Headaches, weight gain and purple stretch marks. The symptoms Michelle de Villiers experienced in Matric led her to the biggest challenge of her life.

In 1995 Michelle went for brain surgery which resulted in 6 years of remission from the symptoms. At the age of 24, she once again gained weight rapidly.

The years to follow were filled with a series of operations, each time the symptoms returning quicker than the previous.

In 2005 she had radiation and it seemed that the symptoms had slowed down, until 2015 when the familiar symptoms were met with new ones.

In 2018 Michelle was diagnosed with recurring Cushing’s Disease. Trying medication to decrease her high cortisol levels, she almost faced kidney and liver failure.

Not being able to pinpoint the adenoma yet and too much scar tissue, the decision was made to have a bilateral adrenalectomy which left her with no adrenal glands.

Michelle has had to make peace with the fact that not every day is going to be a good day. Despite the challenges of going through major surgery and putting on excess weight, after 2 years she has managed to get back onto her bike.

Michelle joined as a Dirt Addict Member as soon as we launched the membership option.

“What I love about Dirt Addict is that it is a group of like-minded women that loves cycling. No judgements, no rivalry, just acceptance.”

She prefers to socialize in smaller groups and recommends us to all the ladies struggling to find someone to ride with.

Having met at the Willowbridge Lifestyle Expo last year at the Dirt Addict stall, she found connection because she has always enjoyed cycling too. “Cycling enables one to meet new people, see new places and is good for the body.”

Having faced her challenges for nearly 20 years, Michelle is not giving up on her dreams.

“I’d love to do a cycle tour through a nature reserve, e.g.; Tour de Tuli or the Botlierskop 3 day MTB tour or a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti during the annual wildebeest migration.”

If you’d like to reach out for more information, feel free to get in touch with us.

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