Our Spotlight Member this month is Mireya! Her story of being in chronic pain, and making the commitment to her health to recover after a difficult surgery is a huge inspiration. Her positive attitude and energy brighten the early mornings at the gym even before the sun comes up!
BREAKTHROUGH: Thank you, Mireya, for sitting down with me! We interviewed your daughter Mena last month, so it’s exciting to chat with you now!
MIREYA: Awesome. Thank you!
BREAKTHROUGH: So, you and Mena came at the same time to try out one of our yoga classes. What made you feel like you wanted to come and check that out?
MIREYA: I had heard about Breakthrough a few months, if not a year back. I don’t know what I was thinking when I didn’t join immediately after that! Chana had reached out to me and said she knew that I had come out of a surgery and that I was looking for a place that I could trust. Where I could do workouts and not injure myself. Which before my surgery, I did that a lot. I was always in pain. I thought the surgery was going take all that away. But it doesn’t happen if you are not doing things right.
BREAKTHROUGH: That’s true.
MIREYA: And so, I came to the class and fell in love! Not only with the community in here, but the sense of family, togetherness, the welcoming environment. Because that is very important for me.
BREAKTHROUGH: For us, too.
MIREYA: I came to try the class, but I was still I signed up elsewhere. I was training, but at the end of the day, I was in pain the rest of the day, and the day after. And I was thinking, this is not doing it for me because even after you explain your issues and everything, they don’t take that into consideration. So, for me what made me come over here is having a program specifically for my issues that I am going through. And also going home afterward and feeling like I can conquer the world. That is a win-win.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes. Not leaving in pain.
MIREYA: Not leaving in pain. Not being in pain afterward.
BREAKTHROUGH: That is really important.
MIREYA: I’ve seen lots of changes in the few months that I have been here.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, it hasn’t been that long.
MIREYA: No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t, but I mean, I sleep better…
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh Good! Okay! Tell me what things you notice.
MIREYA: I sleep so much better throughout the night. Where before I would have to wake up in the middle of the night to massage this, massage that, because it is an on-going thing. Also, coming at 6am, which before I was like there is no way I am going to take a class at 5:30 am, 6:00 am. And now I look forward to it, and I prepare the night before because I look forward to feeling better and staying in shape. And staying in the happy place that I like to be.
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh, good, yes, I love that! It is a commitment to get up early and start your day like this. It is so easy to just roll over and turn off the alarm clock. But you guys, the 6:00 am crew, you guys work hard! And it is great! You start the day with such positive energy. It is really awesome!
MIREYA: Yes, I like it and I look forward to it, and seeing my daughter, it’s like we encourage each other. She says, “You’re looking good, Mom! I see you! You are not complaining.” That is amazing for me because I was going through a lot of depression and the stress was killing me.
BREAKTHROUGH: Of course.
MIREYA: Because pain means stress and for me that is not a good place. A lot of the doctor’s recommendations were that you could always go back to taking so many milligrams of this and that. And I was like – I am not that type of person. I have always been very active, very active. I have very high energy and I like to put it to good use.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, you do! I see that.
MIREYA: Yes, my husband gives me lots of compliments and that to me is everything.
BREAKTHROUGH: So, your husband notices…
MIREYA: Oh, he notices the difference in my attitude, my mood, my everything. And he loves my body just the way it is. He says I don’t want to see you any other way because this is the Mireya I know. I don’t want you to look a certain way. I want you to feel good about what you are doing.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, that is the most important thing.
MIREYA: Yes. It really is.
BREAKTHROUGH: So, I know, you told me, obviously, when you first joined, but so our readers know, what was your surgery before you joined?
MIREYA: Cervical spine with fusion. And I think it was a condition that I had for a long time. According to the doctor, I was born with certain vertebrae very close to my skull. So, I suffered from headaches since as was a little kid. I remember my last year of teaching school, we were supposed to go and celebrate with my friends the fact that we finished, that we were teachers, and I couldn’t go because I had a headache that put me in bed for two weeks.
