Member Story: Heather F.

Decisions: you have to make so many in life. Some are big, some are small, some change your life.

In October of 2017, I made a decision that changed my life. That decision was to start coming to Stone Brook Strength and start a CrossFit program. You maybe think I’m being very dramatic when I say that this changed my life but it really is true, this has been a decision that I am SO glad that I made.

You see, in June of 2008 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Several times a year I go to the MS Clinic in Winnipeg for a “check up” and every time the progression of the disease was down, down, down. I was losing strength, I couldn’t walk very far, I couldn’t walk up stairs (or down for that matter), fatigue was like a backpack of bricks on my back. I was always in pain and my pain meds would be increased every appointment, I was always so tired and I was prescribed a medication that would give me more energy, just to get through the day. My days consisted of going to work, coming home and going to bed, that is all the energy I had. Holidays were basically a chance to catch up a little on house work and lots of rest. I didn’t have much of a social life because I didn’t have the energy to leave home after a day of work. It had been suggested that my work days be cut, but work is my lifeline as I’ve gone through other personal struggles and work was a place where I still felt wanted, needed, and I didn’t want to give that up.

In October a friend of mine encouraged me to join SBS. I laughed thinking, well won’t that be a sight! I had the picture in my mind of all these people who could climb walls and do chin ups and lift weights and then there would be me, trying to get up off the floor! She told me it wasn’t like that, that Aaron and Robin were so good at working with people where they were at, that they would modify exercise so that I could participate, and that no one would laugh at me but would be proud of the fact that I was making an attempt at strengthening myself. I agreed to join the Foundations Class, with the thought in mind that I would do it to show her how hopeless this was and maybe she would leave me alone! I remember the first class I went to, we went around and introduced ourselves and gave a “goal” of what we would like to accomplish in these classes. For some it was to do a handstand, others to do a chin up – for me, it was to get up off the floor when I had to get down to get something. I remember the first class as well, when we got down on the floor to do some sit ups, it took me a good 5 minutes to get up before I could move on to the next exercise. Nobody laughed at me though – they cheered when I finally got up!

After the Foundations classes were over, I could feel a huge difference in my ability to LIVE LIFE! I could go grocery shopping after going to the gym! I had the strength to do more things without getting fatigued so fast. The pain in my body decreased! I climbed 64 stairs to get to my daughter’s apartment! I could take a bath because I had the strength to lift myself out of the bathtub when I was done! Best of all, when I went for my check up at the MS Clinic at the end of July (9 months of SBS under my belt), they were amazed at my progress and physical ability! Instead of down, down, down, my numbers were up, up, up! I could walk longer, faster. My strength and stamina had increased. My numbers were back up to the highest they had been since I was first diagnosed! (Oh, there were numbers that were down, my weight and blood pressure – I can take that “down”!) The doctor decreased my pain meds and took away the meds needed for energy, because I feel so great and have lots of energy now – I can work a full day, and do things in the evening (like an hour work out at the gym!) and only have to go to bed at a normal time-I’m not constantly exhausted!

My goal to be able to get off the floor has long been surpassed and I am doing things that I thought I would never be able to do again. And I have a cheer team that is there for me in good days as well as challenging times. I feel like I have another family that supports and encourages me.

You don’t have to be an athlete to do CrossFit. I have found out that CrossFit is about taking on every day challenges – they help you figure out how to get up when you’re down (literally as well as figuratively). It has changed my life – it has given me hope that I don’t have to live in fear that this disease/disability is going to take away my ability to care for myself – at least not yet. I feel that as I continue on this path of taking care of myself, mind, body and soul, through nutritional education, body strengthening and conditioning, and social interaction, I am climbing a mountain and the view is getting more spectacular with every step. When I look back at where I was this time last year, I am amazed – any my family is t0o – at how far I’ve come, what I can do that I couldn’t do last year.

The decision to join Stone Brook Strength – the best decision I’ve made in a long time and one that I will never regret! Even after a grueling WOD (Workout Of the Day)!! Thank you to all the coaches and members who welcome, encourage and cheer me on!

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