ICE To The Rescue!

(Delayed post. This event happened on Memorial Day. I have been hesitant to share, but feel it is so important for the ongoing research around Refractory Generalized Mysathenia Gravis aka  Refractory gMG)

Yesterday, I was thrown a very hard learning curve and reality check.

Since I have been diagnosed, I have noticed that cooling my core body temperature during Mysathenia Gravis (MG) flares, immediately reduces exacerbated symptoms. The reason I knew to try a cooling vest, was because of my half marathon race, pre-diagnoses.

When I would run, I would start to find it difficult to swallow. Almost like my throat was swelling, but it really wasn’t. Therefore as I trained, I ran with instant breakable ice packs and 3 liters of ice water in a running backpack. It worked beautifully!  I would place the ice packets on my throat and upper spine at miles 7, 9 and 11. It would greatly reduce the “swelling” and control the heat in that area.

Fast forward to diagnoses. We were told I was self treating without realizing what I was doing; not knowing I had MG. My doctors are AMAZED I did not die during the race. IT completely goes against everything about the disease. They are so proud of me. However, they told me not to do a half marathon again, haha!

Because of this information and my stubbornness, I was not going to let MG take everything away from me. I wanted start to find lifestyle changes that helped me keep a level of normalcy, as long as my disease would allow me to. How could I keep exercising, go on hikes, enjoy being outside and use the information I had learned from my half marathon and the ice?

With that in mind, we found the Flexi Freeze Cooling Vest! We started keeping it with us everywhere! We had no idea if and when it may come in handy.

As of September 4th, 2017, I am singing praises of this cooling vest! We had tried it off and on a round the house. But I never had to use it in what I felt was a true emergency.

Flexi Freeze paid for itself at 3:00pm on that Monday afternoon, when I had my first MG flare away from home with extreme symptoms that almost landed me in the hospital; potentially ending up on a ventilator.

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Once EMS rushed my husband to retrieve the vest from our vehicle and strapped me in it, with in 10 mins, I was 80 % back to my “MG normal”.  This was a game changer for me. The emergency personnel could not belive their eyes.

Here was this young lady, face showing all signs of a serious stroke ,unable to control her mouth and speech starting to slur, legs like jelly, both eyes almost completely closed; then 60 mins goes by and she is walking out the door with her husband to join her parents for dinner. No, that can’t be possible. It was for me!

Now, my ice vest is always by my side. I compare it to an epipen. It is there just incase. It even goes on the airplane with me! My doctors are amazed at the results this vest has provided me and the ability to potentially save my life. This does not work for all MG’ers, but it does for me!

All because I ran a race and told myself I wouldn’t give up! Who knew ice would come to the rescue just a few short months later?

My reality check was this is real and it is dangerous. Up until this point symptoms have been manageable. That is no longer the case and I will begin my new treatment in a week after preliminary blood work.

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Four Words That Changed My Life

“You Have Myasthenia Gravis (MG) ” (Generalized) – April 19th, 2017

What is MG?   (Great Information on the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Website)

I never thought it was humanly possible to feel so much pain, relief, confusion, anger and uncertainty in 15 seconds, as I did that day. I was completely flooded with emotion. I felt as if the room started to spin and I had no choice but to hang on for the ride.

Once my eyes went back into focus, from my state of disbelief, I was able to start having a long dialogue with my neurologist. I was very blessed to be paired with this particular doctor. He listened to me. He told my husband and I, this was a team effort and he would not settle for anything less than my happiness and well-being. But it was going to be a journey, not instant.

He looked us in the eyes and said,  ” There is no cure, however, we will find the best medicine for you. Everyone is different. But we have to dig our feet in and get through the worst before it gets better.”

“Worst ” did not necessarily mean symptoms, although that is also the case, but the  frustration to follow as one medicine after the next, really wasn’t working for me (IVIG DID work, but as most MG-ers know, it does not last). And my particular case was extremely confusing because we had to start figuring out what was MG and when would it be post-operative complications from my surgery, that in turn makes my MG worse. More on that in another post.

