I started Pilates with Davina in 2011 after years of gaining weight whilst on Prednisolone and other medication for Dermatomyositis, a rare auto-immune disease affecting 8 in a 100,000 of the population in the UK. I also happen to have a severe form of the disease with a rare antibody found in only 3% of patients with Myositis.
The disease affects your skeletal muscles with severe weakness, pain and fatigue on the least exertion which means the most part of my day is spent in bed resting and this affects my ability to do many activities of daily living which people take for granted.
Patients with Myositis are encouraged to exercise as part of their therapy in order to halt or slow down muscle atrophy and the rapid disability associated with this. The difficulty for people with Myositis is that they get tired very easily and are unable to do any activities for a prolonged period of time.
The challenge Davina faced was helping me to do basic and varied routines without pushing me over the limit and adapting programmes on the spot which I could do with help from my support worker.
She encourage me to do some of the exercises sitting down in a chair as I tired easily. After a a year or so of this I lost some weight and she invited me to try the diet programme which kick started my weight loss.
I found the experience very supportive as Davina engaged with me on a one to one basis and really encouraged me to keep up with the programme. I was sometimes ill and discouraged but she is so passionate about what she does that she got me going to reach my goal. She went over and above what was expected by dropping in with home visits to measure and weigh me.
I am pleased to say I have been able to maintain the weight loss by having a raw vegetable and protein diet every 3 days and the Pilates programme. I can only say that without Davina’s input I wouldn’t have made it.
Davina is really so committed about her work and her passion and enthusiasm act as a catalyst to spur her clients on because she is genuinely interested in their welfare and not the money. It is a vocation for Davina and not just a job.
I am truly grateful to have met Davina and for the support and encouraging me and making me feel special and not self conscious.
It took me ages to come to terms with my illness and disability and believe me I was a trim 62.5 kg when first diagnosed so turning into an overweight and dependent person overnight was a shock to my system. For ages I felt too horrible to even step out of my house apart from my hospital visits and my carer would try so hard to push me out in the wheelchair and most times I would refuse point blank.
Davina made it ok for me to feel accepted in the group and with her home visits during the diet I just felt I couldn’t let her down. With all the effort Davina put in me, I needed to respond by engaging in the process. I never for once thought I would lose a significant amount because the odds were so great but here I am, not quite slender or trim but ok with a manageable dress size.
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