Isaiah 40: 30 – 31 ESV 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Tonight is one of those nights, I am not sure how to get my words together. Marshall and I took a much needed vacation to get away, retreat and process everything we have been going through since my diagnoses and latest appointments. We have had some amazing concurring moments and moments where I feel like my world is falling apart.
Being in my 30’s and suddenly having my legs give out while walking is something I NEVER IMAGINED I would be learning how to handle in my life. Or how to handle the stares from the flight attendant because she can’t believe my face is drooping and can barely understand me because I am slurring my words. I become so red with embarrassment, I want to crawl under my seat.
At this moment, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under my feet in several aspects of my life.
I say this with certainty that the majority will understand when I say this “It is ok, to not be ok 100 % of the time”. The best, most powerful thing I can do for myself is to recognize and give respect to the changes happening to my body and allow the feelings to come when they come. Giving them time to process and then get back up again.
That DOES NOT mean I give in; it means that I take care of myself when my body is telling me something is wrong. When it tells me to stop and forces me to rest. Marshall has to step in sometimes to make me stop. Because, well you know, I am stubborn. However, he truly understands my drive and the mental struggle I have daily. But when I do not listen, I end up in a wheelchair on vacation and headed back to the room to sleep and let my body recover. I do not get an option when it gets to that point.
So what do I do now, that I feel like the rug has been pulled? Burn it! I did not need that rug anyway! Redecorate. Make changes. Downsize. Redecorate again. How am I doing that? One day at a time. I am working on a Ladies Retreat coming in 2020, I have a few speaking engagements this fall. For the new year I am not sure where it will go from there. These were things all put into motion BEFORE my last set of doctors’ visits. Then we had to have some very hard discussions in those appointments. Honestly, it was not information I wanted to hear. Hence why we went away for a while.
All I know is, God has me. I will fly, I will soar. I will always be looking for his guidance and do everything in my power to fulfill the plan he has for me, to the best of my ability.
I want to share what God has done in my life. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I sometimes feel like a broken record, but I honestly believe that if I can help just one person, it is all worth it. #Live2Inspire1
Next speaking event: Sept. 8th Grace Covenant Church Kingsport, TN
For YEARS my parents have always called me their “little ice-cube”. We have a running joke in my family, from the time I was shivering at Disney World in Orlando, Florida during one of the hottest days of Summer. Disclaimer: The sun was setting, but to my family, completely irrelevant. HA!
In the last 6 months, that is basically out the window. If fact, when I tell someone in my family I am cold, they respond with “Great!” Or my extremely empathic husband responds in the most loving way, ” Make it colder! ”
Humidity, high temperatures, stagnate air are very dangerous for gMG*. If you have read my ICE To The Rescue! post, you have a clear picture just how dangerous it can get and how ice plays a major role in maintaining a safe enviorment in warmer weather.
My body chemistry has completely changed due to treatment. I tend to run warm natured. I am hardly ever cold; to be honest it is kind of frustrating. Reason being, the colder I am, the better behaved my symptoms are. So why did it have to change? It would have been much easier if I stayed cold natured. Right?!
With Summer coming to an end, Fall quickly approaching, I can’t sleep with the building excitement of the much-needed break (from the heat) coming my way! A list is running through my mind of all the wonderful things I get to do this time of year. It is basically a triple gift!
1. A Break From The Heat
3. Outings with Friends and Family
I think, that is what made summer so difficult. This year, I had to cancel much more frequently or stay inside, while everyone else played under the bright blue sky and golden rays. Not being there broke my heart. Especially if it was something I consider a “tradition” with certain people. And let’s be honest, this year has been pretty unbearable with heat. Some weekends just getting out of the house was a challenge. So I feel like I missed a lot.
This Saturday is the “First Day of Autumn”. I am already counting down the days until my phone rings and it is my Mom and two family friends, asking if I want to stroll around the Holiday Markets. Yes, yes, yes, GIRL TIME! The markets are always inside, it SMELLS like Christmas when you walk through the doors and the shops are AMAZING! Normally there are several around our area, sprinkled throughout the season; so there is always something to look forward too. It brings so much joy into my life!
Fall brings: Crisp mornings, amber leaves, cooler temperatures, more energy, hopefully shorter recovery time on weekends, Holiday excitement, the ability to see more people, Honeycrisp apples and decorations!
Fall also brings the increased possibility of illness. Since my immune system is now drastically compromised with how far I am into the medication, I have to be more careful. My doctor gave me a wonderful lecture at my last appointment. #YAY . So if you have been visited by our friend Mr. Ooey Gooey, Green and Boogies, reschedule. I will see you after he leaves. HA!
Summer is full of sunshine, but for MGer’s it can be rather dark. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel the excitement building as the list of adventures grow and knowing all the people I will see. I have been waiting for this!
Isaiah 40:31English Standard Version (ESV)
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;they shall walk and not faint.