Needless to say, our lives have greatly changed as we have only been on this journey for about 2 months now. It has been a long list of doctors office visits, specialists appointments, testing…..more testing, hospital stays and infusion treatments.

I will never give up, I will never give in. It is not my upbringing or my personality.  I hope one day I can become a spokesperson in the MG community; encouraging others. As well as educating doctors, future medical professionals, friends and family, about Myasthenia Gravis and the importance of finding a cure.

#MGStrong #Live2Inspire1 #MyastheniaGravis #IHaveHeardOfMG

 

Update June 18th, 2017

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Rambling update post- not very organized, just a lot of thoughts 🙂

It has been a while since I updated my blog. I have to say, I do miss it. Most of you have been following this blog for a while reading about my recovery from my tonsillectomy and the struggles that followed. After that, I started writing about my journey as a St. Jude Hero and the path it took me preparing for my celebratory half marathon, November 2016 at Disney World.  This run was to prove to myself I was not going to let my  post operative complication beat me.

In all honesty, that race was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I never realized it, but I never did a post about it once I returned  from my trip. I AM SO SORRY!! It was all on Facebook. I will do a post about it after this one!

The blog has taken several different turns from gardening to movies and it was just a place to help me through the most difficult times of my life. Hopefully now, my blog will be more consistent with this new journey I am about to begin.

The reason why I have not been posting since my race in November, is because I never really recovered from my race. Meaning, my energy never came back, I was sleeping all the time and my everyday stamina was down.  Basically it felt like I was back to where I was 6 months after my surgery. We were very confused. However, we took it a day at a time, never giving up.

We got through the stress of the holiday seasons (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Lent, Easter…) ; as a pastor’s wife this adds a whole new level of stress but we anxiously awaited spring to begin running again. Then one day in April, everything changed.

I started feeling more and more tied. Getting up for work each morning felt like I had been hit by a MAC truck, it now became a chore. Bedtime came as early as 7:30 pm and I could barely make it to Church on Sunday, due to exhaustion. I just could not keep up.

As I was driving home from work one day I noticed the lines on the road started to blur. I blamed it on my fatigue and kept going. One day lead to the next and suddenly there were TWO distinct sets of lines on the road. I immediately pulled over until it cleared up.

The following morning I wanted my boss to know, so I sat him down to inform him what was going on and I was needing to see an eye doctor that day. While I was talking with him my eye lid started to droop. I have never been so frightened in my life. Stroke, aneurism, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), were all words flash before my eyes.

I did not know it then, but the days to follow I would be diagnosed with a very rare neuromuscular disorder name Myasthenia Gravis (MG). 

Be The “Upper Hand” For Christ: Know The Details

I have heard it said, it has become much harder to keep young adults and youth in church. Too many things are competing for their time and the priority is not there. Plus the social changes going on right now are making the millennial back away. Then I am asked, how do we, a smaller church, have so many generations? My answer is: We teach them. They are equipped, not entertained. Let me explain…

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Image used from “God’s Not Dead Bible Study” http://www.GodsNotDead.com

We are a small church. We do not have a rock band or fancy lights. We do not have the most recent songs on the radio playing the second you walk in the door and we still use the phone tree to pass along prayer requests. Email is being used for those that prefer email, but we still greatly rely on the phone tree. Yes, all the things I listed above are great things. I love going to a great worship service just as much anyone. In fact, I love visiting churches when Marshall has his Sunday off and we get to worship together (that is a VERY rare event for pastors and their spouses) in a style I grew up with. But is that ALL that makes up the Church?

But let me tell you what we DO have. We have a strong foundation. Our foundation is Christ. We teach the complete 360 degree view of the Bible; not just what makes us feel good. We do everything in our power not to cut verses to make them sound justified to our own gain. And we certainly make mistakes! We are not perfect.

As long as our youth and young people know, we (the leaders), give them as much information as we can and as many resources as we can, then God takes over from there. We equip; we teach. We train them to search for answers. That is our goal. We want them to think for themselves.

