Pilates, ALS, and the RDC Marathon…Guest Post by Andrea Lytle Peet

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Andrea Peet (pre-ALS) with her husband

When I was diagnosed with ALS in May 2014 at the age of 33, my husband and I
were confronted by the same depressing facts that everyone with ALS learns:

  • The average life expectancy is 2-5 years
  • Before death, the person will become paralyzed, unable to talk, eat, or
    swallow, and eventually lose the ability to breathe
  • There is no treatment and no cure. The only approved drug extends life
    expectancy 2-3 MONTHS (*note: A second drug was approved in 2017, but it has issues that I won’t bother going into…)

So what do you do with that? I was young, an athlete (I’d done a half Ironman 8
months earlier), and we had just bought a house in order to start a family.
I was already walking with a cane and my speech was slurred, but I thought I was still strong enough to pull off a super sprint triathlon, Ramblin’ Rose Chapel Hill. Since I could no longer balance on two wheels, we bought a recumbent trike. I asked my friends to support me by donating to ALS research and they raised $10,000! My best friend, Julie, and I came in last and ended up with a story in Endurance
magazine.

That race transformed my perspective on the disease. I realized I could inspire
people to take on challenging races as a way to raise money for ALS – but more importantly, as a way to appreciate what their bodies can do. “Team Drea” started with 30 people, but has now grown to 150+ and raised $220,000 for ALS research. As for me, I kept riding my trike…and did a half marathon…then a marathon. Then I thought, “I’m tired of waiting around for this disease to kill me,” and signed up for 12 races in 2016 (half marathons, marathons, and triathlons), each dedicated to someone with ALS who has inspired me.

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Triking

I completed that challenge, crediting my success to exercise on the trike, swimming, and the dumb luck to have a slowly progressing form of ALS.

But it wasn’t until I started working with Mischa Decker at IOBT in January 2017 that I learned I could actually get STRONGER.

What started out as 4 weeks of “I’ll give this a try,” has turned into 11 months of weekly Pilates-based PT appointments with Mischa where we work on my weak areas: core, glutes, outer thighs – and stretching places that are tight: inner thighs, calves, and feet. Top it off with bi-weekly acupuncture appointments with Austin and ooooh weeeee honey, my body feels awesome these days!! 🙂

Mischa is amazing. She is laser focused throughout our session on my positioning, which muscles should be activated, sensitive areas, and those that need attention. I know I’m in trouble when she says, “I have a crazy idea…” because that means she knows I’ve built up the strength to push just a little bit further, do just a little bit more. Which, as we all know, is where the Pilates magic happens.

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On the CoreAlign during one of her Pilates sessions at InsideOut

The results have been incredible. I walk better (still with a walker, but who cares? I’M. STILL. WALKING). While I still fall occasionally, it’s not nearly as frequent now, thanks to my stronger core muscles. And I’m actually getting faster with swimming and triking. Such positive progress is almost unheard of in ALS.

This Sunday, November 12th, I will take on my 12th race of 2017 (27th with ALS) – the inaugural RDC Marathon in Durham. This race benefits my foundation and the proceeds will go to ALS research at Duke. My world-renown* neurologist, Dr.Richard Bedlack, is studying off-label treatments: supplements, bee pollen, fecal transplants, and other crazy things people with ALS try on their own in the absence of any effective treatment in mainstream medicine.

*His wardrobe is also world-renown, see for yourself

He is also studying cases of ALS reversal – that’s right, people whose ALS have gone away. So far he’s found 34…out of 30,000 people living with ALS in the U.S. at any one time.

Not good odds, but Dr. Bedlack’s research gives me hope in the same way that sessions with Mischa do. If I can just hang on a little longer, push just a little bit further, maybe there will be a treatment. Or my body will figure out how to repair itself.

Hey, stranger things have happened – ask the 34 people with ALS reversals…or the woman in the trike doing her 27th race.

Thank you IOBT for supporting ALS research. It means the world to me and everyone else with ALS!

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Team Drea at the Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon 2017

 

 

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Early detection saved my life. Pilates saved my sanity.

Guest post by Lori Ginsberg, PT, MPT

Lori

Early detection saved my life.

As dramatic as that sounds—it is true.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 4 years – Christmas Eve 2012, since I found the lump that rocked my world.  I am here today, CANCER FREE, because I took that suspicious lump to my doctor on January 1.  I insisted on a mammogram and ultrasound when she said “let’s just watch it”.

I listened to my inner voice, the one that told me that something was not right.

So yes, early detection of breast cancer saved my life but Pilates saved my sanity.  I was diagnosed with Stage 2a “triple positive” breast cancer—“the GOOD kind”!  Which meant that after a double mastectomy, 6 rounds of chemo and a future of estrogen deprivation, I am cured!  But guess what?  There is no “good kind” of cancer.  The physical, mental and emotional toll of the battle is hard to quantify but is immense.

