Meghan is one of our boot campers...she has a particular style you have to read to believe. Meghan has been attending South Shore Fit Body Boot Camp since January of 2017, and despite her 'wit' about boot camp sessions, she loves how it is helping her build strength and functional movement. More importantly though she is opening up about her own personal struggles with MS and what I truly appreciate is her willingness to overcome adversity and recognize that it is up to her to control her destiny. Enjoy! ~Coach Leon
⚠️ Warning - Adult Language in Use ⚠️
This week, let’s delve right into it and get personal. I have a confession, and it’s something I’ve spent a number of years trying to hide and avoid. (NO; I am NOT a closet NKOTB lover.) Ok. Deep breath. Are you ready for this??
I have multiple sclerosis (MS). Wait, are you disappointed?? You were you hoping for something juicier like cross dressing or stealing decorations from people’s yards, weren’t you? Ok. You’re right. Kleptomania is actually wayyyy cooler than MS, but like I tell my kids, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” I got MS. And honestly, it’s ok. The way I see it, it’s better than herpes of the eye or Mad Cow disease.
I was diagnosed with MS on December 26, 2002. Nope. That’s not a mistake. It was the day after Christmas. I used to joke that I must’ve been on the Naughty List that year. But, nearly 15 years into this diagnosis, I’ve come to realize that’s simply not true. I skipped right over the naughty list and landed ass first on SANTA’S SHIT LIST.
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, in which the body attacks the myelin (protective covering on the nerves). Once the myelin is destroyed, it interrupts the signals sent between the brain and the nerves. Symptoms of the disease widely vary, and they can include weakness, numbness, vision impairment, stuttering, cognitive difficulties, pain, fatigue, depression, incoordination, poor balance, vertigo, and on and on. Pretty much anything the nervous system controls can be affected. In case you were wondering, the nervous system is like a multi-tasking Energizer Bunny on crack…it controls a lot of shit.
This past January, I had an appointment with my neurologist. I see him twice a year to monitor my illness. Dr. Stanky (not his actual name, but 100% what I call him behind his back) was concerned. I was gaining weight. I wasn’t active...aside from actively avoiding exercise. I had just come off a truly horrendous year. It was time to do something DRASTIC, and I don’t mean shave off all my hair or get a tattoo across my ass.
Cue my best friend. She texted a few days after my appointment, and she told me she was doing a 6 week bootcamp in Rockland. Would I go with her?? (UGH. Did Stanky put her up to this?? Bootcamp sounded as enjoyable as a colonoscopy with Edward Scissorhands.) I couldn’t leave my friend high and dry, so I signed up for the 6 week challenge, too.
We met with Coach Leon on a Saturday and got measure (JC ON A BIKE THOSE NUMBERS CAN’T ACTUALLY BE RIGHT!) Then Leon lead us in a brief workout, kind of like a pre-cursor to the fun we’d have on Monday. He called us over to the mat to do jumping jacks. Pffff, jumping jacks. I GOT THIS. I can totally do jumping jacks!! And, you know what? I could. I could do jumping jacks like it was no one’s business! 8, 9, 10...15. OH MY GOD-WHY HAVEN’T WE STOPPED YET?!?! I lost count (or maybe consciousness) around jumping jack #763. Alright, Coach Leon didn’t actually make us to 763 jumping jacks, BUT IT DAMN NEAR FELT LIKE IT. After we finished out Introduction to Hell workout, I knew, come Monday, my friend and I were SCREWED.
On Monday, we showed up at the 5am class, not knowing what to expect. I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do vividly remember “pretending” to use the bathroom 1-2 times during the workout to get out of whatever god-awful exercise we were supposed to be doing. True story. Longest 30 minutes of my life, and at one point, I told my friend that the bootcamp was the worst idea she had EVER had. The next 6 weeks were going to SUCK so much. But then...
Fast forward to August! I have lost weight, gained a little coordination, gotten stronger, AND acquired a whole new vocabulary inspired by all the crazy-ass exercises we do at SSFBBC. You want to hear some new curse words?? Ask me to do an atomic push-up. I guarantee you’ll hear profanity that would make a sailor blush.
A few weeks ago, I had another appointment with Dr Stanky. For the last 6 years, anytime the subject of exercise came up, I'd ask if chasing two a-hole, pint-size ninja terrorists counted. But not this time--
Dr: Are you exercising?
Me: 5 am everyday.
Dr: Great! What are you doing?
Me: Bootcamp, but you can notate it in my chart as 'ASS KICKING'.
**Ok, his mouth said, "WOW." His bugged out eyes and open mouth said, "Holy shit on a stick; you're a frickin maniac...Plus also, I'm SUPER impressed with you right now!!!!!" (He 100% said all of this with his eyes.)
During these super fun appointments, there are a number of tests, mostly centered around fine motor, gross motor, strength, coordination, balance and reflex (so, pretty much EVERYTHING I suck at.) As he was pushing and pulling me to test my strength he remarked, "Bootcamp is really paying off!" (Don't worry, I didn't flex and ask him if he wanted two tickets to the gun show....though I did briefly contemplate it.)
At the beginning of 2017, I KNEW I wasn’t on a healthy track. It was time to grab the bull by the balls and make a change. And, man, am I glad I did. FBBC has been completely life-changing. I am STRONGER. I have more ENERGY. I am HEALTHIER. And, best part of all, I can put on my pants without completely falling ass-over-tea-kettle. That right there is Success with a CAPITAL S.
What about you? Are you ready to make some changes? Would you like to try a class?? I mean if this uncoordinated chick with MS can do it, SO. CAN. YOU.