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh my gosh!
MIREYA: And there was a time during the pandemic that I wasn’t active. I have been active throughout my life – yoga, Pilates, everything - lifting weights - crazy weights, ha, ha. And I think that was where most of the pain came from? And, you know, injuries in my shoulders and stuff, without the proper form and everything. And that is why I love it over here at Breakthrough because everything increases according to how you feel and for me, that means the world.
BREAKTHROUGH: Yes, your training has to be based on you, for sure.
MIREYA: Yes. And in the past, I was pushed to lift 70-80 pounds when I didn’t have the strength. That made me in pain, massages, and everything. And going back to before my surgery, I started literally not having the strength to get out of my bed.
BREAKTHROUGH: That is not good.
MIREYA: I was sitting a lot in front of the computer because of the type of work I do. I am a caregiver. I work with a special needs young man. I have been doing this for twenty years. I had to sit in front of a computer with him to do the zoom classes and everything. So, sitting for so many hours wasn’t helping either. So, by the time I was going to bed, I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t until I was getting only two-three hours of sleep every night, that I decided to call the doctor and I said this is not right. I told her that I haven’t been sleeping for three months in a row. Then she got concerned and said she was going to do an MRI of my cervical spine and see what is going on. And that is when they decided I needed an emergency surgery because this is not looking good. It happened so fast. It was two days before my birthday, July 22, and the day of birthday, is when I got the bad news. And then a month after, I had the surgery. And it was in the middle of Covid, 2020. Nobody with me. I didn’t know what I was getting into. The neurosurgeon made me feel very comfortable because he explained in detail how it was going to go. The next thing I knew, I was out of the room with a cast around my neck. I did feel better and my goal after that was to do the right thing from now on. Because I don’t want to go back through that.
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh, no.
MIREYA: I mean the recovery period - I don’t think the surgery or anything scared me more than the recovery. That was bad. Not being able to do…
MIREYA: Nothing! Even the things that I could never imagine. So, I don’t want to be in that place anymore. And that is why I take care of myself. I signed up here at Breakthrough for a year, but this is where I am staying for the rest of my days!
BREAKTHROUGH: So happy to hear that!
MIREYA: I want to age gracefully and be healthy, and I think this is best place.
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh, that is so nice to hear! So, you just basically just covered what I was going to ask you next. I always ask people what’s your why? You just said it! You don’t ever want to be in that place again where you are not able to do things you want to do.
MIREYA: No, never. Never.
BREAKTHROUGH: And that is a very powerful why if you have been through something like that.
MIREYA: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. And being so used to doing everything. For me, I felt helpless, useless. I couldn’t do the things I love to do, like cooking for my husband. Knowing that he had to come from work, and come home to take care of me. To give me a bath and do all things that I should have been doing. But I couldn’t.
BREAKTHROUGH: Well, you had to recover.
MIREYA: Yes, so I am so thankful. It is going to be three years now after my surgery. I feel like this is my best time, these past few months. Because the pain is… I don’t want to say 100% nonexistent, because there are still little tweaks here and there. But, those balls make - who would have thought different sized balls like the Coregeous ball…
BREAKTHROUGH: Oh yeah, they’re the best! They are lifesaving! We love our therapy massage balls!
MIREYA: I lie there, and I relax! This is life! I can open my chest. I can take away all the pain.
BREAKTHROUGH: Thank goodness. That is good news.
MIREYA: I thank you guys for everything you are doing here. This is the best place ever! I appreciate all of you because, that is what my daughter and I always say - I love the fact that there are 2 or 3 of them (coaches) but each of them gives you different advice. You think they are not looking, but they are watching!
BREAKTHROUGH: Ha, ha! Oh yeah. We are always watching.
MIREYA: But I love that! Because I think that a lot of my issues have to do with the fact that my form was not what it needed to be when I did things.
BREAKTHROUGH: Sure. Well, we are so grateful to be your team Mireya, and thank you so much for sharing all this!