Disclaimer: Our RA warriors freely shared their stories without being coerced, and I hope their stories encourage you to live daily with great strength and RISE above your pain and inflammation!
When last did you try moving a part of your body but couldn’t? How about letting go of your favorite sport because of joint weakness?
It must be frustrating, right?
This is just a glimpse of life with RA.
Read how Shannan conquered RA with a community of warriors giving her more time to spend with her grandkids and doing other things she enjoys.
Life with ra: Shannan’s RA Story
Please tell us about yourself so our readers know you better.
I am a wife, mom, and grandmother living in Tucson, Arizona.
Before my diagnosis, I lived in Seattle, working my dream job in technology, traveling, and running. But RA hit me hard, and I eventually decided an early retirement was best. It was so hard at first, but now I’ve come to embrace the different life I’ve been given.
These days I write—something I’ve wanted to focus on for years but never had the time. I can’t run anymore but have developed a love for walking. I am back to traveling and getting to spend more time with my grandkids.
How long have you been living with RA?
I got diagnosed at the beginning of 2019.
When did you realize you had RA? Was it before you were clinically diagnosed or through clinical diagnosis?
I was clinically diagnosed, although, in hindsight, I believe my symptoms began to present a few years before. I just had no idea what RA was and thought it was things like I was running too much, I needed a new mattress, it was the weather, etc.
What is it like living with RA?
I have so many ups and downs. With RA, you just never know what you’re going to get. I’ve been on about eight meds and am about to start my 9th (in 3 ½ years).
I’ve learned to take advantage of the good days and rest on the bad ones. And don’t feel guilty on those bad days.
Do you have a working relationship with your rheumatologist, and how does that contribute to your improved health?
I had a great relationship with my rheumatologist when I was first diagnosed. But I moved after I left my job, and I’ve had to learn to take ownership of my health. I want to find another rheumatologist, but it is so hard to find any taking new patients.
How do you handle down moments in your health?
I rest! At first, I was so used to going, going, going in my life and job, so slowing down was very hard. But I found it’s the best thing I can do when I can’t control what’s happening to my body.
Why did you join the warrior fit transformation program?
I was tired of sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I used to love to work out but had no idea how to modify things with RA.
I found RA Warrior Fitness on Instagram through another Warrior I followed and decided to check it out.
Best decision ever!
How has RA Warrior Community helped you in achieving an overall healthier lifestyle?
I have learned modifications so I can move as much as possible. Movement is life!
I have learned healthier eating habits. And I’ve learned I am not alone.
Before this, I really did feel that no one understood.
I’ve lost over 12 pounds (scale victory), but I’ve also lost inches and gained so much confidence.
I feel better.
My shoulder no longer hurts. And, I’ve gained the most motivating and wonderful community (that’s the best part!).
What’s your go-to mantra or affirmations on days you feel like giving up? We hope your mantra helps fellow warriors.
You can do hard things!
I’ve always prided myself on doing things people told me I couldn’t do.
Go to college at 35? No way! – DONE; Raise five kids as a single mom? No way! – DONE. Run marathons? No way! DONE!
And on and on. So I tell myself I can do hard things.
What advice do you have for others living with RA?
Find your community! It is the most important thing of all. Oh, and that silly saying, motion is lotion – truth! Even if it’s just a little movement, move some every day.
Final Thoughts from Ashley
One thing that amazes me about Shannan’s story is how she is intentional in rising above her rheumatoid arthritis, regardless of naysaying.
She sticks to the RA Warrior Fitness plan, reflecting her physical results and mindset.
If you can let go of people’s lack of expectation, focus on your journey, and join a community of like-minded people ready to help you thrive, don’t trade that for fighting alone.
If you are not a part of the Warrior Fit Fam Community, I gladly welcome you to join other autoimmune warriors, including myself, as we RISE above our AUTOIMMUNE CONDITIONS.