Sometimes you meet people on your journey through life that leave you branded with their story. They fought through the difficult times when life boxed them in, and came out the other side with more determination, and even more fight. Now, nothing can stand in their way.
Here is Stephanie’s amazing, and difficult at times, journey through life in her own words.
When I tell people that I am in better shape both physically and mentally at 30 then I was at 10, 15, and 21, people often look at me in disbelief. I was always the “chubby” kid that was medically excused from recess and never was a part of any sport, not even as a spectator.
I was born with scoliosis and Arnold-Chiari malformation, a rare genetic disorder in which parts of the brain are formed abnormally. I had corrective surgery at the tender, yet, very brave age of 13. Although the surgery prevented further nerve damage, some of the damage was already done. It left me with weakened shoulder and upper back muscles. But even worse it left me with a chronic pain that made my teens and 20s unbearable and downright miserable.
Throughout my 20s, I lived like a zombie, a walking dead of sorts numbed by high doses of painkillers. I took up to 3600 mg of a nerve pain medication, enough to knock down a horse. The medicines were designed for diabetic nerve pain and to control seizures in epileptic people. My primary care physician told me once she was surprised I wasn’t slithering across the floor like a slug.
The medication slowed my system down to the point where I would fall asleep faster than any narcoleptic (many times at the wheel, yikes!) and my metabolism was not just slow, it was at a complete halt. That metabolism stall caused me to hit a record weight gain that made my back pain ten times worse, and my mental state of mind in perpetual negativity.
I would often wonder what quality of life I would have and had resolved within myself that this was the life I was destined to live. A life of pain and discomfort, a life of misery and discontent. I labeled myself a medical incompetent person who would never find relief.
Inadvertently, I had become plagued with a much more chronic disease, one more powerful than any physical illness, the disease of negative thinking.
As I approached my 29th birthday, I begin to think about the life I was living. I wanted to be healthy feel alive. The pain medication stripped me of any sort of life, and I walked around numb and almost cathartic, as the pain continued.
Something within me began to awaken, or at least was trying to, but I wasn’t quite ready yet because I was still numb from the medication, and my thoughts were like poisoned daggers piercing away at any attempt to be positive.
I decided to wean myself off all the medication. It was not easy and the withdrawal symptoms, although I was told would not occur, were tough to handle. I was going through a detox, although the neurologist would never admit to it. I began to see some weight begin to drop off, but it was a difficult and arduous journey. That is until I began CrossFit.
Before I began CrossFit, I had dropped around 50 lbs. by reducing my carb intake and eating healthier, but my muscles were still weak, and I was very unfit, and I was still struggling with that chronic negative thinking that was keeping me from becoming active. When I was introduced to CrossFit Ignite in Westwood, New Jersey through my sister, I was immediately hooked. Especially, when I met coaches Steve and Tina, who welcomed me with open arms, and a kettlebell!
It stopped being about weight loss for me and became a total life changing experience from that point on. The community, the love, the sweat, the fight, the battle we all partake together during each WOD began to transform my mind. I began to immerse myself into this whole new world, this new culture, this CrossFit. I was meeting amazing individuals from all walks of life that had one common goal, to live their healthiest and best life. Each time I would struggle to do a press or a kettlebell swing, I would hear them cheering “YOU CAN DO THIS!”. The community, the love, the sweat, the fight, the battle we all partake together during each WOD began to transform my mind.
The positive thinking began to push out all the garbage thinking that had festered and intoxicated my mind. From the moment I stepped into that CrossFit garage, all I wanted to be was one of these CrossFitters, until I realized I already was.
I began CrossFit in April, and already I have seen a tremendous change in my body, but more importantly my mind. Remember that “chronic pain”? Well, the only pain I experience now is from the kettlebell bruises or Deadlift scratches on my shins. No more chronic pain!!!!!!
I am living proof that if you honor your body it will honor you in return. Although certain exercises are challenging, they are far from impossible! My 6 month goals are to perform a kip and to hold a hand stand, and this, I will do because I have seen myself accomplish things through CrossFit that I never thought possible once.
Now, I believe that there are no limits to what our bodies can do. I was given limitations as a child, teen, and young adult because of a medical condition and I labeled myself just that and lived as just that, as a person with chronic pain, both physically and mentally.
Now, the only label I am proud to share with the world is “CROSSFITTER”.
If you have, or know someone who has a success story, I would love to help you share it with the world. The success story you would like to add doesn’t have to be a video. Click the contact link above or email me at travis (@) uncommonwellness.com and let’s post it!