Rise Into Summer

The aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy. This expression can also apply to trickle-down economics. Now, think about this aphorism as it relates to you and your family. If Mom goes down, the entire ship goes down.

Last year I was feeling great. Sleeping well, exercising regularly, taking my vitamins and supplements. I went in for what was supposed to be a routine outpatient procedure, which ending up going array. I came home in terrible pain, and by that evening I couldn’t even breathe. Jim took me to the ER to find out I had internal bleeding. A hospital stay complete with bed rest, morphine, and a blood transfusion, and I was good to go. After a week of resting at home, I was full speed back into being a Mom, carpooling, going to the grocery store, and packing for a planned vacation.

One night while making dinner my world literally starting spinning. I grabbed the phone to call 911, and called my sister and neighbor. I was hit again with a terrible virus. My doctor thinks that since I had chicken pox as a child, I have the herpes zoster virus (Shingles) dormant in my body. I thought only older adults could get shingles, but the virus attacked my vestibular nerve, resulting in vertigo. My immune system was so compromised I ended up with pneumonia and the stomach flu too. I couldn’t take care of myself for over three months, let alone take care of my family. I’m beyond grateful for my amazing family and dear friends who helped me keep our ship afloat, when I felt like I was sinking.


When the symptoms began to show signs of improvement, I was left with chronic nerve pain in my head and damage to my nerve resulting in visual vertigo and ringing in my ears. Your vestibular system controls your sensory information about motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation. Looking at me you wouldn’t know anything is “wrong.” However, everyday is different. Most days I wake up feeling off foot or balance with a fullness or burning in my head. I have to limit my time on the computer and phone, can’t drive far distances on the expressway, get overwhelmed in stores (visually too much to look at) and with loud noises ( I wear ear plugs often) and special Jack Nickolson looking tinted glasses to work on the computer. I would have quit blogging all together but I love it (more on that later). Weekly visits to vestibular therapy, acupuncture, and now monthly nerve block shots in my head keep me moving forward and hopeful.

After a year and half, I wanted to make a change. Physically I’m now a different person. I can’t just pop into any workout class I want to. I needed help, and contacted Janelle, the amazing owner of Rise Glen Ellyn. From the ground up, Janelle along with her exceptional team of instructors have built something even greater than themselves. Rise is an unbelievable community, passionate about providing a fun, inspiring, and encouraging environment that fosters relationships both in and outside the studio, and helps you to live your healthiest life.

I love that in every single class I take, each instructor is aware of my restrictions and seamlessly provides me with ways to modify exercises. I can’t tell you how much this matters. It allows everyone to participate while feeling safe and accepted, regardless of their fitness level.

Retro wall art at Rise

Rise Glen Ellyn was offering a 6-week challenge called “Rise Into Summer.” I grabbed a partner (my friend Becky) and we jumped in. The greatest gift of the challenge for me? A reminder to put myself first. My health and emotional & physical well-being need to be priority numero uno. As Moms we tend to take exceptional care of everyone around us and neglect ourselves at times. I’ve learned it’s ok to say no and understand my limitations. By vocalizing my needs and abilities (especially physically) it’s greatly helped to manage my health. Like they say when flying, “You need to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.”

Over the past six weeks I’ve set the daily goal to drink more water, eat healthier, and exercise daily (even if it’s just walking more).

I still deal with chronic pain, but it gives me peace to know that I’m in control of what I’m putting into my body and how I’m taking care of myself. Seeing and connecting with all the other challengers and participants when I walk into classes at Rise inspires me. Everyone has their own individual struggles, but for an hour we are all there together to sweat and support one another.

An added bonus to the challenge?  Alicia from Reasonable Raw Momma gave us weekly tasty new recipes & snacks to try that keep us full and satisfied. They are all kid tested and mother approved. My favorite is this smoothie.

Bikini Belly Blaster

1 banana (frozen)

1 small pear cored

1 cup of spinach

½ a lemon squeezed

1 ½ cup almond milk unsweetened

1 teaspoon raw honey

Blend and Enjoy!

If you’ve made it this far ( THANK YOU ). I open up my heart to connect with you all because like one of the quotes at Rise says “we rise by lifting others!” You are worthy enough to put yourself first. Only then can you give your best to those around you. You deserve it and so do they!

















  • Doreen, you have approached this hurdle with such strength and positivity. I have to remind myself that you struggle with this daily because you don’t let this show and it’s easy to forget what you are met with each day! You inspire me, friend! It was so fun to be your partner these last few weeks and your friend and sister wife each day! Love you dearly!! XO

    • Thank you so much friend means the world to me! Was so lucky to have you on this journey with me!

  • Doreen, you are doing a great job putting you and your health first! I live with chronic pain everyday! We need to put ourselves at the top of the list, not the bottom! Hang in there! You got this!
    Thank you for sharing your journey! 💕

    • Tammy so wonderful to hear from you! I wish you pain free days ahead! I appreciate your support and kind words so much! xo

  • Doreen, thank you for making yourself vulnerable and sharing your story. I am praying that you will continue to find tweaks in your daily life and coping mechanisms that allow you to live just as full of a life as anyone without the physical challenges you’re confronted with. I have faith that this will become an inspiration to others and allow your heart to become grateful for your new reality. It’s hard to be joyful in suffering but I have a feeling you’re going to pull it off just fine!! Hugs from the Tobin’s!!

    • Anne, your kind words made my day! Thank you so much for reaching out! Beyond thrilled for you both on the arrival of your new bundle of joy! Much Love! Doreen

  • Love reason this!!’ Thanks for being so
    real!!! I hope that you continue to feel healthier!!! You’re motivating me to put myself first. Happy 4th to you and your adorable family!! XO

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