I was a youth tennis pro.
At the age of 17 years old, I turned pro and played the WTA circuit for a year. I trained at Harvard, Cambridge, and Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy in Florida.
At 18 years old, I received a full scholarship to Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and shortly after, I competed at the college level until I began experiencing excoriating pain in my wrists. The pain required a need for bilateral surgery in both of my hands, which resulted in months of recovery and rehab.
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 19.
Through the years, I was put on numerous medicines. Including multiple chemo drugs to suppress my immune system and I have battled and rehabbed from over 22 surgeries, including a surgery where surgeons performed a total wrist infusion.
In the years following, I had become lost in my career path and depressed. Multiple deaths in the family, including my mother and brother, really threw me off course and I became addicted to food.
My illness had taken over my life, and when I realized this, I decided to take control and fight back.
Celebrating a new milestone!
Never in a million years did I believe I would be able to lift weights again, but I’ve been proven wrong! I prove myself wrong with every elevated triceps dip I perform. With the right diet, supplements, and medication, my RA is under control, and I feel stronger than ever. I can and do accomplish my goals just as I did in my youth.
Now that I have competed in my first bodybuilding challenge, I believe that having RA has made more a more determined person. I embrace the challenges that I know I’ll face every day.
Returned to school at the age of 41 and recently completed a Masters Degree in Nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. I decdied to go all the way and complete a Doctoral degree in Functional Medicine. I recently met my 16-year-old self again at the age of 42 years old and even though the journey has had a lot of bumps and bruises, I’m still here, and I’m smiling because I am alive and looking forward to the sunrise of each new day.