6857 Mountain View Road. Ooltewah, TN 37363 - 423.238.5999
           

 

 

 

 

Hours of business:

Mon-Thur
5:30am - 9:30pm
Friday
5:30am - 8:30pm
Saturday
7:30am - 6:30pm
Sunday
1:00pm - 6:00pm

 

 

 

 


 

Success Stories

FROM AN 18 TO AN 8
BY: Michelle Ray-Lillard

When Fit One opened in 2006, I stumbled in a broken down and frustrated young woman. I had just completed six weeks of physical therapy (again) for a knee condition that I have been struggling with since 1994 (more on that a little later). I was also considerably overweight. A size 18 is quite a lot for a 5'6" frame, but given the fact that I had four operations and a child all between the ages of 23-29, it’s easy to see how I got there. Walking through those doors changed my life, though. It was like coming home. I have known the Chastain family since their child care days, but the entire staff impressed me by being so encouraging and supportive since day one. Even now, 40 pounds later, my Fit One family continues to motivate me to push myself more each day.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been something medically wrong with me. As a child I was diagnosed with asthma, which led to chronic bronchitis and a couple of bouts of pneumonia. The doctors assured me I would outgrow most of it, and I did. That diagnosis also allowed me plenty of excuses not to exercise much growing up, which suited me fine since I hate working out. (Lucky for me, I was naturally thin until my late 20's.) By the early 1990's, I had graduated high school, just finished college, overcome the embarrassing teenage traumas of braces and acne and was well on my way to marrying my fiancé of three years. When we finally married in January of 1994, I thought all of my illnesses were behind me. In April of that year, I awoke one morning to find that I could not move my left knee. I assumed at the time it was just a sprain. Five months later the same thing happened again. Once I was able to see a specialist (the late Dr. Bruce Short), I was diagnosed with Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis, or PVNS. The condensed version of this is that I have tumors destroying my knee. I have had three operations so far. The most radical was at Vanderbilt in 1998. I was told that without that surgery I would need a joint replacement by the time I was 30. My last operation was in 2002 (at age 29), where there was a tumor discovered on my ACL. Translation–that growth cannot be removed and my next surgery will be a total knee replacement. NOT what I wanted to hear. Fast forward to March of 2006–four years after that dreadful bit of information was delivered. I was really struggling with pain on both sides of my body, mainly in the knees and hips. My orthopedist prescribed six weeks of physical therapy. I made such an improvement while I was there, but $222.00 per week is a lot of money for medical insurance not to cover. I wanted to keep going with the strength training, which is what led me to Fit One.

I was on my way home from my last day of therapy when I noticed the gym was newly opened. Jane happened to be working at GCC that day, so I stopped by, told her what was going on and asked if she had any personal trainers who might be willing to work with me. I knew I needed help, but I also knew I couldn’t do it alone. As previously mentioned, I hate to exercise; I don’t know the first thing about how not to further injure myself. She recommended that I speak with Caleb. We have been working together ever since. He was brave enough to take me on as a client and learn all about my condition. Of course, we have to work around it, but he knows what he is doing. So much so that at my last orthopedic check up, my new doctor (Dr. Nash) was so impressed that he put my knee replacement off indefinitely. My x-rays have remained unchanged for the past five years. Caleb has also helped me recapture that elusive "school girl figure" that I never thought I would see again. Most interestingly, when it comes to Caleb, the conversation is never dull. I recommend him highly.

