Mandy's Story

Founders Intro

Mandy, while very young, has experienced what many at Align have. Her body broke down and she could no longer trust it. She had to re-learn her limits. She had to overcome not only the physical but the mental hurdles of overcoming a health issue to take back her life. We often talk about patience with the process, trust in your coach, and dedication and focus on the end result. Mandy executed this beautifully. 

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Mandy’s Story

“In June of 2015 I was hospitalized for 5 days following what I thought would be a simple trip to the ER that would calm my fears. I had done a core workout with a friend earlier in the week and 4 days later was experiencing excruciating pain and swelling that was severe enough to affect the fit of my clothing. The ER doctor was absolutely baffled when my blood work came back. My CK(creatine kinase) levels, which is supposed to top out around 130-150, was 63,000, meaning I had broken down a severe amount of muscle and the effects of this could have been potentially toxic to both my liver and kidneys. They told me I had severe Rhabdomyolysis.

I was told that with levels that high, had I not been young and healthy, I would’ve likely been placed on temporary dialysis. Thankfully, my liver inflammation subsided, and my kidneys never showed any signs of permanent damage. After I was released from the hospital, my body took months to recover. I could barely make it through a day without needing a nap. I was slowly released to start trying to work out again and had orders to get my blood drawn once a week to keep an eye on things. The fear of a recurrence was constantly on my mind. 

Fast forward to September 2015, I found myself back in the ER, this time with a much milder case. It was after this episode that I was referred to UC Davis for a full Neuromuscular workup. They kept telling me you are 18, this shouldn’t be happening to you. But it was. Blood test after blood test, genetic testing, and a muscle biopsy later and no one could give me any answers as to why this was happening."

I Was Getting Weaker & Weaker

“I became increasingly frustrated and hopeless. I was getting weaker and my doctors had restricted my physical activity so much that I started to feel like there was no point to even trying. I slowly quit working out. Occasionally I would try to exercise and the next day my legs would be a bit sore. I’d have to go to the lab to get my blood checked just to make sure there wasn’t a recurrence. Needless to say, this was not motivating. The staff in the lab started to know me by name.

I was terrified that one wrong move would land me back in the hospital. I was terrified that I was 18 and no one could explain why this was happening to me. But life goes on, I started my first semester of nursing school. I remember learning how to transfer patients and my legs would be cramping up. It made me question my body constantly. Would I be able to perform the functions required of me to be a nurse? Could I make it through a tough 12-hour day on my feet? I was still not doing much in terms of physical activity. I didn’t know my limits. I wasn’t comfortable testing the unknowns.” 

I Trust My Body Again

“In June of 2017 I decided that I would sign up with Align and give this whole workout thing a try again. I was extremely apprehensive and knew that I had to be very careful. I questioned everything and doubted myself for quite some time, not trusting that my body wouldn’t fail me again. Everyone at Align was very patient with me and has not only taught me to listen to my body but also has taught me trust it again. Matthew Aron (her coach) was always modifying workouts for me and most importantly provides the guidance that I needed to feel confident and safe in my workouts. Maybe that is just because we have a deal that he owes me lunch if he puts me in the hospital 😜. 

I have now been with Align for a year and exercising is now just part of my regular routine. I, the complete opposite of a morning person, even squeeze Align into my schedule between class, work, and clinicals - and show up regularly for my 6 AM sessions because now my body feels better after working out. I have learned that I can push it much more than I ever thought. But I also have learned where my limits are and know when to back off. 

Looking into the future, I’m excited to see what kind of progress I can make and where I will be a year from now. I only have a year left of nursing school and I know my body will be up to the task. That’s such a good feeling. I trust my body again.” 

Matthew Lister