In 2002, for no apparent reason, I started to develop some niggling back pain. I didn’t think much of it. After all, I was young, reasonably fit, about to start a Ph.D. in science (nerd) and I had my whole life ahead of me. Right?
Out of nowhere, the pain suddenly became sinister. It would radiate down my back with such ferocity that it was difficult to breathe. I took time off work to rest and hoped to recover. Then one day, I woke up to find I couldn’t feel my legs. I dragged myself along the floor – the pain in my back was sickening. I managed to call my dad and then passed out.
Emergency services arrived, immobilised me on a spinal board and rushed me to hospital. Scans revealed that I had fist-sized tumour wrapped around my spine, compressing the spinal cord.
Emergency surgery successfully removed the tumour, but sensation did not fully return to my legs. To top things off, further scans revealed additional tumours in my spleen and liver. I took a deep breath. And decided to fight for my life.
Chemotherapy started straight away. I ploughed through appointments with specialists and physiotherapists and underwent scan after scan. Months passed, cancer receded and I started to breathe a little easier, but I still couldn’t walk without help – or without pain.
So I started researching (I am a science nerd, after all). Surely there was more I could do to aid my recovery? This research led me to swimming. It was a whole body activity, it supported my spine and was a good cardio work-out. So far, so good. I started to make small improvements. By now I could walk without help but the effort was so taxing that I was exhausted at the end of each day. Then one day, my swimming partner suggested I try “this Pilates thing”. I’d never heard of it. But at this stage, I was willing to give anything a go.
“I ploughed through appointments with specialists and physiotherapists and underwent scan after scan”
So in 2003, I gingerly walked into my first Pilates class. The rest, as they say, is history. Slowly but surely, my body, my health, and my energy changed for the better. By 2005 I was an advanced student and completely pain-free. By 2006 I had completed my instructor training and have never looked back.
I am forever grateful for the gift of exercise and will never tire of sharing it with others. I was also fortunate to meet my wife, Liz, through Pilates and we now have our three beautiful children.
We would like to invite you to our studio to try Pilates and help you achieve your health and fitness goals.