It’s not often I write a personal post but I’m hoping that that by sharing my journey it will encourage others to ‘go for their dreams’ and to not give up when it feels as though everything is against you.
As a child I grew up in a sporty and active family. My mother taught fitness classes at our local leisure centre and my father played semi professional football. My weekends were filled with dancing, swimming, horse riding, walking and cycling with my parents in and around the Peak District.
In my later teens I began running several times a week, as well as attending circuit training and yoga classes. When I moved to London in my early 20s I joined a running club so that I could begin to seriously improve my running. 10k races and half marathons became my obsession. I was running 40 miles a week on average and I loved it! My increased fitness helped me to complete other challenges such as adventure racing, and mountain walking such as the 3 Peaks Challenge.
During one regular Sunday morning run I felt unusually tired 13 miles into our long run. Several days later I discovered that I was 2 months pregnant with my first child. The sickness and tiredness that followed meant that my running days would come to a halt for a while.
After the birth of my son, I assumed that I would get back into my running. Unfortunately I had a difficult birth which left me physically unable to run for most of the first year. I wasn’t going to give up though and I soon regained my strength to begin running. Not long after returning to exercise I discovered that my knee was swollen after one of my runs. The swelling continued for weeks, even after several trips to the doctor. The swellings then extended to my other knee, both ankles, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. The pain and swelling became so severe that I was struggling to lift my toddler and I could hardly walk up the stairs, this continued for nearly a year.
I was eventually referred to a consultant who diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). He wanted to immediately begin an intense 2 year treatment program, to prevent any further damage to my joints. The drugs the consultant wanted to treat me with can have severe side effects and you’re not able to conceive for at least 2.5 years. My consultant was adamant that if I didn’t get treatment I would be in a wheelchair at 40 (I was only 31 at the time).
Our plans for a 2nd child would be on hold for at least a couple of years, however I knew we were lucky to have one child, and I had to get well so that I could care for my son. Although I tried many types of alternative therapies, the pain relief was short and my condition was worsening. My husband and I therefore agreed to go ahead with the treatment program.
During the treatment period I slowly began to feel better, I regained my mobility and was able to achieve full remission from RA. I was well enough to be able to come off all medication. My consultant was amazed at my progress.
I gradually began to exercise again… I was so grateful that I could run, jump and move my body. I even completed a 60 day Insanity programme (if you haven’t heard of Insanity, Google it and you’ll see how intensive it is).
When the RA was at it’s worst I used to visualise daily, that one day I would run and exercise again. When that day finally became a reality I knew that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. I never gave up hope too that I would be able to have another child and in early 2015 I gave birth to a healthy daughter.
I was warned by the consultant that RA can return after having a baby. It was a risk I was willing to take. Four months after giving birth I woke up one morning with a swollen knee. I immediately contacted my consultant and in the weeks ahead I made changes to my lifestyle and diet to support my healing in addition to taking medication.
Many people who know me don’t know I have RA. If you met me you’d think I was fit and well which is great! The truth is that I don’t want to be labeled as having an illness. My past thinking has always been: “ If I share this with people then it will hold me back personally and professionally” I understand now that is a limiting belief and that there are lessons I needed to learn from experiencing this journey. I’ve since studied many books and studies on health, nutrition, holistic and alternative therapies and I believe that honouring my body and my self care is a divine responsibility.
As best as I can I remain committed to looking after myself so that I can be the best mother, wife, daughter, friend, mentor and coach.
So what can you take away from this?
I wanted to share with you 5 lessons that I’ve learnt from my journey so far that I hope will help or inspire you in your business and life:
1/ Visualise the outcome – I often use visualisation exercises to help with my intentions and step into the feelings I desire. This can sound easier than in practice if you are experiencing throbbing pain however I found that it gave me a focus on and it gives you hope when times get tough.
2/ ‘This too shall pass’ – I love this quote. It’s a reminder that our situations are temporary and fleeting. Just because today wasn’t awesome, doesn’t mean that the following day will be the same. If today was amazing then aim to be present and really appreciate those special moments.
3/ Every challenge is a learning opportunity – Whenever you come up against a challenge or difficult situation, look for the lessons learnt afterwards. If you take the time to reflect you’ll usually discover a handful of them. Don’t be surprised to find that this also happens when you’re experiencing personal shifts or during a period of growth in one or more areas of your life.
4/ We are capable of so much more than we realise – too often we limit ourselves and our thinking of what is possible for ourselves. Therefore “ Be fearless in your pursuit of what sets your heart on fire”
5/ We only have one body so take care of it – without our health we really do have nothing.
Do you have any tips that you’d like to share from an experience that changed your life? If so let me know in the comments box below
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