This morning I am resting, drinking my coffee and looking back over the last several days. All I can say is “wow”! There are so many things on this trip I have accomplished that a year ago, I would have NEVER been able to do so. In fact, a year ago I was in the hospital receiving my first IVIG infusion due to a massive episode….
Making the decision to start treatment last fall was not easy. In fact, it broke my heart, honestly because I think the reality of the situation hit really hard. But I had a very hard conversation with God and I said “Ok, if this is what is ahead of me show me what I can do. Show me that I can inspire people with this disease and let me experience your wonder in all the dreams I once had. Let me accomplish the impossible.”
Well, here I am. He has showered me with love, encouragement, amazing products (my ice vest and backpack) to give me the tools I need to accomplish my dreams. It is hard, let me put that out there right now. The pictures make it look easy. I could not do it without my family and my husband checking on me throughout each hike. Making sure I was hydrated, cooled off and carrying extra bags to provide me with medicine when needed and my breathing gauge. I have seen the love of Christ over and over in each of them. I have seen God in the mountains, I have seen him in the flowers, I have felt him in my legs when I thought I couldn’t make it. And I heard his words through communion on the mountain top.
I have no idea what adventure I will do next. But I can tell you now, I am not stopping. I have felt more alive in this last two weeks than I have in 5 years. This illness has taken so much from us over this time and I am telling you now, I am taking it BACK! I know it will not be easy, I know there will be challenges, but I also know I have an amazing God behind me tell me ” WE can” . FlexiFreezePolar Bear Coolers#Live2Isnpire1#RareDisease#GeneralizedMG#MGStrong
Before I start this, I wanted to set some ground rules. This is not a “please help me fix this!” post. I welcome ALL support comments and love. This post is very raw and very personal. We are in the process of taking all the information from my care team and making the most prayerful decision possible. Please know, we are looking at ALL options. I am also not a medical professional; the information below is my understanding from all the information I have received and researched. If you have additional information, please send it to me in a private email email@example.com or direct message. Please feel free to share !
This is for all the ladies out there that need to know you are not alone. I want to share for the people that are afraid of judgement and need someone who understands. I do!
If you are like me you have probably dreamt of having a family of your own since you were a little girl. You have secretly built a list of baby names for that special day and continually edit it when a name strikes you. Do not try to deny it, we ALL do it; haha! You start dating, fall in love, get married and naturally that list starts getting longer. You begin really listening for names you love. Then start crossing off the names you decide you dislike or your siblings/in-laws use them for their children. Definitely crossing it off!
So you can see the list is ever evolving and ever changing. It is a wonderful time in your life and a fun game to play with your spouse.
When I was diagnosed last year, my care team told me that if we wanted to have children then we should go ahead and try; then I could start treatment next year. We had a little bit of time. The decision shortly got reversed when I had several bad episodes and waiting was no longer an option. I was further along than what we had initially thought. I needed to start treatment sooner than we expected. My heart sank.
Last fall, Marshall and I sat with my doctors and made a very hard decision to start the treatment we were dreading.. We knew by doing so, the side affects and risks would ultimately make some life decisions for us. This was something we did not take lightly. There were tears and more tears…
The treatment is not a medication that you can become pregnant on. This treatment, if it works, is also something I could potentially have to be on the rest of my life. I am pretty sure you have put two and two together by now. So my question was, “can I come off the medication, try to have a family, then go back on it ? ” The look in their eyes said it all.
Even if I come off the medication, delivery alone could put me on a ventilator during and after delivery for a while. I would potentially need several rounds of IVIg (during pregnancy and after delivery) and the baby could have transient MG for up to 6 months. Therefore the baby would have to be delivered in NICU and monitored very closely; receiving swallowing and breathing assistance. Before baby would even arrive, all ladies have a chance of developing signs of preeclampsia (early signs are fairly common and normally easily treated before it becomes dangerous). The medication used for preeclampsia, I can’t take due the affects it has on my illness. This would force early delivery at the time of discovery; regardless where you are in the pregnancy.
Do not get me wrong, all or none of these things could happen. There have been some MG’ers that have great pregnancy stories. Then there are several that have stories with some or all the risks above.
So at what point or what would a doctor have to tell me, that would give me peace about coming off the treatment to try? Honestly, I do not know the answer to that.
Gestational carriers and surrogates have been brought up in conversation as well as adoption. But to be honest, the feelings are too raw to even begin to have those conversations. Also MG is a progressive disease, so I will have a better understanding of my progression once I come back from DUKE (hopefully). So this discussion is on hold for now.
Where do we go from here? I am not sure. All I know is I can barely look at the list of names without tear-filled eyes. I see baby outfits for Easter and I have to sit in the car and cry it out with my husband because I know that may never happen for us. Every time someone asks me about children I feel my stomach turn into knots and grab for my husband’s hand and let him take lead to answer, because I just can’t right now.
