Fighting Chronic Pancreatitis: Schyler’s Pilates Story

“I live with chronic pancreatitis and was diagnosed in September 2011. The condition became extremely debilitating physically, mentally, and emotionally. As it continued, I wasted away most of my muscle mass as I used to workout 6-7 days a week with running and kickboxing and struggled very seriously with malnutrition. Each year I have needed a very low-fat diet, pancreas enzymes to digest food, minimal physical activity, and 1-3 surgeries every year.

My pancreas specialist said that this would be my life and that I would need surgery every year. My specialist also told me to expect increased chronic pain, decreased the ability to eat, and no more running (as it would cause immediate pancreatitis).

This was a quality of life that I refused to have. I told my doctor that I was sick of being in and out of the hospital all the time and wanted to know how to successfully fight this battle on my own. He referred me to a pain center that opened my eyes to what I can do for myself without pain medication. It has been a long yet successful road of a healthy low-fat diet along with exercise at Club Pilates.”

How did you get started with Club Pilates?

“When I asked my Doctor what exercise I could do with my condition, he stated that people with my condition are in too much pain to work out. I refused to let that be me! When I heard a studio was coming soon right down the road from my house, I set up an appointment to go try a free intro class. I mentioned my medical issue to the staff, who were very helpful and accommodating. The instructors showed me how I could modify the workout if I felt any pain, as well as which classes to take and which classes to avoid.

When I started, I was extremely weak and would see my arms and legs shake through each exercise— but very quickly that changed. I DID get stronger and I could keep up with the rest of the class. These classes gave me more strength and energy so that I felt like a real person again. I had more energy to get out of my house and spend time in the community with my husband, family, and friends.”

Why has Club Pilates been different for you than other exercise workouts?

“Since starting at Club Pilates, I have needed NO hospital stays and NO surgeries! Honestly, it is amazing! Pilates is the one exercise that causes me no pain or discomfort which was impossible for me. Now, I typically go to a class 3-4 times a week.

When I tried going to a regular gym and tried the exercise machines and group fitness classes, they actually would put me into pancreatitis. Club Pilates has helped jump-start me into an overall healthy lifestyle to get out of bed and explore this world with my husband!”

What is something surprising you’ve gained from Club Pilates that you didn’t expect?

“Initially, I expected only an outward change; I was surprised to see how much of an influence an exercise class has had on me internally as well. I have noticed that I feel better about myself (new-found confidence), but also I feel and know that I am stronger. It has given me a new-found joy and love for life! I believe that Club Pilates really transformed my life from the inside out—giving me a quality of life that Doctors, and at times— even myself —thought was no longer possible.”

What would you say to someone thinking about trying Pilates?  

“I would tell anyone to try a few classes and see how your body responds. My body and life have truly changed in so many wonderful ways that I never thought possible!”

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