If we are not learning, we are not growing and we will never understand how our spiritual maturity is suffering because we are not actually absorbing and understanding facts; just concepts.

Concepts are great; do not get me wrong. But the details, that is were evil likes to fight the youth. Challenging their thinking, making them second-guess anything and everything they have ever known growing up. Evil loves the silence. It is the silence that happens when a best friend gets in a fight with them over what they believe and why, then they struggle to respond. The silence is where evil wins. When they can’t defend their beliefs, they can’t understand the attacks.

How can we battle evil in this world without details? That is like showing up to a fight in dress shoes or high heels. You will make one move to protect yourself and fall flat on our face because your feet had the wrong foundation. It was slippery, you fell basically on your own and the opponent takes advantage of that and has the upper hand. Game point.

Teach your youth. Teach them to be resourceful. Teach them to ask questions, then ask it again to someone else, then ask it again to the barista at the coffee shop, then ask their pastor. Let them know “why” people’s answers vary. Interpretation of scripture is hard, I will be the first to say it. But until you fight to understand and learn the details, the conversation will almost always turn out like this…..

Person: “Why do you belive that?”

Youth answers: ” Because so and so said it… or I heard someone say it on Sunday”

They never answer with ” I believe………, because when you look at the book of ____ in the Bible……. and then I read a book from a theologian named…… and then a  commentary from …… which assisted me to understand…. ”

See the change?

Be the change. Know the details. Grow to be the “upper hand” of Christ in the fight.

 

Lets Get Crazy- Practice and Race Day

July 11, 2016
Today was a great day. I ran the Crazy 8’s Practice Run in preparation for the real Crazy 8’s 8k on Saturday. As I am training for my half marathon I am using smaller races to just have fun  and to push myself. Plus, it does a lot for your body and soul! Seeing my old running group really made this day special.

I have noticed while I was changing into my running shoes today, that I am getting more excited than I used to before a run. I now have the feeling I can keep up again; that I belong with the group. I am starting to regain my confidence on the road. It also has helped my confidence in my physical ability that we have now tested the waters with workouts and understand the limitations of my throat during activities. But the best part is, we have found great solutions for keeping my throat cool and inflammation down during runs or other outdoor activities. I also can, and have used, these tricks in my everyday life. All of these things are “Two Thumbs Way, Way Up! ” in my book!

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If you are a runner, you know that it can be very easy to start a race “too hot”. Meaning, you basically throw out your game plan, your intervals, and what pace you should be running and follow the crowd. This can be a very dangerous thing for someone who is training for a half. Smaller races, like this, gives me the opportunity to overcome my pre-race jitters which can lead to these race errors. I highly recommend it!

Today was proof of that. I did great, but due to the extremely high temperatures, we cut the run short at 4 miles. It really was the best decision. It was not due to anything I did wrong. I kept my intervals, hydrated and stayed within my pace range. It was Marshall calling it and me reluctantly agreeing with him.

Honestly, there was a time I felt like giving up as I made the first loop of the race, before I sent Marshall the text. But I realized that the things that were hurting me, actually had nothing to do with my throat (at this point). It was little things like blisters, heat, bad shoes , my water on my hips got hot. (Which does not help my throat cool down)  And lastly, if my whole purpose behind this blog is to be transparent, then I have to admit to you I was missing Marshall while I was running. He has been training with me this whole time, until this run; he is my rock.

It was weird not having him with me and being surrounded by strangers. People that had no idea what I am working towards or what this race meant to me. This was a milestone!  To get this feeling was a new factor I never thought would be an issue or that would even come up. Before my surgery I had competed in several races and Marshall was there waiting for me at the finish, cheering me on; no big deal, right?  Then I realized, the heat was making me create excuses and one of the biggest issues holding me back I could easily fix, so I sent him the text. We are not in Florida yet. This is a practice run for a training race and November is far off. I do not HAVE to run alone yet.

