Friday, September 2, 2016

Facing Forward: Christa

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!

Name: Christa
Location: Gulfport, FL
Diagnosis: Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Sjogren's Disease, Degenerative Disk Disease, hyperthyroidism
Age at Diagnosis: 37

How are you currently treating your condition?
I take 4-6 medications every day. I've struggled with finding medications that don't treat one condition by making another worse. I follow a modified auto-immune paleo protocol diet. I keep up on my health care appointments, including seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist regularly. I LOVE my yoga.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
Fatigue is hands down my biggest problem. It's affected my relationship with my spouse, my parenting, and my employment. Having known my spouse well before my diagnosis, he's struggled with the downgrade in my capabilities. I struggle with guilt around being the parent I want to be. I choose to work part time so that I have the energy to be a better spouse and parent. You have to decide how to ration those spoons.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
If I get things done in the morning, I'll know they'll get done. My symptoms flare worse in the evening. I love to do lists - they help me prioritize what's most important. If it's not important and I don't feel up to doing it, oh well, there's always tomorrow.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
I really work on my attitude. This is my life, I only get to live it once. This isn't a dress rehearsal so I better feel good about today. My mantra is "I am resilient."

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
I just got it tattooed on my arm last month. "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." We can't control what life throws at us, only how we react to it. I'm trying to leverage the changes in my health into something positive. For example, I'm super excited about my new job. I just became the Program Director for Yoga for Arthritis and I'm really excited to work for an organization whose mission I'm so passionate about. I think my lifelong yoga practice has really contributed to keeping me healthy, and by working for a larger organization I can reach, and therefore help, more people than I can in the local yoga class I teach.

Do you have a blog you would like to share?

Would you like to be featured on Facing Forward? If so, please send an email to  

No comments: