Brain surgery lets woman with dystonia 'fly' at Flywheel Chicago

July 11, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Dystonia is the name of Emily Blum's disability. Since her deep brain stimulation surgery, she is able to challenge herself physically, like at Chicago's Flywheel.

"Flywheel in particular has been so much fun it is just getting on the bike and spinning your legs and riding your heart out it's the most free movement," Blum said.

Blum was diagnosed with dystonia when she was 16 years old.

"I was walking oddly. When I was about 10 years old my ballet teacher noticed it," Blum said. "I went to a series of doctors for many years they thought I had a wide variety of disorders. They thought, actually, I was making it up to get attention."

Blum, who used to walk with a cane, said it was very hard to walk even a block. So she underwent brain surgery.

"[Brain surgery] was not the easiest thing to do but has changed my life in a super dramatic way," Blum said.

Flywheel manager Daryl Misrac calls Blum a rock star.

"Our ride is mixed with music and also an arm section so we do have a full body workout," Misrac said. "She gets into class and she focuses and she pushes and she amazes us all every time she s in here and really helps us to motivate ourselves a little but further."

"It makes me feel able, you know. For a kid who felt very disabled for a long time this makes me feel very able," Blum said.

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