I’ve always been an active person. I began running track in the 7th grade and later cross country in high school. I set several school records. I ran for my college, also competing in track and cross country. I developed a love for being active, healthy, competing and challenging myself. After graduating from college, I started running marathons and became certified as a spinning instructor.
In the middle of all of this training, I began having issues with an ulcer in my colon. After two years of unsuccessfully treating my ulcer, it was decided that surgery was my best course of action. I had a foot and half of my colon removed, spent a week in the hospital and came home with a 7-inch scar down my abdomen. The good news everything was working as it should again and in about a month I was back to running and training for marathons.
Within about 11 months, however, I began getting violently ill. I initially thought I had food poisoning or the flu, but my episodes were occurring on an almost weekly basis. I would have excruciating pain in my abdomen and uncontrolled vomiting for 12 hours and then almost like magic I would feel completely fine again. It took multiple trips to the doctor, many tests and four visits to the emergency room before a cat scan revealed that something was seriously wrong inside. I went in for emergency surgery and even the doctors were not really sure what was wrong or what they would be doing. It’s a scary place to be not knowing what you will wake up to find with your own body!
When the anesthesia did wear off and I woke up, I immediately began feeling my abdomen to see what the situation was. I was told that scar tissue from my previous surgery had wrapped around and cinched off a section of my small intestines. Because this portion was no longer getting oxygen, blood or nutrients it began to die and the pressure from the cinching had me on the brink of rupturing my intestines. I was very fortunate I had gone to the emergency room when I did and not much later! Four feet of my intestines were removed. I spent another week in the hospital and this time came home with a 9 inch vertical scar and all of my abdominal muscles cut and sewn back together. In emergency situations, they are not so concerned about how nice your scar will look!
After surgery I went back to running, spinning and did hundreds of crunches trying to get my abdominals back. My running and spinning went back to normal but my abdominals did not. As hard as I worked I looked like I had a perpetual pouching belly. As a fitness instructor it made me very self-conscious because I felt I should be an example of what healthy looked like and my little beer belly wasn’t that! But over time, I came to terms with it and realized I was healthy – that’s what mattered and there were far worse issues to have.
Fast-forward a full 10 years and out of sheer boredom I tried a Pilates class. I was looking for something else to do besides running and spinning and had tried several other classes first. It only took me 2 mat Pilates classes for the light bulb to go off and for me to realize as hard as I had worked to regain my abs for 10 years – I had been doing all the wrong things! Within a month of attending mat classes, I noticed results and changes that I had thought were no longer possible for me. I was drinking the Pilates Kool-Aid and thrilled with what I was discovering. I knew this was something I wanted to know more about and sought out an instructor training program. It was four months of intense work, lots of hours, so much to learn. Because of my compromised abs some exercises were much harder for me. I had to really work at it. But I loved every minute of it! In the end, at 39 years old, I was in better shape than I had ever been even as an athletic and active 20 year old!
It’s been almost four years since I began teaching and a year since I opened my own home studio. I am still very much drinking the Pilates Kool-Aid and so thankful for the confidence and self-esteem Pilates brought back to me. I love working with women who have had similar issues – be it c-sections, surgeries or weight struggles. I truly enjoy being a part of their blossoming and transforming and watching as they learn to love their bodies again. I continue to learn more about Pilates and hope that it will be a life-long journey for me.
Author: Submitted by Lucie Becus
Location: Nashville, TN
Occupation: Pilates Instructor and Marketing Consultant