“My brain doesn’t produce a neurotransmitter that is essential for normal movement.”

Today we’d like to share with you Renae’s, one of our members, personal fitness story with you all. As of right now, this story was first posted two years ago. Enjoy!

[First posted August 1, 2014]

For me fitness isn’t just about toning up and losing weight; it’s also how I manage a neurological disorder I was born with. It’s called Dopamine Responsive Dystonia. My brain doesn’t produce a neurotransmitter that is essential for normal movement.

This is something I keep close to my chest because I don’t want people to think of me as anything other than ‘normal’.

When I was growing up, I used to suffer from severe and continuous muscle spasms in my feet and calves, leg cramps, and I walked with my feet turned out. By the end of the day, just walking was extremely painful.

I used to sit and watch my classmates run around and play sport at school and think, I wish I could do that. The fact was that I struggled to even walk, and all of my dreams seemed to be slipping through my fingers. I was looking at a life stuck in a wheelchair, and this future seemed more likely when my body began to twist up at the age of 14.

Doctors didn’t know what the problem was; they thought it was all in my head. The physiotherapist tried running elastic bands from my feet to my hip to try to turn my legs in. Nothing helped. As I got older the symptoms only worsened until one day my mum decided enough was enough, and we went to Westmead Children’s Hospital to get an answer.

After numerous tests they found the cause and my miracle cure was as simple as taking a quarter of a tablet three times a day! Of course, I’ve had to increase this over time, but I have to say that I am truly blessed to have been given a second chance at life with something so simple!

So began my weight loss. After years of turning to food for comfort I began exercise, what an amazing thing! I played netball and cycled after school. As the HSC approached I again turned to chocolate to help with stress relief and started putting on the kilos again.

I got into University and the second year there I joined the Uni gym. I lost heaps of weight, and for once in my life I began to feel happier with my body. That’s when I met Aaron.

After uni I moved in with Aaron’s family and started work. I stopped working out, and, enjoying proper meals that were twice the size of what I should be eating, I piled on the weight again. I hated the way I looked so decided to start running. I was so proud of myself doing something I never dreamed I’d be able to do, and got to the stage where I could run 5km without stopping once. But when I had to stay back at work every day for a couple of weeks and went running again I felt like I had lost so much of the fitness I had worked so hard for, and so discouraged, I gave it up.

Again the weight crept on! I didn’t like Aaron seeing me like that so I tried to shut him off. I felt horrible! A gym had opened up at work so I decided to give that a go and that made such a difference. I loved it, and even more so when they started doing bootcamp classes. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the afternoon class going because of lack of interest, and I was getting bored of the cardio and weights so I decided to look for something where I had someone to push me. That’s where Kerrie Fitness comes in. It’s definitely the answer I was looking for!

Now as long as I take my medication I am completely ‘cured’. Aaron also noticed that when I stopped exercising I started complaining about leg pain, and so that’s why I try to keep exercise a regular thing. I believe it makes the medication more effective. I’m hoping to lose more weight, and I’m sure that I’ll get there with Kerrie, Trevor and the rest of the gang leading the way!

‘Till next time, Renae <3

A note from Kerrie: Thank you for being so courageous and sharing Renae xx