When Cynthia was in college she was rushed to the ER with excruciating abdominal cramping and heavy bleeding.
She needed her brother’s reassurance that everything would be ‘ok’ to seek treatment.
Extremely scared and concerned, she said it was the most uncertain time of her life. She knew something was terribly wrong.
After being tested for various things, she was sent home and instructed to see a Gastrointestinal doctor the next day. She readmitted her to the hospital. A year of tests resulted in a diagnosis of Crohn’s, an inflammatory disease of the digestive system.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss and rectal bleeding. Medication and lifestyle changes calm the system and ease flares. Sometimes surgery is needed.
Cynthia, feeling overwhelmed and debilitated, was on a downward spiral. While she managed her symptoms with medications she still had painful and inconvenient flares, and felt shame and isolation for years. She hid or minimized her illness not wanting to burden others. Her family was very supportive but she still wrestled…
When Cynthia had dinner with a childhood friend she had been in touch with over the years, she learned they shared more than their love of football: both had Crohn’s. They traded war stories and found companionship as their struggles were brought to light!
Wake Up Call!
The two sports fans texted back and forth during every Eagle’s game, so Cynthia found it strange when her buddy didn’t respond one afternoon. Riddled with anxiety, unable to sleep that evening she logged onto Facebook and found out her friend had a stroke.
Cynthia was devastated as she learned the extent of her friend’s injuries later on through a mutual friend, and felt this could have happened to her too.
Prayer & Action
Shaken, still sick and exhausted from her symptoms Cynthia prayed, “Lord take this from me, I don’t want it.” The Lord said, “Yes, but you need to take this journey.”
Cynthia enrolled in a kick boxing class to build endurance, take back control, and combat stress which is exacerbated by Crohn’s. She stopped her medication (not advising for others) and changed her diet focusing on regular meals and whole, unprocessed foods.
A New Passion & Purpose
Cynthia admired the physique of a woman at the gym so she started to train hard and eat super clean. Her body responded, and she was encouraged and guided by many people around her.
After attending a friend’s body building show for support, she knew she wanted to compete herself. She committed 100%, got extremely focused, and set her sights on the fierce stage.
She competed in her first show less than a year later, won soon after, and went pro within two years, at age 39.
When Cynthia stepped on stage during that winning show she felt all her supporters with her and more at ease than ever before.
A show expeditor sealed the deal saying to her, “It ain’t nothing but a party, get to it.” She was ready; there in mind, body and spirit.
Prior to this competition she lost her day job and debated holding off. Her trusty brother called her and said, “you are a professional athlete, right?” Not thinking of herself that way she paused, and then let it sink in. He gave her permission to choose this. Her brother along with several other people stepped up to provide financial and emotional support. It paid off…
Cynthia felt so encouraged by others she now trains people at the gym in addition to competing at the pro level. It is extremely important for her to help others reach their goals. She said there was nothing ‘professional’ about her when she began. She had a goal, set her intention, and committed fully to whatever it took to succeed.
A wake up call, Cynthia’s faith, and dedication led her to this place. She hopes people don’t wait until there is a crisis to make changes in their lives.
She shares additional Tips and Wisdom below:
Have An Anchor
Be rooted in something greater than yourself. Whatever grounds or comforts you, hers was (and is) prayer.
On Getting Through The Tough Times…
Open up to the large community of information and support, and then be empowered. Look at everything you have been through. Your track record is 100%, you survived everything.
Prayer and Action
Cynthia learned she “didn’t need to carry it anymore,” and then made the choice to “be obedient.” Action could be getting medical attention or talking to a counselor, advisor. There is no weakness in asking for help.
The Power of Wisdom
Take time to acknowledge others. You never know the impact you have.
There is “nothing special about me,” “I made a decision and followed through.” I was “self-aware, willing to make sacrifices, and open to advice and feedback.”
Hard days and setbacks happen, stay close to your goals.
Let go of the things you can’t control and focus on what you can.
Disclaimer: Always discuss any medication, supplements or lifestyle changes first with your doctor.
Cynthia is not suggesting you go off meds, or follow her plan. This is her personal story of healing and recovery.