I am a proud breast cancer survivor, but in 2013, my health took another turn; I learned that my breast cancer had returned and during treatment I was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of ovarian cancer.
Following lengthy treatment for both cancers, I was left so weakened that I was falling and having difficulty keeping my balance when doing something as simple as stepping off a curb. I was pretty desperate to find a way to regain my strength and stamina, but every exercise I attempted left me exhausted within the first ten minutes.
I was becoming disheartened, wondering if I would ever find an entry point to restoring my health and physical abilities.
One day, my daughter texted me and said she just signed us both up for the Intro Class at the Club Pilates that had just opened. My first thought was, “Oh, no - what is she getting me into now?” However, she was pretty convincing, saying she was sure this was just what I needed.
As it turns out, she was right!
At the intro class, I remember telling my instructor Taylor that I had tried everything, and felt both too weak to make this work, and also fearful that I would get injured in my current physical condition.
My instructor was so sincere and convincing that I was capable of this - and I wanted to believe her.
I took a leap of faith and within the first ten minutes of my first class, I knew that this was exactly what I had been looking for.
Being on the Reformer was a very calming experience. I just did what I was able to do (which wasn’t a lot at first!) and didn’t worry that anyone was looking at me or judging. In fact, it was just the opposite; everyone was welcoming, friendly, and encouraging. I was off and running; I couldn’t wait to go to my next class!
It seemed that with each class, I noticed improvement.
Fast forward to today: most weeks I go to class every day, and some days I may even take two classes in a row! My favorite class format is Center and Balance. To me, it is like moving meditation. I have also found that for me, stretching is as important as strengthening.
The changes I have witnessed are still hard for me to believe.
In fact, my oncologist told me that she was so inspired by my physical transformation that she has started to do Pilates three times per week.
She also told me that the exercise I am getting is the best thing that I can do to prevent a recurrence of my cancers.
It turns out Club Pilates is a pretty inspiring place. It’s a place where many wonderful friendships are made. The beautiful, uplifting, supportive wellness-based community of people that I have met has been a very important and unexpected bonus.
Friends and social connections are so important to overall mental and physical wellness.
I reached a big personal milestone in February of 2019: 500 Club Pilates classes completed! Those 500 classes have restored my strength and vitality - something I truly doubted was possible.
It has been the core practice in my rehabilitation after several years of serious illness. I can say with complete certainty, if I can do this anyone can.
I hope my story inspires others to believe in the power of Pilates in their own personal transformation and wellness plan.
As for me, I have my eye on a new milestone; my 600th class is in sight!
Written by Tina C., member of Club Pilates Carmel.