Illness can shake up your world in a way that little else can.
For 5 years I was unable to properly swallow food. At first it was just breads and meat, by February 2014 I had lost 35 pounds and had trouble swallowing even water. After years of wrong diagnoses, I was finally diagnosed with Achalasia; an esophageal motility disorder causing the esophagus to permanently constrict resulting in painful and ineffective swallowing. There is no cure, but there are surgeries available to improve one’s quality of life. In May 2015, I underwent an experimental procedure that involved cutting 13 cm of my esophagus muscle. The procedure was a success and after 6 weeks of a liquid diet, I was finally able to swallow again.
A year went by and I gained all the weight I had lost prior to surgery and more. While I was extremely grateful for being able to eat again, the combination of a new esophagus, school, and work started to take a toll on my body. Portion control alone was not effective in getting back into shape. Finally, in May 2015, I made the life altering decision of hiring a personal trainer. Being a full time student and nurse, I had many limitations to starting a workout regime. I needed something affordable and accessible. I also had many restrictions to the kind of exercise I was allowed to do post-operatively, so I needed a trainer who would cater to my personal situation.
Like an answered prayer, I stumbled upon the Swamp Fitness Facebook page. After a prompt response to my call, I was set up for a free consultation with Jarred Mussen and Amber Pope; a trainer he thought would be a perfect fit for me. It turns out that Jarred has incredible intuition for client needs and I could have not asked for a more perfect trainer than Amber. Like myself, she is a nurse and has immense knowledge of the human body and personal fitness. She works with my crazy schedule meeting me wherever is convenient for me whether it be my house, a park, the stadium, or my gym. She can turn any environment into a killer workout arena. Never having worked out before, she worked gradually with me to ensure I was pushed but not strained past my emotionally/physical ability. Beyond her professional excellence, she has become one of my dearest friends motivating me on physical, emotionally, and spiritual levels to make sure I acquire comprehensive TOTAL BODY improvements.
As of now, I have been working with Swamp Fitness 2x/week for 8 months. I am stronger, happier, and more confident than I have ever been. More importantly, I have learned to incorporate fitness into my crazy schedule; learning that I’m never too busy to give my body the time it deserves. Never having worked out a day in my life, I can now run, do push-ups, squat like a beast, and much more. Additionally, I find myself motivating those around me to exercise even starting a small workout group in the hospital for ICU nurses. Beyond the immense personal fulfillment I have attained, my progress has been recognized by friends/acquaintances. I never get tired of hearing “You look soooo good, what’s your secret?”
Yes, illness can shake up your world. But swamp fitness has taught me to turn tragedy into strength, circumstance into action, and pain into power. Your story is not about what happens TO you but what YOU DO as a result of what happens. So start shaking up your world for the better today!!!