Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New to the competitive fitness scene, Lisa Eveleth surprised everyone at the Mall of America last month. The 42 year old fitness director and personal trainer swept the Model Great North show and captured 2nd in Ms. Bikini Classic. And, now Lisa is training for Ms. Bikini & Model Universe in Miami in two weeks. But winning or loosing on stage was purely secondary for Lisa for facing the challenge itself was the victory.

In her own words . . .

"I was an active child, but looking back had symptoms that were overlooked. In high school I developed ITP, a blood disease that makes antibodies against your spleen which lead to high doses of IV steroids and then a splenectomy and exploratory operation. In 1993, while in college I was finally diagnosed with Lupus after some years of struggle with many symptoms including pain and swelling in joints, skin rashes, consistent fevers, severe mouth and nose ulcers, severe numbness, difficulty breathing, bloody lips, extreme fatigue, achiness, weakness, bloody lips, extreme hair loss and migraines.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease which causes inflammation in the body including connective tissue, blood and organs. Once the inflammatory response is turned on, it is tough to turn the immune system OFF! Symptoms became only worse in my Master's program in college. My Lupus finally attacked my kidneys and brain, leaving me with class 4 nephritis and cerebritis. I suffered many seizures and various TIAs (mini-strokes) and short term memory loss. My weight got down to 72 lbs. and I was in and out of ICU several times. Another bump in the road is when I developed the West Nile and CMV virus. What a frightening painful ride!

Since then, there have been many struggles with my lupus attacking my heart, brain, kidneys and other various organs, including losing 20-30 pounds each time and all muscle mass!! I survived several years of various treatments of numerous medications including chemotherapy and purchased many fancy wigs throughout my life. I have been ill more than half of my life, but now feel very blessed these last few years and have been able to overcome many of my symptoms.

I love my career as a Fitness Director, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor! I love the gift I have been given to help people in their struggles because we all have struggles in life that we can overcome. Life gives you challenges to face and we can only grow and become stronger from them. I treasure each healthy day and feel completely blessed and loved by all my support. I feel so lucky in this world and would never change anything I went through because it has built my character and faith, and makes me who I am today."

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