“I can’t believe how healthy you look on the outside after seeing what I did during surgery.”
Those were the words I heard from my surgeon four weeks ago.
Those were the words that have been burned in my brain, that I play over and over again like a broken record.
Those are the words that have caused me to be grateful beyond words.
Grateful for the fact I’m not in debilitating pain like my doctor thinks I should be. Grateful for my daughter, who I “shouldn’t have” been able to have. Grateful for learning about healthy eating and good vitamins 10 years ago, which I’m sure has helped prevent this disease from taking over my life.
And so, so grateful for Pilates and Pilates exercises.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2005 after having my first laparoscopic abdominal surgery. I came out of surgery and was told I had endometriosis, there is no cure and I would have to learn to manage it if I wanted to control my pain and have babies.
I was desperate to do both, so I learned everything I could about the disease and what I could do to help manage it and remove its power over my body.
When you want to be healthy or are trying to heal from an injury or disease, the options for treatment can be overwhelming. I’ve tried acupuncture, massage, Chinese herbs, oils, castor oil packs, Mayan abdominal massage and reflexology, just to name a few.
I love them all and know they each have benefits, but there are three specific things I dedicated myself to in the months after my surgery that I know have changed my life:
- Eating a low-glycemic and anti-inflammatory diet
- Taking the highest quality vitamins every day
- Consistent exercise, including a regular Pilates practice
Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, so it made sense to me then that I should do everything I could to decrease inflammation in my body.
After doing a ton of research and experimentation, I discovered the diet that worked best for me and seemed to accomplish this.
I also read everything I could about vitamins and supplements and, after looking into countless companies, I found the ones I trusted were the best and have taken them every day since then.
Then there is Pilates.
I don’t think there are words in my vocabulary to describe my gratitude for movement and, specifically, Pilates exercises, in my life.
With endometriosis, scar tissue can from from the inflammatory response that occurs. When I had surgery recently, it was discovered that I have a “frozen pelvis”. This basically means there was so much scar tissue inside my abdomen that it was considered “frozen”.
My uterus was stuck to my intestines, my fallopian tubes were stuck to my abdominal wall and everything was basically a big old mess.
While I am in some amount of pain just about every day, I would never in my wildest dreams have thought that was going on inside of me.
I have Pilates to thank for that.
I love all forms of exercise. I hike and walk and lift weights and take classes and do barre and jump squats and adore yoga.
All of these things help keep me healthy and feeling strong, which is so important.
But Pilates keeps me MOVING.
It lengthens and mobilizes my spine and joints, which allows for blood and lymph to flow in the right places. It twists and detoxes my body, which helps increase circulation and eliminate toxins. It teaches me to breathe, which allows me to relax when I do have pain and keeps my stress levels down. It teaches me to move and use and strengthen my small muscles and joints, so that I’m strong and safe when I lift heavy weights with my larger muscles and joints.
It is my own personal massage, chiropractic adjustment, pain medication and therapist.
I get on the mat or reformer and spend time loving my body and nurturing it, which is so important when chronic pain and dysfunction makes you want to curse your body.
I have seen first hand what Pilates can do for my physical therapy patients and clients. Most importantly, I have experienced what it has done for me.
I believe it takes healthy eating, good supplementation, exercise, a positive attitude, a supportive community and lots of prayers and love to beat chronic disease.
I am grateful every day that Pilates is a part of the healing process for me.