Marshall and I went forward as a team, exactly what I needed. Then as we crossed a few more intersections we looked at each other and went to a shaded area to escape the blazing sun while we discussed what the best game plan would be. I will admit, I might have shed a few tears while we were sitting there, but I knew “calling it”  was the right thing to do. This was not an actual race, conditions were even dangerous for the seasoned runner and I knew Saturday was my real goal. As a side note, prior to this run, my training has allowed me to achieve longer distances than this, so you can imagine my aggravation and feeling of defeat.

After I got cooled down, realized that it was not just me that was struggling, it was ALL of us, we compromised; ending at 4 miles. My heart sank as we made the choice to turn around,  but those conditions are out of my control. (As Marshall had to keep reminding me until I got it through my stubborn head, ha!) . The heat was just a nightmare. Regardless, it was a great run and I am beyond proud of myself.

July 16, 2016

Seeeee, I told you I could do it!  My race was amazing! I learned a few things on my run that I need to keep in mind for the next one. The biggest adjustments I will have to make is in the clothing department once my running hydration pack gets here. My ice pack would not stay where I needed it to, in the top I was wearing. Right now, my hydration system is on a belt and has become more difficult to use than I initially thought. So, I will be switching to a hydration backpack where I will keep (2) instant ice packs, ID, gummies, phone, my music and a few band aids (just incase).  But this is why you practice and train. You learn what works and what does not before the big day!

Marshall and I ran the last 100 yards together. He had been on the side lines cheering me on the whole time, but he met me at the end and we crossed the line hand in  hand.. What an amazing night!

I plan on doing a “Pack” update once I get all these items narrowed down and weighed. That post will be a lot of fun to write, I can already feel myself getting MORE excited since I just completed my 8k! Until next time, enjoy the pictures below!

Here are my race day pictures!!!

Watch The Starting Line! It is SO cool!

July 4th : Skin Is Waterproof – Keep Running

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On July 4th, I had been in the car for hours returning from Nashville and I could feel my legs starting to give me fits. I did not have a chance to run the entire time I was away and I could definitely tell. I did some cross training while I was gone, but I was ready for some distance.

About an hour from the house, I called Marshall and told him I needed to get 4 miles in tonight, my legs were killing me. Then I asked him what he thought about going to the Greenbelt and running 2 miles out and back. That would give me my distance and take us to a different place rather than the park. If we ran the Greenbelt, we would finish just in time and at the perfect location for 4th of July fireworks that would be going off in downtown. We could take a blanket, sit out in the fields and just enjoy being together. Romantic, right? WRONG!

We began our run at 7:15 pm, it was beautiful. Perfect weather, perfect temperature and Marshall brought his bike and rode beside me. Up to this point, Marshall had been running with me, but then we realized that I was going to need extra supplies in my longer runs and a lot more water to keep my throat cooled off. So we thought we could give this a shot. He could carry all our supplies, phones etc.  in a sling backpack and ride beside me. Honestly, we loved it! What a great way to train in a buddy system. Plus, he knows me better than anyone and can help me adjust if my throat starts bothering me. He also is a runner and has been an amazing athlete his entire life. (Sorry Marshall, I get to brag on  you a little.) Because of this, he has been helping me with form, speed and endurance. Giving me tips and tricks as we go.  He is my biggest  cheerleader, I couldn’t do any of this without him. IMG_7459

Back to our run. We reached our 2 mile marker and noticed several people in front of us really starting to pick up speed. Then we noticed they were sprinting! We looked up and out of nowhere developed these amazing, black clouds which filled the sky and covered all our sunshine. The clouds literally developed in seconds and was a complete shock to everyone!  It did not take us long to realize that we were about to slammed by a major storm.

 If you remember, I just mentioned that we had reached our 2 mile point to turn around and go back towards the car. Then you have probably put the pieces together that we had reach our furthest distance and we had no other option but to run the entire distance back. As you can tell from the photos above, there was not a place for us to seek shelter until the storm passed. As Marshall shouted out during the storm, “We really don’t have an option, we are committed to this. Plus, it rains a lot on in Florida! ” His quirky humor never lets me down in moments such as these.

The good news is, the temperature dropped roughly 20 degrees and we had an awesome breeze. The bad news, it wasn’t 2 minutes into the run back to the car that the clouds opened up. The rain turned into, what felt like, a hardcore monsoon. As the wind increased it’s speed, I started to notice I was very much aware of every rain drop that hit exposed skin. The rain drops delivered a terrible pain sensation that reminded me of little needles piercing your skin. The faster the rain and wind picked up, the more it stung. Then add some lightening and thunder and you have the perfect scenario to achieve a book busting PR! (Personal Record) Which I did! HA!

We reached our car safe and sound, laughing and in pain. My feet felt like they were covered in fire ants. As Marshall loaded the bike, I removed my shoes to find that every single toe on my foot had blisters. Because of the rain, regardless of wearing wicking socks that help NONE when you are basically running in a small stream, your skin starts to develop a  prune affect. You know what I am talking about. The way your body transforms into some weird wrinkly creature when you have been in water too long.  You guessed it, my feet were destroyed. The wrinkles that developed created the perfect surface for friction to wreak havoc on my little toes. (I will show pictures and my tricks for getting them healed quickly in another post.)

At the end of the day, we had fun. We laughed until we cried at the condition we were both in. Looking back, it was an epic run minus my toes and I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂

As a bonus, we can now say at my motivational speaking events:
“We beat the storm, it did not beat us!”

                                                                  Happy 4th of July

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What I think Marshall felt like riding in the rain that night. HA!

I Signed The Dotted Line!

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Today is a “#LaterPost”  because of the 4th of  July weekend.  Due to the monsoon we ran in on Monday night (I will be blogging about that this weekend) I was unable to get this written and posted on the day I did it, but no worries, It is here now!

It is official! I signed all my paperwork for my half marathon last week since I  reached 75% of my fundraising goal; my race bib and registration are now finalized.  I still have a little bit more to go until I reach my $3000 goal, but honestly we are SO close!

When I mailed my form in, I had an overwhelming sense of calm and nervousness all in the same emotion. I immediately ran to my planner to see what week I was on with my training and the date of the actual race. I had to convince myself I was still on track and I would meet the training pace time required to run. If I drop below that pace while I am running, there is a risk of me getting pulled from the event and taken straight to the finish line without a medal 😦 .     This CAN’T happen!

After leaving the mailbox, the conversation in my head went a little something like this:
– So this is real? I can’t back out now.
– I am going to be doing this in November? That’s too soon.
– Yay, Disney!!!!
– Really?….. 13 miles, I must have lost my mind. I could barely work a full day, 6 months     ago, without sleeping for three.
– Tinkerbell will be there!
– Great, the mailbox has a lock on it, I wonder if my fingers can reach in and grab it?
– Will Marshall let us get matching shirts? Probably not.
– But what if I come down with the swine flu? Do I still get a medal?
– I can’t believe I thought this was a good idea.
– If I back out, I can always blame it on the cat…..

But in all seriousness, it is exciting. I am basically sitting on top of the world right now in anticipation. I will continue to raise money until I meet my goal and if we exceed it, even better! I am gaining speed and distance every week. I can feel my body changing and getting stronger. I plan on doing a training update after my session tomorrow with Shawn and Brooke. Until then!

The official countdown has begun!
Number of Days Until Race Day:  117

My Story: Why A Half Marathon?

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As many of you know, the last two years have been nothing short of the greatest obstacle of my life. What was supposed to be a simple routine surgery to remove my tonsils,  turned into 3 surgeries, modified bed rest, months of speech therapy, swallow therapy and physical therapy. Hemorrhaging out as an adult was a risk I was very well-informed about, however, I had to have the surgery. It really was not an option for me to say “no”. Regardless of all the bad, I am still truly thankful that I did it.  I am healthy, happy and loving life. I get stronger everyday.  All because of the amazing team surrounding me.