Now, this probably seems like a nice place to end a story–all happily and with an exclamation point. That would be way too easy. Shortly after Caleb and I began working together I started having these strange neurological symptoms–tics in my right arm and my head, a terrible tremor in my right hand, migraines and finally, seizures. Being seen by nearly every doctor and specialist in town who subjected me to any test imaginable–some of them twice–only resulted in a partial diagnosis of Segmental Myoclonus. Basically, it means "there is something wrong with your right side, but we really aren’t sure what." Since I am a tumor patient already, this is, of course, what the doctor’s suspect. They just can’t seem to find anything. While all of this is happening, so are the renovations to Fit One. The final addition was the office of Dr. Eric Olsen, a chiropractor who has helped me more in four months than I ever thought possible. I was so discouraged by the time I scheduled my first appointment with him that I thought I was a hopeless case. It didn’t take very long for him to convince me otherwise. As far as a neurological diagnosis is concerned, I still do not have one, but at this point it doesn’t matter. Dr. Olsen has stopped the tremor in my hand, the headaches, the seizures and the tics are almost completely gone, as well. I have never gone public with this information before, but the day he stopped the shaking in my hand I cried all the way home. I am not sure if it was happiness or relief that overwhelmed me; all I know is that was the first time in two years that I could put pen to paper and recognize my own handwriting.

At last I have the happy ending–for now at least. None of us can be certain what the future holds, but we can use the lessons we have learned from the past to persevere. My personal lessons can be found in my before and after photos. The girl in the before photo terrifies me. I hope to never see her again. The woman in the after picture inspires me–proving to me and hopefully others that you can achieve anything if you want it badly enough, despite your obstacles. To that end, I would like to thank those of you who have helped me step out of the before and into the after, from a size 18 to a size eight. To my wonderful husband, Josh, who meant what he said when he vowed "In Sickness and In Health" all those years ago; to all of my family and friends whose compliments mean more than you will ever know; to the Chastain family for your undying love, encouragement and for the devotion to your facility; to the Fit One staff for your support, advice and convincing me that the scale really doesn’t matter; to Caleb–there really aren’t enough words. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your help, that’s obvious. You listen to me complain every day about exercising and just ignore me. I am also quite sure that if it weren’t for you I would have already had that knee replacement by now. Thank you for helping me slim down and maintain my weight loss. I will always consider you my little brother; to all of my fellow gym members who have so graciously complimented me; and to Dr. Eric Olsen–thank you for helping make the second half of my life better than the first.

Michelle Ray-Lillard

Sheryl Hill's story:

My experience with Fit One Gym began on the same day I began my radiation treatment for recurrent breast cancer. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor who never thought I would enjoy exercise. But at the urging of my 18 year-old son, Michael, we joined Fit One as a family. I began my gym experience on the treadmill and I spent the first week trying to stay on the treadmill at least 10 minutes. After exercising, I would go home quite winded and ready for a nap.

I decided I would not give up and I continued to go back to Fit One. My son is an athlete who has been lifting weights for over 7 years and he set up an exercise plan for me. Each day at the gym became easier and I began to feel better, both physically and mentally. By the time my radiation treatments were over 7 weeks later, I was able to stay on the treadmill for 40 minutes and I finished my workout on the exercise equipment for 25 minutes and cooled down on the exercise bike for 15 minutes.

It has been 3 1/2 months since I began attending Fit One and I feel GREAT. I recently returned for a three month check up at the oncologist and I was happily surprised to find out that I had lost over 17 lbs. and my blood sugar and blood pressure had both dropped dramatically. When I got on the scale at the physician's office, the nurse looked at me suspiciously and when my oncologist came in the examination room, he too looked worried. I assured him that I was not sick and the weight loss was a result of exercising 6 days a week for at least 90 minutes. He was so relieved that he gave me a kiss on the cheek and congratulated me.

My daily workouts have paid off and I am feeling just wonderful. I look forward to my daily workout and have set a weight loss goal for the next year. I urge anyone who is out of shape to join Fit One Gym and start out slowly. The results are worth the effort and if I can stick to an exercise plan, anyone can!! Thanks Jane for allowing me to share my story.

Sheryl Hill

Sam Murphy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Michelle before

 


Michelle after

 
 
   

 

Fit One is proud of our members' persistence and life changing accomplishments! If you'd like to share your success story, please contact us.

 
 
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