Kayla Schneider is a 25-year old Cincinnatian who loves to work out. One day, she woke up and could barely see out of her left eye. She went to the Cincinnati Eye Institute, where they diagnosed her with Option Neuritis—and scheduled an MRI immediately. The brain and spine MRI revealed that Kayla had Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Since her diagnosis, Kayla has discovered that riding at CycleBar is one of the few ways she can be active and pain-free. But more than that, Kayla’s determination and positive outlook on life in the face of MS are something that inspire us all! Check out her amazing story:
How has MS changed your life?
After being diagnosed in February 2017 with MS, I started to approach life in a different way, both physically and mentally. This may sound obvious, but when you go through something that you don’t expect, you start looking for answers or reasons. I’ve always believed God, and my faith has only gotten stronger.
I’ve become a better person, and have started taking more time to appreciate things. I have learned to never take your life or health for granted. I’ve realized I need to stop worrying about the future and focus on the now. Yes, life will be more complicated, but I’m not going to let MS take control of me or my happiness. I’m going to kick its ass, and show others who have MS that you can be successful, strong, and live a wholesome life.
I am forever grateful to be living right now—in the now, and others should too! I see MS as a journey that I’ve been destined to take for whatever reason, and in the long term, will help me take on new challenges.
Empathy is something we all have, but my sense of empathy has gotten stronger than ever. You start to look around at the world and others who are going through difficulties and tragedies. You begin to understand more than ever how crucial life is and how it must be not taken for granted.
What do you love most about CycleBar? What keeps you coming back?
I love how friendly everyone is that works there. The instructors push you to your limits, and make sure you leave drenched in sweat. I like that CycleBar has complimentary showers so that if you take a class before work, you can get ready there. CycleBar also is pretty involved in the community, and that is great to see an organization gives back.
How does CycleBar help you cope with MS?
CycleBar is my one escape from everything that’s going on around me. It has been the only workout I have been able to do without a lot of pain since my diagnosis. I feel confident when I’m there, and feel great afterwards. CycleBar has really been a staple in my life over the past month, and I can’t thank the instructors enough (even though they might not have known what was going on) for pushing me and making me feel engaged in my workout.
What advice would you offer to other people in your situation?
Don’t allow MS to define who you are! As hard as it can be, it’s important to have a positive outlook. Once you realize that MS is not the worst thing in the world, you shouldn’t feel sorry for yourself. There is no need for that. Stay positive and be thankful. You have to move on and do the most with what you have! Think about what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do.
When you go through something like MS and realize how unpredictable life is, you forget all the nonsense that used to bother you—arguing, resentment, pride, and other things that don’t really mean much. Why should you carry that burden when there are so many other things to worry about? My attitude now is: Live in the now.
Lastly, you’ll meet amazing doctors and nurses that help you with your MS, and you will get to know more people. Get involved in the MS Community, and you will find others who can relate and help you through your journey.
What advice would you offer to other riders?
Give every day your all. Don’t take any days for granted.