Four years ago I was an active girl in high school. From playing three sports, to working out in my off seasons, I was always going. During my off seasons I liked to continue to stay active and in shape by working out and lifitng every night after school with my best friend, Olivia Helmer. We would normally start with our lifts, which our former teacher/coach Rich Powers helped us with, and after we would finish with running laps around the school. It was a night after school, when Olivia happened to have volleyball so I was alone when it happened. I was running laps around the school, almost done with my workout, when I started to feel something I knew wasn't right. I made my way into the weight room to find my sister where I collapsed in her arms. I was transported to the hospital by ambulance in search for what just happened, and what was to be the beginning of my passing out.
This became what was known as my "normal." Whether I was sitting in class, working out, walking in the halls, to hanging out with friends... I would randomly pass out and seize. I went to several different clinics, hospitals, and doctor appointments. Initially we went to check on my heart, and they had found I had what was called a "right bundle branch block." I was told a few scary and possible outcomes from what I was experiencing, but nothing that could give me a definite answer. I then went on in search of possible answers with my brain. I was again told several different ideas. Throughout those years I was in and out of the hospital, to me what seemed to be, regularly. I was admitted to the hospital for several different stays, where I was monitored in an epilepsy unit. Yet everytime I was in the hospital, I never had an episode which was actually pretty normal because when being monitored in an epilepsy unit, you have cords and patches all over your head that are all hooked up to one machine that limits your activity. I was able to walk to the bathroom, with assistance from my nurses, and I could make it right outside my door but that was as far as my cords would reach. So, coming from being a very active girl throughout my day, I was very limited.
However, a year ago in April, I got my "answer." The doctors had noted an abnormality in my brain on a scan that was done that could be related to my episodes. Without having an episode recorded, it is impossible to say for sure that what I was experiencing was epilepsy, but the doctors felt I was to the point where I couldn't continue to live life the way I had, with the frequency of my episodes and the toll it was taking on my health, so they decided to take "a chance." I was put on medication for epilepsy in April of 2014 and have since been seizure free!
The journey my health took me on wasn't always easy for me. I was a highly competitive and dedicated athlete and I wasn't able to play some of my favorite sports. Freshman year I was able to play all three sports - baseketball, volleyball, and softball. But by senior year, I was limited to volleyball and I was able to pick up track. I wasn't able to drive most of my high school years, which seem to be the years where all you want to do is go, go, go. And I missed a lot of school, which I happened to enjoy school because of the friends and staff in Ellsworth. They were extremely supportive of what was going on with my health, and most importantly, I felt extremely safe and confident that everyone surrounding me was there for me regardless if I had an episode that day or not. I did my best to present the happiest, most confident, and optimistic version of myself given my circumstances, but I often found myself in self pity when I was alone.... I asked questions like "why me" and "what did I do" but not once did they get me anywhere. Besides the mystery of what was happening to me, I was a very healthy girl. I didn't have a life threatening disease. I was still able to remain active. I was still working towards an education. I had everything I needed and more.. but sometimes you don't quite realize that until you take a step back.
I would never change a thing about my past. I grew into and am still growing into the person I want to become. I learned about hard work, faith, and how to find the good in unpleasant situations. I realized how truly blessed I was... Although not all of my sports were working out for me, I was able to turn to fitness and grow a newfound passion for it. I ended up spending hours after school in the weight room working with my best friend, and learning more and more about what my body could do, regardless of what had happened in the past. I was also introduced to the other side of being an athlete, and was shown the coaching aspect which didn't take me long to fall in love with. I was able to start coaching youth softball, which ultimately led me to where I am today. I also got the opportunity to coach volleyball in Goodhue, MN which really helped with taking my mind of the basketball season I was missing. In addition, I had many people who were always by my side. The staff at the school was completely amazing to me. My friends, well, I couldn't have asked for better ones to go through this with me. Don't get me started on my family, they were and still are my saving grace. And lastly, my love and faith in the Man up above truly sparked. That Guy, I tell you, He works wonders.
So here I am, 4 years later, with everything I have dreamed of and MORE. I lived out my dream of going to California to learn about a passion that has always been a constant of mine, which is fitness. Althought I didn't end up staying in California, I made some forever friends in my heart, and now a beatufiul area to vacation at. I graduated from the National Personal Training Institute of San Diego, CA this past April and I moved back home surrounded by the best family and friends a girl could ask for. I am working at a gym, Anytime Fitness in Red Wing, MN, as a personal trainer. I am also doing fitness on my own, in the surrounding areas of Ellsworth and Red Wing, which is nothing short of amazing. In October I was offered and accepted the position of coaching the Varsity softball team at the high school level for the very town and sport that supported and built me, Ellsworth, and will be coacing alongside one of my "rocks" throughout this whole journey - my dad. I am continuing my education through NASM, and since graduation I have received, alongisde my CPT and CES Certifications, my FNS, WLS and am in the process of my PES, SAQ, and TRX Certifications. I will continue to drive towards my goals and dreams, and will always be thankful of the process.
I found my battle, fought like hell, and I won it.
I am truly #betterforit.