Today is an emotional day. Today I want to cry and scream from a rooftop. But I know I will have better days. I know I will have ups and downs. For all the ladies out there, regardless of the reason that finds yourself in the same boat, know I love you and I understand.
The feelings I have mentioned in this post only barely scratch the surface of what I am feeling. It is a very complex situation/emotion that has different effects and triggers from all directions of your life.
I would like to do a follow up post on this to answer any questions or add to any thoughts I have as I go through this journey. I know it will not be easy, I know it will be hard.
What I do know? I am loved. I am loved by a loving and gracious God. I am loved by an amazing and strong husband. I am loved by my family, friends and co-workers. And I am loved by THREE amazing fur babies that remind me every day that they chose me to be their mommy. (If you have animals you know what I mean)
January 10th, 2018 the paperwork was written up by my neurologist and the request was made, we are headed to DUKE Medical.
A couple of things:
1. This Is Not A Bad Thing:
We are going to get several of our questioned answered. Hopefully qualify to get on their “Active Patient List” which would allow me to be considered for trial treatments and research.
2. I Am In A Better Situation Than Most Myasthenics Headed To DUKE:
I tested positive in blood-work, therefore so much workup was done locally, my time with the specialist will be extremely targeted and very efficient (hopefully) .
3. No, I Do Not Know When I am Going:
Once the paperwork is sent out, it could be a week or months before I get a phone call from them. Especially since I am currently undergoing one of the more major treatments.
4. I Cut My Hair! Due to my current treatment, my hair is starting to drastically thin and fall out. It should not get super patchy, from my understanding, and I will not lose it completely, but I will see a noticeable difference. This week I believe, has been the hardest as it is starting to come out by the handfuls. So I decided to take control and cut off almost 6 inches !!! I actually really like. I am still adjusting.
To say the last three months has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. We began my third treatment option in October; knowing there would a 3- 8 month waiting period to see full benefit.
So here it is, month three and I can honestly say my head is still spinning. Some days I feel like things are going to be “ok” and everything is under control. Then within an hour, I can feel as if the bottom of the world is falling out from under me. As my doctor keeps telling me, this is completely normal.
Due to the way gMG* works, it truly can fluctuate day by day, hour by hour; sometimes by the minute. Making my days, for right now, very unpredictable. To me, this is the hardest part. Why? Because I have commitments. The way in-which I live my life affects a number of people around me. I have commitments at work, coaching, church, family … all the places my heart is, that is where my commitments are.
When I am not be able to be there, calling last minute having to cancel, I feel, lets so many people down. On top of trying to understand and deal with the changes that are being thrown at me, I have this immense feeling of guilt. It brings me down, emotionally. Which also affects my gMG. It literally makes the transmissions in my nervous system run faster and slows down the communication in my muscles. So either way, I feel like I loose.
Last week, I had a terrible episode that made me have to cancel work, coaching and not attend church. Which began with a trip to my doctor’s office. I was slurring my speech, I could barely lift my arm above my head and both eyes were almost completely shut.
After a long conversation with my doctor I was still in the “safe zone” and did not need to go to the hospital, but we were going to reintroduce another medicine that had not worked before. If I continue to get worse, he would be up for a half round of IVIG**. (Thankfully, I do not have to have it right now. Only if my severe episodes become more frequent.)
He believes due to me being on this new treatment, it would allow opportunity for the other medicine, which it did not have prior. It is strictly to help with symptoms in times of extreme episodes when my ice vest or sleep, does not alleviate weakness. This medicine has nothing to do with suppressing the disease. The two will work together. So far, I have seen some benefit and hope it will continue to provide stability.
What have I learned?
1. I have learned to make my goals smaller and to accept those goals.
2. I have learned that I can’t control what is happening to me. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Allow myself to grieve the situation.
3. I am setting four goals for the month of December.
– I want to loose 10 lbs
– I am going to pick a 5k and train for it.
– I am going to blog/vlog more.
– To be easier on myself.
4. My doctors are amazing and have been beyond supportive of me. (I have always known this, I just have to praise them a little on here. I am very blessed.)
5. I have to come to understanding that episodes are going to happen. They aren’t going away. So how do I handle this going forward?
6. I am not giving up. I have said it before and I will say it again. I hope that someone, somewhere will know my story and be inspired. That it helps just one person. #Live2Inspire1 will always be my motto.
I know what it feels like to be at my lowest. I know that I will have ups and downs. I know that every day has its challenges and struggles. But I also know I made it through the day. I know that I am making plans and trying each day to concur this, despite medical odds. I want to keep working, I want to keep coaching, I want to get back into shape, I want to run and play with my nieces and nephews like I used too. I want to look my doctors in the eyes and say “I did it.”
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…
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.
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!
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!
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
– 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.
“With Great Coaches, Comes Great Responsibility. ” – Me
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.
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!
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.
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!