. zcpswmh

    YmmsSB uqsbmcdzrwsl

    February 3, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. eyycoc

    E7Tu6T fjsqwzodlqhx

    February 6, 2012 at 04:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. skipper-lounge.com

    Although maximum site owners are familiar with
    these concepts, but they may lack the expertise to do it the
    correctly. In addition, many of the words used started to take on slightly different meanings, depending on the context in which they are used.
    The Unit is powered by the Main chip adopting the CORTEX A8 core Sam – Sung S5PV210,and CPU
    frequency up to 1GHz, Memory 512MB, internal 2G memory space for TV and Internet integration.

    October 9, 2014 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Gloria Louzao

    You are amazing, heard you at TRI2015 and you moved me to tears. As the mother of a teenager I can only hope she faces life challenges the way you have.

    February 28, 2015 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Julio Paswaters

    I just could not depart your website prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual info an individual provide for your visitors? Is going to be back continuously in order to check up on new posts.


    January 15, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Rick Kroc


    January 21, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Johnie Dutchover

    I went over this site and I conceive you have a lot of superb information, saved to fav (:.


    January 28, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. froleprotrem

    I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again


    February 6, 2021 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. zortilo nrel

    The following time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to learn, but I really thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could repair if you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.


    February 7, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. dr-goz-peter-ugyved.business.site

    You are my aspiration, I own few blogs and occasionally run out from post :). "Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it." by E. B. White.


    February 9, 2021 at 04:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Cardiff House Clearance

    Hi there very cool site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I'll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I'm satisfied to find so many useful info right here in the put up, we'd like develop more strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing.


    February 9, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Linette Crescenti


    March 4, 2021 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. tadalafil daily use

    tadalafil 30 mg https://elitadalafill.com/ buy tadalafil us

    April 11, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. can you buy viagra over the counter in canada?

    canada viagra scam https://canadaviagrastore.com/ canada viagra

    April 12, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sildenafil 120 mg

    sildenafil tablet 200mg https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ price of sildenafil tablets

    April 14, 2021 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. alprostadil urethral suppository

    alprostadil cost https://alprostadildrugs.com/ how to adminiter transurethral alprostadil

    April 23, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. zithromax

    z pak indications https://zithromaxes.com/ what is zithromax used for

    April 24, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. new viagra in canada

    buying viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra sin receta en farmacias de canada

    April 25, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. avana

    buy avana avana tabs

    April 27, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. erectile dysfunction drug

    erectile prosthetic https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile hardening cream

    April 27, 2021 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. priligy

    dapoxetine 30mg price dapoxetine hydrochloride

    April 30, 2021 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. hydroxychloroquine aralen

    chloroquinolone malaria https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chroloquine

    May 7, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. stornobrzinol

    You are a very bright individual!


    May 14, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Tritreviewifind

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ lowest price cialis https://tadalafilww.com/ – buy tadalafil canada generic tadalafil

    May 23, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. cyclomune

    buy cyclosporine usa buy cyclomune uk

    May 24, 2021 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil order online no prescription cialis cost cialis at canadian pharmacy buy generic cialis online with mastercard https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil generic

    May 24, 2021 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil daily online https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil generic cialis cost cialis without prescription https://tadacipetadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil goodrx https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – cost tadalafil generic tadalafil generic where to buy buy generic cialis online with mastercard https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. cialis

    vidalista tadalafil reviews cialis online tadalafil goodrx

    June 3, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. tadalafil cost in canada

    tagra 20 mg cipla tadalafil generic where to buy otc tadalafil

    June 4, 2021 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. tadalafil sublingual

    tadalafil research chemical buy tadalafil powder cialis tadalafil

    June 6, 2021 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. pharmacepticacom

    tadalafil from canada to usa https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 21, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. www.pharmaceptica.com

    does erectile disfunction affect mastarbation https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. pharmaceptica.com

    hydrocyhloroquine https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. pharmaceptica.com

    erectile tissue https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. pharmaceptica.com

    sildenafil 100 canada https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. pharmacepticacom

    tadalafil citrate https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply

Leave a Reply to Tritreviewifind


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.