i didn't think that there was much longer that i had to go like that, because it was just med after med after med after med trying to keep me going. and so i was pretty desperate for something better. "babs" stands for "badass bitch." and that pretty much sums her up. if her body would function and do what her mind was determined to do she'd be at the games.
no doubt in my mind. in february of 2010 i got a really bad bout of pneumonia, was in the hospital for seven days, and was on iv antibiotics breathing treatments, and all through my life i'd had really bad lung issues and lung disease. they thought it was asthma, bronchitis, pleurisy, all--you name it.
i've been diagnosed with all different kinds of things. so i just kind of thought i was just one of those people who just had bad asthma. went to a different pulmonologist and got a second opinion, and he said, "i'm going to test you for this really rare thing. i don't think that's what it is. it's super rare. not very many people have it." and so he sat me down in his office and he said, you know, "i got your results back from your test,"
"i don't know how to tell you this, but you tested positive." and my world kind of just came to like a crashing halt. alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic lung and liver disease, and it is when your liver doesn't produce a protein that your body needs to protect your lungs from infection. and so my body basically attacks its own lung tissue. my doctor talked to me about, you know, one of the treatments for alpha 1 is to get a new set of lungs.
i was heading down that path very fast and so, i didn't want to do that. and so i talked to him, and he said, "if you want to get off of this, you gotta do some things, and it's not going to be easy, and it's going to be a total lifestyle shift." i don't know. i have a big control thing with this disease, and i don't want it to have any more control of my life than it already does, and so this is another way that i can be like, "no. i can do this. i can take control of this."
it was a hard--i won't lie, it was a hard decision to decide to start infusions, because once you start it's like a lifelong commitment. it's like getting married. you get married to these bottles. it's like, are you really ready to do this for the rest of your life? are you really ready to commit to saying, "i will do this, get these infusions
every week, for the rest of my life"? so johnny is just at the forefront of always reminding her that she has to put her health absolutely first, you know, and he tries to keep her reigned in a little bit too, but he's just an amazing guy, which is good, because i know that he supports her and will help her with anything that she needs. one of the other things of this is the treatment that i take is you can't have children.
so to have children, one, i would be giving them the, you know, the genes for alpha 1, and so we had a really serious conversation about that because you know, i felt like i was telling him, or taking away his chance of ever having kids. i saw these people out running down the road, and i thought, "i can never do that.
never do that." i couldn't even barely walk up a single flight of stairs. like five stairs and i was literally bending over winded, like holding onto the rail. i went online and i started reading what people were posting about crossfit and seeing these before and after pictures of people who really started at, kind of
the body shape that i was in. you know, they didn't start from like svelte, thin, muscular bodies they were just like normal people walking along the street that were like, you know, "crossfit did this for me." so i came in and i went to the intro class and i thought i was going to die. i did my first burpee, and i thought, "i don't know if i can do this.
i don't know if my lungs are going to let me do this." but i really like the people. and that's something i was really needing because from the point at which i was diagnosed until i went to that it was two years. and it was two years of just struggle. when you have people that are just like poking at you, and poking at you, and poking at you, and they want to put their stethoscope on your chest,
or talk to you, hear your story, and all that. but they don't realize how invasive, and how much that takes away from you and i was, like, on steroids, and gaining all this weight, and just feeling like a medical oddity instead of like a person anymore. and so, when i went into that class,
and people were like, talking to me like a person, and being friendly to me, and they didn't care that i had alpha 1. it was like, so refreshing, you know? so, i was like, "i want to come back. i want to come back. i can do this." i met jessi, and she was my coach, but she also became my friend through that process,
because she learned how i could, you know-- who i was, and what my limits were. but also, kind of, i think she learned how she could push me through that process. day 1 babs. she gave me this 25-mile long list of health concerns that she has due to her disease,
and then in the very next breath she's like, "i'm ready to go. let's get started." and i'm like, "okay, still processing this list." but she was just ready to go. she came in completely committed from the very first day. so the first year i did the open was 2014 and i was scared to death. i was literally scared shitless.
couldn't do a pull-up. i couldn't do a double-under. i was just barely box jumping. that year, like maybe the first or second workout had double-unders, and i literally like cried on the way to the gym that day, because i had never gotten a single double-under. that workout fell on world rare disease day. and i'll never forget that, because i got a message from one of my alpha friends just saying, you know,
"be proud that you're rare, like a precious gem." and i've--that just stuck out in my head that day. and i was like, "i'm trying, i'm trying, i'm trying." and so, probably about eight minutes in, i finally got a double-under. and it was my first double-under ever. i got my first double-under in the open, and i was so excited. i like literally shed a tear. then they were like, "come on, you've got 30 more."
and i was like, "no! what?!" so i stood there, and one by one by one, i got all 30 of those double-unders. and i'll never forget that day for as long as i live. it was like it was all coming together. you know, she had lost a ton of weight at that point. she started to have a lot of goals as an athlete instead of just, "i want to be able to breathe." she was on a lung transplant list when she came to us,
and, you know, just coming off the lung transplant list, getting her double-unders, like all these things seemed to happen during the time of the open. when i started crossfit, my lung function tests were horrible. i probably had the same lung function as somebody who had smoked for 20 years, and that was just the disease.
now i have improved my lung function tests enough to take the talk of transplant off the table. i really think that crossfit has almost, like, a rehabilitative property that people don't give it credit for. i don't mean this at all lightly when i say this, when anybody asks me why i do crossfit, or what crossfit means to me, i will always tell them that crossfit has saved my life and continues to save my life everyday.