Days leading up to surgery to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg kept up a hectic social calendar — and appeared quite healthy

By Diane Herbst
December 21, 2018 10:24 PM

In the days leading up to surgery to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung on Friday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg kept up a hectic social calendar — and appeared quite healthy.

At the French Ambassador’s residence, the 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice sipped champagne, and during an interview Saturday with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, her rosy cheeks radiated good health.

Totenberg asked the Justice, “How’s your health?” to which Ginsburg replied: “It’s fine, thank you.”

“And those ribs you busted?” Totenberg asked, referring to the three ribs she fractured following a fall on Nov. 7.

“Almost repaired,” Ginsburg said to thunderous applause at The Museum of the City of New York.

Ginsburg revealed that she had returned to her longtime trainer, Bryant Johnson, with whom she’s done twice-weekly workouts for more than 20 years.

“We went back immediately after the fall, we could do legs only,” she said. “Yesterday we did the whole routine.”

Trainer Johnson tells PEOPLE, “We trained Wednesday also, and one day this week. The justice is strong and blessed.”

Nina Totenberg, left, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg’s schedule last week — all while “secretly” undergoing tests and seeing doctors — included multiple public appearances and three different interviews before audiences, “at one point reciting from memory the words of several arias from an opera about her famous friendship and legal dueling with the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia,” reported Totenberg on NPR.

Ginsburg’s malignant nodules were first identified after she underwent testing for the three broken ribs.

And Thursday night, Ginsburg flew on the same plane as NBC’s Katy Tur, who tweeted Friday: “Oh wow. You wouldn’t have known. She was moving well yesterday and she spent the entire ride working.”

Ginsburg’s work this week included a vote before the surgery to refuse to allow the government to enforce President Donald Trump‘s proposed restriction on asylum-seeking migrants, a 5-4 decision that upheld a lower court ruling.

“Justice Ginsburg is one tough cookie,” filmmaker Besty West, director of this year’s highly acclaimed Ginsburg documentary RBG, tells PEOPLE. (The documentary has been shortlisted for an Oscar nomination, come January.)

“She has overcome challenges that would have felled many lesser people,” adds West.