In March of 2013, Jeff and Robin celebrated their wedding, excited to start their new life together. After a fun honeymoon in Hawaii, they returned to begin their married life together with Jeff’s, and now Robin’s, two teenage daughters. However, things did not go exactly as planned. Having no prior symptoms, by June of that same year, Robin had been suffering from severe thunderclap headaches, blackouts, loss of vision at times, and balance issues. She felt tremendous pressure in her head as if someone were inflating her head with a bicycle pump. The condition was debilitating. After a number of tests and doctor visits, they finally performed a spinal tap and confirmed that she has idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), a condition where the body produces excess spinal fluid causing extreme pressure around the brain and thus, extreme headaches and a variety of other symptoms. They believe hers is caused by a narrow vein but even that is just speculation. Spinal fluid pressure is normally in the range of 9-17 but hers has been as high as 68, and pain in the 8-9 range 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The treatment? Periodic spinal taps to relieve pressure (only temporary), heavy pain medication, and four eye surgeries to prevent loss of sight. Oh, did I also mention Robin has 2 benign brain tumors, fibromyalgia, and systemic and discoid lupus as well?
Hope and strong faith are what drives us to continue to press on, seek ways to serve others, encourage those who are struggling with their own difficulties, and dreaming of what we might be able to accomplish in the future. Through our struggles together, we’ve grown as a couple and grown in our desire and ability to understand and help others accomplish their health and fitness related goals, in spite of whatever obstacles life may have for them.
About Jeff Ash
Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach
I’ve been active all my life, involved in competitive sports including baseball, karate, and rock climbing. My late wife of 15 years struggled with obesity her entire life so while weight has not been an issue for me, I am intimately in tune with the variety of issues and emotions surrounding those who struggle with their weight. Being able to help her lose 140 lbs over an 18-month period and seeing the impact that transformation had on her enjoyment of life has been a driving force in my life and why I love to work with this population. With my current wife’s chronic health issues described above, this is yet another driving force that guides my passion to help those who struggle just to make it through each day. My passion is to help people find creative solutions to improve their health and fitness while taking into account their unique circumstances and limitations.