March 10, 2019
Brittany Parrett felt like she was losing grip on the life she worked so hard for.
“It took me eight years to get a pro card. I did 24 shows [and] got the nickname ‘Phoenix.’ Everyone is like, you don’t give up and I was like no I don’t,” Parrett said.
She experienced paralysis, convulsions, and extreme pain. A mystery illness caused a range of symptoms sidelined the 31-year-old professional bodybuilder and dental hygienist.
In November, a year after first experiencing symptoms, Parrett was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder. Symptoms vary, though it can be triggered by stress and trauma. Parrett believes her trigger was the death of her grandmother.
In January, rehab and recovery became Parrett’s full-time job.
Now she’s back on her feet and, as of Friday, back on the job. After her shift she headed to Best Fitness in Schenectady. Just days after medical clearance, she began pumping iron, the very thing doctors say she’s deficient in.
She’s lost muscle tone but this has defined her strength of character.
“If I got on stage and I fought all of this, don't be afraid of what your body looks like. It doesn't matter. It is temporary. You can change your body. You've got to change your mind. That is the biggest thing. You've got to change your mindset,” Parrett said.
Recovery could be a lifelong process, but for now perhaps Parrett’s most prominent abnormality is the giant chip on her shoulder.
“Everyone kept saying to me, you’re never going to be the same and now I’m to the point where, I’m like, yeah I know. Because the only never I’ve ever known was to never give up,” Parrett said.
Parrett says she is absolutely determined to compete in bodybuilding once again. She’s eyeing a competition in Syracuse in November.
Original article published in the Spectrum News.