LIVING BEYOND CEREBRAL PALSY

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At World Health Edmonton, we are passionate about changing our members lives. So many of our members are self-motivated and hardworking, but we also believe in the power of incentive. We offer a 60 Day Transformation Challenge quarterly where our members work with a personal trainer to achieve incredible results in a 2 month period. Christine Lepage, a member at City Centre World Health, experienced a transformation beyond what she ever expected.

“I’m a 33 year old woman who is very outgoing, independent and strong willed,” says Christine. “However if you had met me a year ago, the description I just gave to describe myself would have been vastly different.”

Christine opened up to tell us about the hurdles she has conquered not only in the last year, but in her lifetime.

“I was born two and a half months early and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy,” says Chrstine. “This diagnosis is given to a lot of premature babies because of a lack of oxygen to the brain; thus resulting in the inability to control muscle movements. In a nut shell it means that you’re tense all the time and often struggle to get your muscles to do what you want.”

Over the course of her life, Christine has endured 13 surgeries all aimed at helping her improve her flexibility and walking.

“I’ve had the cords in my ankles, knees and hips lengthened, my femurs cut and turned and the muscles in my eyes repaired.”

All of these procedures served a distinct purpose but even after them all and many physiotherapy treatments, Chrstine continued to struggle with balance and core strength.

“Over the years I came to accept my limitations and work around them,” says Christine. “This kept me in a state of fear and prevented me from venturing out on my own to do even the simplest of tasks.”

Christine got married at the age of 20 but was faced with the end of her marriage last January.

“I had two choices,” remembers Christine. “To go back to my safe place with mom and dad, or prove to myself and others that I was stronger than I could have ever imagined.”

Christine on the final day of her 60 Day Challenge

Christine on the final day of her 60 Day Challenge

Christine chose the latter and found herself an apartment in downtown Edmonton.

“I started and finished every day in a fog, just going through the motions and trying to convince myself that I’d be okay,” says Christine. “This worked for a bit, but the walls of my new life started to close in and depression was looming. I found myself dreading the thought of going home after work because the silence was deafening and loneliness was my worst enemy.”

Fast forward to the end of August when Christine mustered the courage to make a big change. She took a leap and stopped in at City Centre World Health where she met with fitness consultant Mikey.

“I explained that I wasn’t there to lose weight or become a fashion model- I had very specific goals in mind,” remembers Christine. “Stave off depression, improve my self-esteem, create a steady routine, meet new people and improve my balance.”

Christine knew that these five goals were going to be very instrumental in defining and creating herself, and anticipated that improving her balance would be the greatest challenge.

“This is where my personal trainer James Harris would play a vital role,” says Christine. “And boy, has he ever!”

Christine has amazed herself with how far she has come since making the decision to begin.

“This process wasn’t easy for me and it has taken a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement to comprehend the physical and mental changes I’ve made,” she explains. “I think the easiest way to describe them is to just list them point by point. So, in no particular order of importance:

  • I can now stand up straight and my shoulders are no longer hunched.
  • I can now step onto a curb without the use of my cane.
  • I can now step over an obstacle on the floor without assistance.
  • I started the leg press at 10lbs four months ago, today I can do 125 lbs.
  • My core is much stronger and has engaged just in time to prevent a few falls.
  • I started doing body weight glute bridges on a table, but can now do them off a low bench with a 125 lb bar on my hips.
  • Although my weight has remained the same, I’m seeing muscle definition where there was none before.
  • I have lost three dress sizes and have been happily forced to buy all new clothes.
  • My self esteem has improved greatly and when I look in a mirror I can smile!
  • Muscle spasms were a daily occurrence and they have all but disappeared.
  • I am moving at a much faster pace and can walk much longer distances without the need to rest.”

At the start of this year, Christine could not have imagined her life the way it is now.

“I have come through my darkest days having gained self esteem, body confidence and a true sense of who I am and who I want to be,” she explains. “My time with my personal trainer James has not only taught me to step out of my comfort zone, but to trust my body more than I ever have before and know that I can do it!”

 

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