Support through good and hard times
My name is Mary Ann and I have been exercising at Tinderbox Fitness for the past six years -- since we moved back to Winston-Salem from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I was looking for a gym where it would be motivating to exercise without the distraction of men, and Tinderbox Fitness (then called Womens’ Wellness) fit the bill perfectly. It’s conveniently located, has lots of parking, and it’s filled with friendly women who share my interest in staying fit. The instructors and the classes are exceptional. It is more like an exercise “community,” where I have made lots of very good friends.
I have been “formally” exercising since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 10. A strict diet and regular exercise are essential to daily treatment of this awful disease. So, for the past 54 years, I’ve carefully watched what I ate and consistently exercised, which has kept me in great shape. Except for what I dreaded most – renal failure, which eventually afflicts most Type 1 diabetics.
My kidneys began to fail several years ago, and two years ago, my nephrologist referred me to the Organ Transplant Center at Wake Forest Health, where I was accepted into the program and placed on the kidney donor list. Early this year, one of the surgeons became my champion. He suggested that since I had taken such good care of myself all these years, I would be a good candidate for a pancreas transplant, too – even though the transplant panel usually won’t even consider a double transplant for anyone over age 55, and most people who receive them are under 50 years old.
Three months after qualifying for the transplant (two months after I finally had to begin dialysis) I got “the call,” and on April 11, 2018, during a 7½ hour operation, I received a kidney and pancreas from a young man who died of an overdose in his early 20’s.
Both organs started working immediately, and as I approach my 65th birthday on Dec. 17, I am the healthiest I’ve been since I was a child. I am no longer diabetic, and no longer suffering from end-stage renal disease. It’s all because I’ve worked so hard to take care of myself and exercise regularly, and now I’m even more motivated than ever to take good care of the new organs I’ve been blessed with.
I am very grateful to God, and the donor, and the donor’s family for giving me a new lease on life. And the support of my family and the family of friends I’ve made at Tinderbox Fitness has meant the world to me, too.
Tinderbox is a fabulous facility that’s filled with wonderful women who support one another through good times and hard times and those that are just okay. They make the journey we’re all on easier and more filled with joy. And I highly recommend Tinderbox for any woman who’s looking for a home away from home that offers sustenance for the mind, body and spirit at the same time.