Now, thanks to my doctors, whom I can’t say enough good things about, I have been released to do this great race and raise money as a St.Jude Hero! A true passion of mine. But many people have asked me “Why? Why a half marathon?”, so I thought I would shed a little light on the subject.

When my husband and I were trying to decide on how we wanted to celebrate overcoming this adventure, I told him I wanted to do something that covered 6 criteria.
– Had to benefit someone else
– Physically challenging
– Fun
– Location : A place we had not been TOGETHER
– Something a year ago, would have been absolutely impossible to accomplish
– But also something that I HAD done prior to my surgery. To prove, I was getting back to “me”.

It was in this 6 criteria, we decided on a half marathon through the St. Jude Hero program. This would allow me to do my fundraiser for the kids, run in a location neither of us have been together, physically challenging and it is going to be a blast!

I was first a St. Jude Hero at the Rock N Roll Half Marathon – Nashville, one year after my little cousin passed away. (You can see my original post HERE). It was emotionally very difficult, I spoke to Aaron every step of every mile. And at times, I am pretty sure he even carried me. This run allowed me to grieve. It was exactly what God had planned for me. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

When you lose a child in your family, you really do not know how to react or how to process it. But this run and raising money for the children at St. Jude Research Hospital gave me a place to keep his fight alive. We made a difference with every step and in Aaron’s honor and memory. I couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate him.

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon means just as much to me, if not more. We are raising DOUBLE the amount of money to send to the children!  To be able to make a difference in the lives of these children and their families, truly leaves me speechless. In my first run, I raised enough for 20 families. With this run, it will give assistance to  40 families! I have seen first hand what this money will do. How much it means to them. Especially, in a time when all their focus needs to be on the little lives that are before them, finances should not be a priority or worry. It is ALL taken care of, 100% , because of YOUR donations.

As far as the physical challenge,  I had to do a half marathon. A 5k or even a 10k would not allow the mental and emotional battle to have its peace. That I did it. That I, above all odds, defeated the very thing that tried its best to bring me down. The bar had to be set. I had to put it to a level where I knew I could obtain it, but a distance that also required your body to be trained and conditioned. I would have to truly work for it. So we settled on the half.

When I cross the finish line, I told my husband to be ready to catch me. I will probably be crying with tears of joy, relief, pain and overwhelmed with emotion. I can see it all happening, even as I type this post. That everything I have gone through the last two years was for this. To be a St. Jude Hero, running for Aaron and all the children. To give talks, share my story and help change the lives of others. Reminding everyone, never give up. You never know what God will use your story for.

People often say “it is just a half”, but for me….. it is 20,000 steps I couldn’t take two years ago.

Please support my fundraiser as St. Jude Hero. We are almost there!
http://heroes.stjude.org/DeannaSteinle

 

Diary Entry: St. Jude Hero Page From 2011

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Below is a post I had written for my St. Jude Hero page, the very first time I did this fundraiser and prepared for the Half Marathon in Nashville, TN .

(Written The First Year After Aaron Earned His Angle’s Wings) 
All my life I have competed in one way or another. Swimming, dance, pageants, riding horses..the list goes on and on.  In that time, I developed a since of competition with a purpose, knowing that win or loose, the efforts were still contributing to something bigger than yourself. Nothing held more true than the night of June 5, 2010 when my own idea became reality and hit home.

 The final night of my National competition the phone rang and my worst nightmare came true. My little cousin, Aaron, had lost his battle with Leukiema and I was far away from home and far away from my family. However, I could not leave the competition.  Not because I physically was unable, but  because I made a promise to a little boy lying in bed at  home, that wanted nothing more than to come watch me compete at my big event that I would stay.  Aaron told me the night before I left, “I am so proud of you and promise me whatever happens, you will finish. Win or loose, you will always be my queen. I love you.” The last words he would ever say to me before he died and big words at that. These words came from a child who had spent months at St. Jude’s fighting a Leukiema that was extremely aggressive and caused much pain, and knowing he barely had much time left. Regardless of what he felt, he found the strength everyday to  put others before himself in every aspect of his life and his treatment. 

