Transformation Thursday: Sparkling Through Setbacks | Abbie McGourty

At Studio Poise we love to celebrate successes within our community. Recently, it's come to our attention that several members of Poise Nation have been sparkling straight through some serious setbacks. For the next few weeks we'll be sharing their stories of perseverance and recovery. If you've overcome challenges like these fabulous ladies have, and want to share your story, please email us at!

Our next story comes from Abbie McGourty who has been SParkling with us since September 2016 and is a regular in our 9am Barreworke with Erica! Abbie was diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis 3 years ago and went through quite an ordeal to find relief from the constant pain. Thanks for sharing your story with us Abbie, we're so glad you've found Studio Poise to be your happy place and we are so honored to be part of your healthy routine. 

Abbie and Erica - busy moms on the go!

Abbie and Erica - busy moms on the go!

Regular exercise has been my therapy for as long as I can remember. I have always pushed myself in the gym or on the pavement. I fell in love with running after my first child was born. He would scream the entire time in the babysitting room at the gym so I needed to exercise and he needed to come with me. He learned how to chill out in the stroller while I learned how to run. A year and a half after he was born I gave birth to triplets. Exercise had now become even more important to me. It was my only alone time, the only thing I was doing for myself and vital to keeping my energy and strength up to contend with three infants and a toddler. I was strong, energetic and enjoying my crazy life!

A few years later runs started to get more difficult. I felt like I was dragging a huge weight behind me as I ran. Eventually I couldn’t complete my short runs without walking for some portion of the time. I was exhausted ALL the time. I have never been one to nap and I fell asleep any time I closed my eyes. Any time of day. Anywhere. My joints started hurting. Particularly the small joints in my hands and feet. It hurt to push my kids on the swings and walking down the stairs in the morning was a challenge.

I sought help through a multitude of avenues. I tried a few specialists and came up with nothing. I thought perhaps I’m just aging and this is what it feels like. In a final attempt to feel better I went to my PCP who ran a barrage of tests. When she called with my results I was shocked to hear I have Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis (commonly called RA). Lupus is an inflammatory autoimmune disease as is RA. They are often diagnosed together. I had a lot of the classic symptoms, those along with my blood work assured the final diagnosis. I began seeing a rheumatologist. On my first visit she gave me a cortisone shot and some meds that would take a while to work if they were going to work at all. The cortisone shot kicked in a few days later and I felt amazing. I was running and getting my house back in order.

Over the next several years my medicine cabinet would fill up as I tried drug after drug. Drugs mixed with other drugs. Something would work for a while and then I’d start to have bad flares. The flares would result in more cortisone injections and a new cocktail of pills. Then I started a new med which required me to give myself painful injections. Last May I had had enough and stopped taking my medicine. If it ended in a flare I didn’t care. The injections hurt and I was tired of filling my body with chemicals. I decided to take the summer off and see how I did. It turns out I did okay! I didn’t have any flares but I did have the muscle pain and joint tenderness that were already a part of my daily life even on medication.

Last fall I changed up my exercise routine to include barre classes a few times a week at Studio Poise. I found the classes challenging and liked the results I was seeing in a short time. About a month and a half in to my new routine I realized that I was walking down my stairs in the morning and not hobbling one step at a time. It had to be from my new regimen! Until now I had rarely exercised barefoot or worked my muscles from the bottom up. I think spending so much time on my toes in classes like Barreworke strengthened the small joints in my feet that had caused me so much pain. Now I try to do barre twice a week, run twice a week and lift heavy once a week. Along with a good diet I am feeling better than I have in years. I truly hope I have finally found the right balance to keep my body healthy without using drugs and I'm so glad Studio Poise is part of that winning combo! 

Abbie with her husband and their children

Abbie with her husband and their children

Danielle Roback

Studio Poise, 12 Salem St, Lynnfield, MA 01940, USA