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For the first time as a Pilates-based physical therapist, I had to practice what I preach and I hoped I’d been right.  I was.  I felt the benefits of Pilates as a gentle, efficient and effective rehab tool for regaining motion and strength.  I felt the power of the Pilates principles— breath, control, flow, concentration— to help me simply get through every day, no matter how crummy I felt.  Some days I’d do a few minutes of footwork,  some days I’d spend an hour moving and sweating and focusing on the work, some days I’d simply lie on my back and breathe.

I always, ALWAYS, felt better afterwards.

So now, almost 4 years later, I’m finally at the point where some days I forget I had cancer.  When I remember, I tell someone my story so that one day maybe she can forget too.  October is breast cancer awareness month.  The perfect time to start a routine. Check your breasts, today and every month.  Schedule your mammogram.  Listen to your inner voice—she’s smarter than you know.

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Schedule a Pilates-based Physical Therapy evaluation with Lori or one of our other Pilates-based physical therapists by calling the studio at 919-361-0104. 

So much more than an equipment class – Guest post by an IOBT client

Sometimes in the midst of the chaos of everyday life, it is easy to forget WHY we do what we do.  This weekend I was reminded of my “why”…

Here is an email from one of our regular clients who has found Pilates to be an integral part of his workout routine and life in general.  His enthusiasm is contagious.  Enjoy this guest post as this client shares his experience of Pilates.

“Recently, I secured my usual spot in a Saturday morning equipment class.  But something was different about this Saturday from the time I walked through the IOBT front door.  There seemed to be more than the normal good feeling and upbeat atmosphere of people enjoying the experience of improving their health.  You may know or recognize the vibe I am talking about.  I always feel like something changes in me when I pass through the front door at IOBT.  You know you are in a special place.

Upon arriving, I encountered a friend who introduced me to her friend who is training for a 100 mile run (26 hours).  Seriously, a 100 mile run!  Exercising for 26 hours!!  How’s that for morning motivation?  They came excited to stretch.   As I moved from the reception area to the claim my equipment, the previous hours classes were ending.  People were transitioning, cleaning equipment, discussing, sharing, hugs were being exchanged, but most all the people seemed curiously pleased with the past hour’s accomplishment and subsequent result.  I noticed the look on their faces more today.  They had a look about them that said the last hour improved their health and their day.  I was happy for them and now even more ready for my class.  I was ready for the same experience, just in my own way.  The usual Saturday studio buzz was at a heighten level for me this day and I was embracing it even before class got going.  If someone could run for 26 hours, I could work hard for 55 minutes.

I kept to my morning routine of stretching and foam rolling prior to leaving the house even doing one extra roll down just to be sure I was warmed up.  So we got started; and it was as if a perfect storm came together.  My mind was in the right place and my ears were ready to “really” listen to the instruction and my body was ready too.  Something new and different was going on this Saturday in this class.  We were mixing it up and going out of order some and my body was reacting.  It was connecting my mind to the instruction and things were happening – good things.  The idea of using the core to push through or push up reached a new level and took on a meaning.  Every twist, crunch and stretch seemed to engaged a new muscle or tendon that had been resting for days, weeks, months, maybe even years.  Hamstrings and glutes were active, stressed, and reacting in ways they had not before.  My spine was lengthening more and bending further than it had before.  I was feeding off my classmates in new ways.  My facial expressions were telling the story.  I was finding great joy in what might have seemed like painful expressions.  It was more an expression of “where did that come from” or ‘wow does that feel good.”  This is why I love Pilates so much.  It changes you on a class by class basis. There is always more, always another level.   If your mind and ears are ready, your body will react in ways that are remarkable.  I didn’t want it to end.  I wanted another hour.  I wanted the instructor to suggest another move.  No such luck.  Our time was up and I had to be content with looking forward to my next class.

As I left the studio the benefits of the past hours work lingered on most of the day.  Fibers were twitching and muscles were making connections in ways that gave me a an added bounce in my step throughout the day.  I had better posture.  I was more focused, more mindful.  I felt stronger, healthier.  Sleep that night was more sound and restful.  Do you know the feelings?  It was as if my body was saying – “I like it when you take me to that place (IOBT).”  This was my Pilates moment.  I hope you find your moments and experience the joy of this fantastic Pilates lifestyle and special studio called IOBT.”

This is why I practice and teach Pilates and I am so grateful to have an impact on the health and happiness of my clients.  It also makes me appreciate all of the passionate, knowledgeable, and highly qualified practitioners I have the privilege of working with everyday.  Thank you all for being my WHY...~Mischa