Hi! I’m Melissa. Here is my story to date…
I have long been passionate about health, and have made it my goal to know as much as possible and treat my body well for as long as I can remember. BUT, I grew up in the midst of the low-fat craze, and had so much trouble controlling my weight and building strength as a highly competitive gymnast. I thought I was eating healthfully, but not only was I clueless, I was sabotaging my body. It was so frustrating and discouraging, and I am sure part of why I was CONSTANTLY injured.
But none of my gymnastics injuries could compare to what I would face after a very scary car accident in 2002. In an accident that could have easily killed me, I was lucky to be able to climb out of my car. In the weeks, months and years that followed however, I developed numerous acute injuries and then chronic illnesses. I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue a few months after the accident, but honestly didn’t really believe the diagnosis until I had such an incredibly vast constellation of symptoms that were only able to be linked with these diagnoses.
Over the next 10 years, my life deteriorated to where I became nothing more than a shell of who I once was. At one point I was taking 30 pills a day between 10 medications and 20 supplements. I HATE medication in theory (yes, there is a place for it!), but I had zero quality of life and was desperately searching for a way to function, much less heal. I became a professional patient, seeing doctors around 250 times a year. Not only did the illness destroy me physically and financially, but it nearly destroyed my spirit. I did everything in my power to stay as hopeful and positive as possible, yet I must admit there were many times I wished it would all just end. I often said that a terminal illness would be easier: then there would be an end in sight to the suffering.
Through the years, I tried more treatments than I can list (including osteopathic treatments, acupuncture, myofacial massage, rolfing, chiropractic, allergy elimination [NAET], physical therapy, water therapy, mental health counselling, a very strict elimination diet…) and while I made some progress along the way, it was much more of a cha-cha-cha not going very far. I was ordered by my doctors to quit working, else I would be irrecoverable. When a 28yo woman—much less one still hoping to have a child one day—hears that, it’s no joke. I stopped working for what was supposed to be 6 months, but 5 years later, I was still unable to work.
Along the way, we discovered that there was some very significant toxicity in my home and it was keeping me from getting better. As we worked to eliminate those toxins, I was finally making some small-but-tangible progress. In the summer of 2013, still very ill, I went on a 10-day vacation to Paris. Usually just one day of high activity could wipe me out for easily 6 weeks, but within 24 hours of being in France, I felt the HEALTHIEST I’D FELT IN 17 YEARS (even pre-accident). I felt joy again for the first time in more than a decade. I felt alive again. I felt ME again. And I couldn’t NOT do something in response.
That trip gave me so much hope of a brighter future—one where my illness could be redeemed in a way that could make a difference somehow, somewhere, someway. That was the one thing that had always kept me going… one day God would “redeem that which the locusts had eaten.” As soon as I returned home, I was back in the trenches with my illness, yet I started dreaming of moving to Paris and being ALIVE and WELL. But, that would be no small thing given my life circumstances. Even so, I set out to make a plan to reclaim my life and health.
A few months later, I found out about a fitness and nutrition solution that would truly make this a reality. I was able to get off of most all of my medicines in a few short months. I was able to get in better shape than when I had been a gymnast by working out 25 mins a day at home with a no-impact program. This sudden boost of health gave me the courage to take the leap and move to Paris. Leaving behind my team of doctors, becoming a student again and completely changing my lifestyle could have been a disaster. But, it worked.
Not only did it work, but here I am… THRIVING. My story is very much still being written and I have so much more to go, including helping as many people as possible find health and wellness wherever they may find themselves stuck, frustrated or hopeless.
Now, I am blessed and HONOURED to have the chance to work with people who are embarking on their own transformations. I get to use all that I have learned, experienced and come through to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s always been my dream and the way I wanted to spend my days. I am a firm advocate of daring to do what it takes to be your authentic, beautiful and purpose-fueled YOU.
If you connect at all with me over a love of redemption, second chances, travel and adventure, Paris, healthy living, good food, building a life of meaning and daring greatly… or even a love of art/design/photography and a distain for comic sans and papyrus… I’d love to connect with you! I love community and know we are always better together.
Here, I blog about health, nutrition, fitness, recovering from chronic illnesses and the expat life. You can subscribe to this blog and you will get an email every time there is a new post. Just check out the sidebar. >>
I share photos of my the various aspects of my life here in Paris on Instagram, including some special insta-exclusive Paris photo-rides where I explore areas of the city by bike.
On facebook, you can “FOLLOW” to watch my story unfold. Or send me a friend request & feel free to private message me if you want to connect more one on one.
Also on facebook, I am building a community geared toward healing, dreaming and thriving here at Project Aimfly.