By Vicki Royal
Pediatric ICU nurse at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Mother of two beautiful children
When I was 9 years old I started having trouble walking.
It took 3 years and a lot of testing to figure out that when my ankle joints were developing, they were missing the space and the cartilage that is necessary for movement.
At 13, I started having corrective surgeries for my condition, at first trying to make the joint work for me, and when that didn't work, just trying to make it less painful. I had five operations, one every summer from Jr High through High School. Each time, I was on crutches or in a wheelchair for 6 weeks to 3 months.
During this time, I was told by my surgeon that I should be prepared for the fact that I would never have full function of my ankles, and that since the rest of my joints were having to perform all of my collateral movements, they would start to break down too.
The goal was to get me to my thirties without needing total joint replacements.
I was told that I would never be able to wear high heels, that having children would be a problem for my joints, and that I should try not to gain any weight, as this would increase the stress on my joints and speed up the time frame for joint replacements.
I'm the type of person who, when told that I can't do something, it's of course what I want to do. Just to prove people wrong. Thanks to The Aerial Studio, I'm the healthiest I've ever been, and I feel like I can do anything.
I started taking AiReal yoga just before my 29th birthday this year. At that time, my arthritis had progressed to all of my weight bearing joints up through my lower back.
A few weeks in, I ran out of one of my arthritis medications. I've been off of these medications for short periods before, but the pain always made me get back on them as soon as I could.
This time however, it was three weeks before I realized that I hadn't refilled it, and I still wasn't in any pain.
I decided to see how long I could last, and shortly came off of all of my medications for the first time in 20 years.
In the last eight months, I've added conditioning and aerial classes as much as I can, and am happy to say that I haven't had to take any arthritis medications since I first ran out in February.
These classes have allowed me to build strength and flexibility without the impact that was always so detrimental to my joints.
I am stronger, happier, and able to do things that I never thought I'd be able to do. I even wear high heels.
Both of my girls have been diagnosed with the same condition as me, so I'm hoping, with how great aerial has been for me, that it can save them from some of the pain that I went through.
Thank you Aerial Studio.