“I feel like I have some power and control in all of this. That has been a huge game changer for me."
When Abby found herself with inexplicable symptoms, she was determined to get to the bottom of things and sought out help from multiple professionals. She was diligent in her quest to feel better and has been consistent in her work with the CES program as well as working directly with Sarah and Anna. With the knowledge Abby has gained working through the programs, she has also built a strong foundation she knows will support her as she ages. Now that she’s back to enjoying all the things she loves, she wants other women to know there is help and there is nothing to be embarrassed about, and there is hope for recovery and healing!!
Tell me about your family – how many kids and their ages, what you do for a living, or anything like that you are willing to share with the world.
I have two children, ages (almost) 6 and 10. I have my doctorate in music performance, I own a Kindermusik studio, and I work in church music ministry.
When and how did you find Core Exercise Solutions and the team? When and why did you look for it, and had you tried anything previously?
I found CES in the fall of 2018. Out of nowhere, in late summer, I developed hemorrhoids and urinary urgency. In my research, I learned that pressure management can be an issue, and Sarah’s program popped up in my search. By the time I found Sarah, I had seen my regular doctor and a GI doctor, and I was waiting for an appointment with a pelvic floor PT.
How were you feeling physically/emotionally when you started versus how you are feeling now?
I was SO LOW when I found Sarah. Fitness has always been important to me. Exercise is my stress relief, and I had always considered myself “fit and active.” I worked out through both pregnancies, and worked with a trainer during my second pregnancy and after. Suddenly, I worried that every movement was going to harm me. I was afraid of everything…picking up my three-year-old, carrying groceries, jumping in my classes, lifting weights…everything.
Tell us a little bit about how your journey began with Dr. Sarah and what you have been working on.
In April of 2019 I did a session with Sarah, and I was amazed that within 30 seconds, she called out my restricted breathing and put me on a path to change. Since then, I did a small group and have been meeting monthly with Anna since the fall of 2019. I have also seen a vascular specialist, urologists, and done pelvic floor PT with someone in-person for almost a year…I have received diagnoses of pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic congestion syndrome, May Thurner syndrome, and overactive bladder.
I have worked through some of Pelvic Floor Perfect, and am getting ready to restart MomFit 6. I have also been working on whatever exercises Anna offers.
For those of you who don’t know, MomFit 6 is no joke! Way to go, Abby! What surprised you most along the way?
I have learned what a disservice women’s healthcare truly does in terms of education. I had no clue what a pelvic floor was. I had no idea about pressure management or breathing or postural alignment. I am a type A person and definitely carry tension and stress in my body. A lot of dealing with this mess has been mental – and it took me a long time to realize that.
How are you feeling now?
Physically, I have good days and bad days, but definitely more good than bad. Stress and lack of sleep are big triggers for me. But mentally, it took a long time to get out of the “broken” mentality. In my last session, I told Anna that while I am not “fixed,” I have grown so much mentally and no longer feel like a victim. I feel like I have some power and control in all of this. That has been a huge game changer for me. I have gained physical strength, but I have also become more resilient mentally. A bad day is just a bad day. And most bad days correlate with vulnerable points in my monthly cycle, so that has been super helpful to acknowledge, too. Anna is such a great cheerleader and she reminds me that there’s still more healing to come. It has been amazing to peel back the onion, so to speak, and deal with arch and foot issues, calf issues, and other imbalances. It also feels good to be proactive. I am not perimenopausal yet, but it’s in my future, and I have so much knowledge that I likely wouldn’t have gathered otherwise to help me continue to be strong and active (physically and mentally) through a big life change. Anna says, “70 year-old you will thank you someday!”
Is there anything you’ve learned along the way that you wish other women knew?
When all this began, I was also embarrassed. It’s easy to talk about your ACL tear or your rotator cuff issue. But no one wants to hear about your undercarriage. Yet, women are amazing beings who grow and birth life…and you cannot expect your body not to reflect that in some fashion. I don’t hesitate to talk about it with friends now. I am not ashamed, it is what it is. I feel lucky to be able to educate others and refer them to Sarah’s program or our local PFPT. I wish that medical clinicians educated you about moving your body after pregnancy and the changes you could expect, that while not life threatening, can be life-altering.
You mentioned you have gained physical and mental strength working through the program with Sarah and Anna. Is there anything you are still hoping to achieve?
I am back doing all the things I love to do fitness-wise. And there are many days that I don’t have a second’s thought to my pelvic floor. I also have been assessed half a dozen times by as many clinicians and told no prolapse. I still wonder if there is something there, but the diagnosis or stage or whatever is just that. It is so easy to become consumed by all of this...there is hope, and there is recovery, and there is healing!