Community AA Voices - personal stories What it’s really like living with AA and loving exercise It's not easy, besides just enjoying going to the gym. I feel good when I have done some exercise, but I like the social side too. I have been a fitness instructor for 20 years and I teach Fitness Pilates and Cardio exercise. I am devastated I have been told I have Aplastic anaemia - I have never heard of it. You need to take things a bit easy, I am told. Does that mean I may have to give up exercise and work? I don't feel ill, I don't look ill, the only problem I have is that I do bruise and bleed easily, so I will just carry on as normal. I cannot believe that I could have anything seriously wrong with me. Today I decide to go for a run, I feel a bit breathless, I have to walk, can't run anymore! It's confirmed that my red/ white cells, platelets and neutrophil counts are falling and I need treatment. I am in hospital having ATG. I need to get out of this room. Happy I can go for a walk in the hospital grounds, it's nice to get some fresh air. I'm missing sport! I've been off work and the gym for one month, I'm bored and irritable, missing the gym, missing work so I start walking, then my consultant says that I can return to the gym and work, that's good news but I have to be careful. Careful of what? Everything: people who cough or sneeze, no weights in case I knock myself, I may bruise or bleed. But being careful is better than not exercising or not teaching fitness as most of the time I feel good after the class. I get myself out of bed and off I go to the gym. I am in a class and the ladies on either side of me are coughing, so what do I do? I leave, as I am worried that I may catch it! I find myself in the gym looking for somewhere to work out where no one will be next to me. Am I overreacting? I don't know. The gym is supposed to be one of the worst places for picking up infections. I return to work Today when I returned to work I had to ask the ladies and gents that attend my classes to stay away if they are unwell. I told them that I have AA and I am susceptible to catching infections. They seem to be ok with it, but they want to come to my class and exercise because that is what they have been doing for the last however many years. Then someone tells me they don't feel very well today, so I think 'why are they here'? It is not just unfair to me, but to everyone else in the class. This time I cannot run away; I have to stay there in front of the class telling them what to do, hoping that I will not catch it. Fundraising It's just before Christmas and I have arranged a pre Christmas candlelight Fitness Pilates class to raise money for the AAT. I wonder how I will feel, I haven't been out in the evening as this is the time when I don't always feel that great, but I made it, it was successful and hoping to do it again soon. Another day at my class and I am making a joke that I have not been beaten up by my husband the bruises on my arms are from my illness, we have a laugh about it, I hope they believe me! The day-to-day This morning I got out of bed. I look out the window and there is snow, 'Shall I stay at home and hibernate?' I don't feel like exercising but once I get to the gym I start to feel a bit better, but today I struggled and couldn't finish the class. Should have stayed at home! There are days when I feel like doing nothing at all and I have done just that but even taking a walk and getting some fresh air feels good. Another day and I'm not letting this illness defeat me, my legs may hurt from the side effects of the medication, I don't have as much energy at the moment as I used to, but I will do the best I can!