A picture is worth a thousand words. To me this picture, moment, the feeling I had is worth so much more. Hitting this milestone is not only a huge fitness goal, but also a huge accomplishment for my chronic condition. My migraines have held me back from so many things in my life. When I was young I would be afraid to go on class trips, or dates. As I got older I learned to live with my condition but it would hold me back in so many ways. I was a fitness instructor in my early twenties teaching Zumba and I loved every minute of my career. My migraine condition worsened and I was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Migraine on top of my existing chronic migraine with aura condition that I had since age 9. I was no longer able to teach class and I had to stop high intensity work outs all together. I was heartbroken.
I tried to find methods of exercise that worked for me, but anything more than a walk would make me sick. I learned through years of practice to build up my endurance. With this experience with the right combination of preventative medications I am finally where I am today. I love exercise. It is a stress reliever and makes me feel healthy. I want to be the best mom I can be and the best version of myself.
When you have a chronic condition it is important to stay healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. When I was unable to exercise it affected me in all three ways. I was so sad and felt so down on myself. I would try to do at home fitness programs, but they would be too much for my brain. I would have a hard time completing the work outs and feel depressed. I was not able to do bur-pees or lay on the back of my head. I tried yoga too… but there are so many positions I personally cannot do because of the blood flow to my brain. There was even one day I tried to go for a jog/walk with some neighborhood moms. I was so excited to be out and about with other moms and our children. I was pushing my jogging stroller and felt so good about being outside and healthy. I was mostly walking but would occasionally jog for a few minutes. I didn’t even make it to my car before I had a full blown Hemiplegic Migraine episode. The worst part about this one for me was it happened in front of other people. I had to navigate driving home and my daughter was with me. Thank the Lord I had a very good friend with me who followed me home.
I realized I needed to find something else for fitness routine that would be kind to my brain. When my husband saw how sad I was that every exercise outlet I tried was making me sick he decided to become a Peloton family. I was so excited! When I was in my younger years I loved taking cycling classes at the gym, but I have not found the time since becoming a mom. I could not wait to be able to workout at home. Cycling is easy on my brain because I can go at my own pace. I can find classes that go at the right tempo and do not bounce or raise my heart rate too high. All of these factors contribute to an episode for me almost immediately while exercising. I started my journey of fitness again slowly. I would workout a few times a week and some days would be good and others not great. I stayed positive and worked hard at building my endurance.
As I completed my century ride I cried. The tears that rolled down my face were filled with so many emotions. I was so proud of myself. I was proud that I kept going and didn’t give up. I was proud that I didn’t let my fear of my condition stop me. I was proud that I showed up and committed to become a healthier version of myself. I was most of all proud that I showed my family that I am a strong mommy and that I am not defined by my migraines.