Viewing entries tagged
illness

How one comic illustrator bounced back from Bell's Palsy

How one comic illustrator bounced back from Bell's Palsy

Never take your smile for granted. Sharean had to overcome the fear that she wouldn't ever smile again after she developed Bell's Palsy, a condition that results in the paralysis or weakness of a person's facial muscles.  "I was afraid that I would lose my eye because I couldn't close it," she recalled. "[Because] I draw comics and art illustrations, I grew even more afraid."

How I beat Crohn's disease, lost 60 lbs, and turned my life around - Pauline's PumpUp Success Story

How I beat Crohn's disease, lost 60 lbs, and turned my life around - Pauline's PumpUp Success Story

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After losing almost 60 lbs in 2014, Pauline began her search for a social platform that would keep her motivated and inspired to continue her fitness journey. "I found PumpUp in January to keep me motivated," she insisted. "I needed to maintain a proper diet and PumpUp helped me do just that." It was of utmost importance for Pauline to maintain a commitment to her health. "I had bowel problems because of Crohn's disease and my spine began to deteriorate from my excess weight and lack of exercise," she explained. "I weighed over 186 lbs (13 stone) in May 2014 and I've been hospitalized numerous times because of my ailments. Moreover, I smoked and binge drank. It was a recipe for disaster." Since Pauline joined the PumpUp community, she began to feel rejuvenated in more ways than one. "After I joined PumpUp, my life changed completely and I'm in better shape now than I was when I was 20 years old: physically and mentally," she confirmed. "I knew I had to hit rock bottom in order to change. I did so with the help of PumpUp, my family, and my trainer." Pauline was so motivated by her progress that she enrolled in and recently completed a diploma program for nutritional therapy.  "This was so important for me, as I realized that you can't out-train a bad diet," she insisted.

Pauline beat Crohn's disease

It's never too late to start. Though Pauline suffered an intense journey full of hardship and various medical ailments, she hasn't had the need to visit the doctor or hospital in over a year thanks to the progress that she made with the help of PumpUp. "I lost 7 babies through miscarriage from a blood clotting disorder and heart arrhythmia," she elaborated. "I was a mess when my only child turned 18 years old. That year, I decided that it was time to change. If somebody told me last year that my fused spine would be bench-pressing, deadlifting, and squatting with heavy weights, I would have laughed at them. Thanks to PumpUp, exercise, and nutrition, anything is possible."

Pauline hopes to continue her journey with PumpUp by staying in close touch with the community that motivated her along the way. "I will continue to use PumpUp to connect with likeminded individuals who keep me inspired and remind me why I started," she said firmly. "There is no going back on my ultimate goal: compete in a body building competition here in Ireland. I am determined to win once I set my foot on the stage." 

Pauline beat Crohn's disease

Pauline's Biggest Motivation

"It's myself, without a doubt. I beat Crohn's disease and defied the odds despite having a fused spine. All of this happened because of nutrition and weight training. Nothing in life worth having is free or easy. It's been hard, but I did it. I'm so proud that I have my health and my life back."

Pauline's Favorite Exercise

Definitely weight training or calisthenics. I love chin ups, but I need to refine my technique.

Pauline beat Crohn's disease

More about Pauline

I'm a big foodie and I have a blog where I post recipes and share about my progress. It was another motivational tool to have on this journey in addition to PumpUp. I won a competition to have the blog and site designed professionally and it fills my heart with joy because it looks greater than I could have ever imagined.

Keep Pauline pumped! Inspired by how she beat Crohn's disease? Cheer her on the app as she makes her way to the stage @challengeuchangeu. Have questions for Pauline? Let her know in the comments below! 

I survived cancer when I was 24. Here's how it changed my life

I survived cancer when I was 24. Here's how it changed my life

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My diagnosis

I never imagined that I would be where I am today. In early 2014, I noticed a mole where I had accidentally smacked my head at work. This one, stubborn mole would change my life forever.  The mole continued to irritate me for weeks on end. It didn't worry me much, but my mom urged me to have it checked. I went to a dermatologist and neither she nor I thought it was of major concern, but, following protocol, it was sent off to the lab for a biopsy. A week later, and to all of our shock, it came back as borderline melanoma.

Melanoma is the most fatal of skin cancers and extremely rare at my young age of 24. I met with my surgeon and it was decided that the site on my scalp needed to be cleared for fear that the melanoma would spread into my lymph nodes. My first surgery went smoothly. It was relieving. On the other hand, the results of the surgery’s biopsy made my stomach drop. The cancer had spread into one of my lymph nodes and a second surgery would be required to see how much further it had spread. Less than a month later, I was back in the hospital being preparing to undergo another surgery. I remember thinking, “Why me? I’m only 24. I have my whole life ahead of me.” But I kept my chin up. I was taught that the grass will always look greener on the other side. I was taught to be thankful for what I have because I am, in some way, more fortunate than somebody else. I knew that there will forever be a greener-looking pasture. These lessons calmed me down as the anesthesia overcame me.

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The physical repercussions from my surgery were obvious. Nerve damage rendered the left side of my face paralyzed. I could not close my left eye or even blink. I could neither form a smile, nor fully open my mouth to eat. Yet, the worst part of the surgery was my inability to do any physical activities! I had become passionate about the gym and hated being kept from it. It took time to recover, but once I was cleared to return, I went as much as I could. I did not care that half of my face was still “dead", I just wanted to regain my bulk! I was discouraged to see I had lost much of my strength. I wanted it back immediately.

My journey to recovery

At the time, I was studying to become a personal trainer, so I applied what I was learning to my own workout routine. I spent hours at home reading books, perusing articles on the Internet, and scrolling through comment threads to discover what had and had not worked for others and why. Circumstances had left me downtrodden, but I was determined not to quit! Cancer changed me. It sounds cliché, but when your life is in question you fight harder than ever to keep it. I am trying to apply this lesson to all areas of my life.Why wait? Why wait for something to change you? Why not dig deep down and change it yourself? It is easier said than done, and I certainly still fail. I am not perfect, but I will never stop trying to better myself. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said “Winners never quit and quitters never win!”

cancer changed my life pumpup

Today, I feel better about who I am because of what I have accomplished. I am mentally stronger. I am striving to better myself in other areas the same way I attacked my fitness. I’m still not 100% back to where I was in terms of strength but I’m significantly happier. I know I’ll get there and I’m learning to be patient. Everything takes time and happens for a reason. I know I can turn the bad into good and I want people to know that they can do the same. No matter where they are on their journey, they can always move forward. I have learned that the grass is truly greener where you water it!

This is a post by PumpUp member Zach P. Encourage him along his journey on the PumpUp app @zpoisson, and find him on Instagram at @poisson_fitness. Do you have a recovery story to share? Any thoughts for Zach? Comment below! We'd love to hear from you! (Top image c/o flickr)

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