 Aaron was the child, that loved unconditionally and without cause. When he spoke to you, he made you feel like you were his favorite. A gift that truly was unique and special. 

 During his illness  he was  more worried about his family being o.k and  going through the process of treatments,traveling , and the education of his cancer, than he was for himself and what he would and did endure. He never wanted tears and he never wanted pain for all around him and spoke of that often. He wanted everyone to be happy and enjoy each day they had.  A remarkable young boy with a huge heart filled with wisdom of love and kindness  that normally takes a lifetime to obtain. 

 I truly believe,  that with the help of St. Jude’s , that thousands of child’s lives will be saved because of Aaron. That they will find a cure to this rare and aggressive form of cancer normally found in adults, that has discovered its  way into children. 

 Aaron taught me my own life lesson. A thought and moral standard my parents  instilled in me for years. He brought it home, he  lived it no matter how bad things got. If he can go through, numerous treatments, bone marrow transplants and tests and still put others above himself, then I can run 13.1 miles in his honor to help St. Jude’s come that much closer to finding a cure to save the lives of thousands. 

 Aaron did his part in contributing to this  process, now lets do ours. Please donate for this worthy cause and support me in raising my monetary goal in Honor and Memory of Aaron.  The boy who loved others the way they wanted to be loved, the one who put others before himself no matter what he endured and the one that saw his purpose in the big picture. 

 Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Deanna

Meet The Team: 5 Responsibilities of Coaching Relationships

“With Great Coaches, Comes Great Responsibility. ” – Me

 

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Shawn Dunn – Personal Training Director                           CFT, SFN, SET, SSF, SSC, YFT

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Brooke Neeley – Certified Personal Trainer  ISSA, CPR/AED

 

With my training for the half marathon quickly becoming more intense as the weeks go on, there came a point where I said, “I can’t do this on my own.”

After such a difficult and unusual situation from my surgery, plus being on bed rest for so long,  I quickly discovered that my mind told me I could do all the things I did pre-surgery, but my body was telling me to think twice.

This is the point where I was surprisingly  blessed to be introduced to these two AMAZING coaches, Shawn Dunn and Brooke Neeley.

In my earlier competitive years, I had the opportunity to work with a few different personal trainers. However, none hold a candle to these two! They really  are more than I deserve.

What makes them different? We hold ourselves accountable to our responsibilities.

When I say “With great coaches, comes great responsibility” , I say this because there are FIVE major parts to a coaching relationship that I feel are truly important . Shawn and Brooke excel in these areas!

1. They Have A Responsibility To Me: To Be Their Best

This category is pretty self-explanatory, however one of the MOST important. This one key element sets the tone and effectiveness of your personal training experience. Brooke and Shawn use every available resource and training they have to help me reach my goals. This includes nutrition, safety, workout variety, injury recovery, injury prevention and goal expectations.

They also have to be their best mentally. Be the “up” for me when I am down. And  my  safe place where I can have break down if I need it, due to the emotional and physically taxing journey I am on. Lets be real, there is not a single part of this journey that is easy. But that is why they are here. They are a big part of my support system.  In my book ,they definitely deserve 5 stars in these areas.
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Let me remind you of you one key point in this section. Your trainers are also HUMAN, so make sure to keep that in mind if they need to move your session or reschedule. You have no idea what is going on in their lives and  by them rescheduling on you, it could be the difference of an effective session or not.  You want them to be at their very best!

2. I Have A Responsibility To Them : To Be My Best

This  does not mean to only be my best whenever I show up at the gym, giving 100% of myself. Yes, this does help and makes our sessions go well. But this also applies to all the things I am asked to do outside of my workouts. If I apply all the things they recommend for me, which they take special care in creating the correct nutrient plan and tips based off your personal goals and body, this will keep me healthy and uninjured. There is a REASON they give you the material that they do.

3. They Have A Responsibility: To Protect Me

Example: As I mentioned in my last post, my knee was giving me a little bit of an issue this week. I told Shawn I was going to go for a run on Wednesday. He advised me to hold off after what he observed with me in our session Tuesday morning. I was much weaker than I thought.

