“My name is Chantelle Beasley – Owner and Operator of Aradia Fitness Edmonton and Sherwood Park. I was diagnosed with a disease called Fibromyalgia in 2011, and would love to share my journey of discovering pole fitness, and how it has created my own personal cure.”
2011 was a big year for me. It was the year that I was planning my husband and I’s wedding, and also starting up my very own business that was expected to open ONE month later. I had just recently decided to quit nursing school, and pursue this brand new venture. Also did I mention we were building our first house? Yeesh.
All very exciting – but also extremely stressful on a 19 year old woman. (Wait, did she say 19? Yes. Now shhh, let me tell the rest of the story.)
Around this age, I began to notice some random inexplicable pain occur throughout my body on a daily basis. I had a lot going on, and stress was certainly a factor that wasn’t helping the situation. But then again, also weather played a role – it was too cold outside, or maybe sometimes it was too humid and hot. It’s almost impossible to put my finger on when/where/why these attacks would occur. But regardless, they did.
So what did these attacks look like? Pain. That’s all I can say – it’s so hard to describe, mostly because nobody else can see it – therefore they certainly can’t understand it! It hurt to go up the stairs. You know when you decide to use the stairclimber machine at the gym? Think about how your legs feel after 30 minutes on that puppy – that’s how mine feel when I go up a small flight of stairs – in my 1400 square foot home.
Are you familiar with the burning sensation of lifting 15lb dumbells over your head, for 3 sets of 10? That’s how my arms feel when they go to put a ponytail in my hair – or even worse – the task of straightening my hair! Complete muscle burning.
And the pain in my legs… that’s the worst of it all. It feels like chronic growing pains. Just the worst achy feeling ever. The only thing that seemed to give me some relief, is to constantly stretch my legs in different directions. Not only are they achy, but they also feel extremely restless – as if small insects are crawling underneath my skin – and you can’t keep them still! Also… sleeping in a stretch isn’t very comfortable. Sigh.
Besides the pain, there also comes EXTREME fatigue. I’m talking… you can barely function without AT LEAST having a two-hour nap. Sometimes, you literally convince yourself that sleeping is way better than being alive. When you’re awake, and exhausted, every task is an absolute fight with the mind to complete. And of course when you’re tired, that doesn’t help the common-known term as “fibro-fog.” I literally forget simple words on a daily basis – which freaks me out when answering phones, and questions that customers have – but that’s another story altogether.
So – how did I get diagnosed? Well, to be honest, I had never heard of the term “fibromyalgia,” before. Because of the achiness in my legs all the time, I figured that the arches in my feet must not be supported well enough by my shoes. So I went ahead and booked myself in to see a specialist so that I could receive orthotics. Apparently, my feet, and the way I walk are just fine – I don’t need orthotics. After many tests done by my physician, she mentioned fibromyalgia. Of course, I google’d it – and it all made sense… but it just felt like a diagnosis that they threw at me because they don’t know what else is wrong with me. After-all, there aren’t any real tests that show anything in regards to this disease. She then referred me to a rheumatologist, who also confirmed this kooky diagnosis.
Sometimes I wish that there was a stronger diagnosis for my condition – one that wasn’t considered a “medical myth”, or “all in the mind.” Trust me, this is not all in my mind. And that, my friends, is the biggest struggle of it all. Sometimes I feel bad when I am experiencing a fibro attack, or a “fibro flare” as we call it. I often feel that my friends and family think that I am using it as an excuse to get out of certain tasks or responsibilities. This isn’t the truth, and can seriously destroy the mental wellbeing of a fibro sufferer. If you are reading this, and you know someone experiencing it – the best thing to help them through this is positivity and support. Do not offer advice – unless you have personally experienced chronic pain yourself.
I digress. The reason I am writing this today, is because I can honestly and happily say – my fibromyalgia condition has improved tenfold. Don’t get me wrong, I am not cured – and never will be. I still get fibro flares, and fight fatigue almost daily. However, my fibro flares have decreased from 4-5 times weekly, to 4 times monthly.
Here’s what changed: My physical activity. I think the most difficult struggle that faces fibro sufferers’ is the ability to exercise. I mean think about it; if I can’t go up the stairs without being in immense pain, then how am I expected to exercise?!
Trust me, I know, it’s difficult. However, exercise improves many key factors to improving your happiness, and your condition. The attached link provides a more indepth article on its benefits. http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise
Don’t let fibromyalgia become the downward spiral that affects your life.
Pain > Chronic Pain > Fatigue > Decreased exercise > Depression > Pain > Chronic Pain
And the cycle continues, and never ends.
Pole fitness has been my choice of fitness – and yes I’m biased because I own three Pole Fitness Studios. But I only own them because it is THE ONLY type of fitness that I have ever kept with in my entire life. I have been involved in pole fitness for 4+ years already, and have no plans of stopping.
Pole has increased my total body strength, core, and endurance. It is a workout that I look forward to.
When it comes to fibromyalgia – it is easy to take a look at our bodys and say “Why me? Why is this disease affecting ME? What did I do?!” Pole fitness has taught me to appreciate my body – and to challenge it beyond what I ever thought that it was capeable of. This one step in my life has increased my over-all positivity and well-being! It has really changed the cycle and the pattern of my life. Yes, it was hard at first – as it always is to push past the pain. But hey, you’re in pain regardless now, and it isn’t going away – so what do you have to lose? There might be a little bit of extra pain in the beginning, but SO much more gain in the end.
Your body will thank-you, and you will soon be finished with spending your sleepless night on fibromaylgia forums complaining with other fibro sufferer’s across the world.
This is just my experience – and I truly believe in it. Hopefully it helps somebody!