His job is to protect me. Sometimes that even means protecting me from myself. I REALLY wanted to go for a jog to see how my knee would feel, but he wanted me to rest it. At this point  I was crying inside, because a week off from running when I am preparing for a half marathon, makes me cringe.  I am only at a  4 mile base and I have to get to 13 miles!!  Yes, cringing might even be an understatement!

Turns out, my knee needed more time than a week and we went for two.  Two weeks are nothing, to what a knee injury could do in the long run. It could take me out of the race all together. As hard as it was, I listened and obeyed.

Protecting me also applies to the workouts they create and spotting me. I wish I could put into words the attention to detail Brooke and Shawn put into these two areas. They take very seriously the safety of their clients and adjust the moment they feel you are reaching muscle fatigue.  You may want to keep going, but they WILL stop you.

When you are in a session with them, their focus is on you and you alone.
Too many times I see trainers get distracted by their gym buddies and sometimes it even can make you feel like a third wheel. That is NOT the case with them! When you are in a session, yes people will come by and say hi, but they have made it known that when there is a client before them it will be a “hey man! ” (which I would want them to) but it will not be a full conversation. Your safety and your well-being is ALL that is important to Brooke and Shawn. Again, 5 stars in my book!

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4. I Have A Responsibility: To Trust Them

When you have been through training programs before, you feel you have gained some knowledge about what to expect and what your body should feel like when performing certain exercises. And lets get real honest and say, it sometimes can be hard to fully trust a brand new person in your life. It takes time. Unfortunately, time is something you do not have in the gym. Your trust must be instant until proven otherwise. If trust is lacking there is a real, serious  potential for someone to become injured.

Besides safety, sometimes we can get in our own head and not like a workout because we (you and I) think we know better and should be doing something different to impact muscle “X”.  That is where trust comes in. Shawn and Brooke are introducing me to workouts I have never seen or heard of before. Why? Because I have to modify my workout schedule based on my neck and throat, while still accomplishing my fitness goals.

Last week, we had this exact conversation. They were having me do a movement that was a little odd to me and I said, there is no way that is working muscle “X”. I was severely mistaken! If you think for one second that you are not working the muscle groups they tell you, wait until the next morning.  When you roll out of bed, it basically feels like you fought a ninja in your sleep and you are not really sure if you won or lost the fight. They will make a believer out of you!

5. We ALL Have The Responsibility Of: Communication

Communication is what makes all of these responsibilities blend together to create a beautiful couching relationship. Is it easy? No. Does it take time? Yes. Will it help me reach my goals? Absolutely. Because without communication your trainers will have no idea what is working, what pushes discomfort into pain, what adjustments need to be made both during workout and outside of gym time. In all honesty, the list of why communication is needed by all parties could be a post all its own. But I know you understand the necessity of it. Communication creates,  great results, more confidence, prevention of injury and great relationships.

The most important thing I have found is the way Shawn and Brooke communicate and speak to me. Not only during workouts but outside of workouts as well. By having the constant communication with them through the week, they are never guessing what they want to work on with me, in our next session.  I found it refreshing to get a text the day after my first workout with them to see how I was feeling and asking me if there was anything they needed to be aware of as far as pain or other issues. My first thought was, “Ok, this is normal. First workout they just want to make sure I am not dying and that I am coming back”. Then my next workout came and went, then I received a similar message, which then ended in a phone call to give me tips on how to adjust my protein smoothies due to my food allergies and it still taste good! I knew from that phone call they were going to be completely different from any other trainers I have ever worked with.  It is times such as these, I love being pleasantly surprised.  indexindexindexindexindex

I know a lot of these responsibilities fall more heavily on the trainers, but that is  because they are the professionals. Not you.

As you can tell, I have an amazing team surrounding me during my training. I am truly blessed and so thankful. The best part is, I still have more people  I want to introduce you to as the weeks progress! So make sure to subscribe and follow along!

Blessings and Love,
Deanna