My name is Marianne. I have suffered from RA for 5 years since having chemotherapy for breast cancer. I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia along with osteoarthritis of my hands and knees. I have been a medical assistant for 34 years and had to recently move from VA to my home in PA with my mom due to not being able to work anymore– Talk about depression and sadness! I was 52 years old, living on my own since I was 18 and now had severe hand pain and couldn’t do my job anymore. I have since found some relief from the pain and I am able to work 20 hours a week. I joined several RA groups, but no one had solutions… They just talked about their situations. I wanted solutions to get back to doing everyday life like working since I worked 3 jobs before my hand pain became severe. Then one day a few months ago my son told me about this NP who was also a Rheumatoid Coach. Imagine my happiness!! My son suggested that I start following her on social media and sign up for her free email letters. This was one of the best decisions of my life. I was thrilled, someone who worked in the medical field like me and had RA. I started reading her blogs and several of them really influenced me. I never took my disease seriously until I met Stefanie. I didn’t want to accept I had limitations but she has taught me to make adaptations and live a productive life again. (For example, One of her blogs was about wearing a blouse that had a neck button in the back and she was struggling with buttoning it, so she just wore a scarf and no one knew any different. It was an eye opener for me that there were actual ways to make my life easier and save my strength for my job.) Then it only gets better, I won 3 free sessions with Stefanie through a social media contest– I couldn’t have asked for a better life altering gift! During my Illuminate sessions with Stefanie, I have learned how to adapt my life with Rheumatoid Arthritis and not let it control my life. I have also realized just because people appear to be handling the day well, does not mean they didn’t make adaptations earlier in the day to get them there. My life has taken a whole new avenue since having my Illuminate! Your Life with RA! sessions with Stefanie! Please sign up to work with her… You won’t regret it!
Before I get into how much Stefanie, the Rheumatoid Arthritis Coach, has helped my family and I, some context is warranted. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stefanie in a clinical setting — although not clinical myself, I’ve been able to witness Stefanie‘s clinical prowess in person.
Later, after finding out Stefanie dabbled in Rheumatoid Arthritis coaching, mentorship, and healing, I connected her with my mother who suffers with RA. I’d like to say Stefanie helped my mother most, but that’s just not true. Stefanie provided my mother clinical expertise, ideas, concepts, and solutions that I so wish I could’ve articulated to my mother personally. Even if I had been able to find the words, they wouldn’t of come with the respect that Stefanie brings into the RA arena. Stefanie removed a huge burden from my shoulders, and continues to provide resources that help me navigate my mother’s RA.
Having worked with Stefanie, I’ll bounce back to a concept: there is a clinical side to medicine, and there is a human side to medicine. Many providers are capable of administering the clinical side of medicine; few are capable of sharing the human side. Stefanie is so capable of putting herself in your shoes and experiencing the challenges you’re facing with you instead of just observing and writing a prescription.
I will never forget the day my mother called me, in tears, because Stefanie had taught her how to brush her teeth without pain. A simple solution, neither of us had thought of. Clinical medicine doesn’t provide those solutions; human medicine does. There are things in life a textbook cannot teach you, and there are bridges only a person traumatized by chronic illness can cross. Stefanie, a clinician, friend, wife, and mother of two beautiful boys, trail-blazed that bridge in front of your journey so you’d have footsteps to step in and know, without a doubt, you weren’t walking alone.
Can Stefanie solve all your problems? Absolutely not. Can she bridge the gap between medicine and actual experience? Absolutely.
Healthcare is an incredibly difficult thing to navigate. Honestly, I struggle with it myself and I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years. It’s easy to feel like there’s nowhere to turn, or like nobody understands your challenges and goals. Entering a setting like the one-on-one coaching Stefanie offers, is a game changer for your health. You’ve likely never known what it’s like to have a personal clinical advocate that is invested in your well-being and health outcomes the way Stefanie is. Based on the experience with my family, it was clear Stefanie was there to help — actually problem solve with us and create lasting solutions. She can help you too.
When I was first diagnosed with RA, I was lost. I couldn’t function at home or in my job. I went from being a very physically active 57-year-old woman with a busy career and personal life to someone who was having difficulty getting out of bed or meeting my own basic needs. It was very isolating. Communicating with my doctors and managing my medications was a whole new and scary world. I felt like I was learning a new language in a foreign land! Between the pain and wierd symptoms that seemed to pop up every day, and the medications with their side effects, I was discouraged and overwhelmed. It seemed like I was never going to be able to pull myself out of what looked like a very bleak future. I found my RA Coach, Stefanie around 10 months after my diagnosis and my only regret is that I didn’t find her sooner. She reviewed my treatment program with me, helps me manage my treatments and gives me great advice. It’s been a tremendous benefit to be able to get answers or direction between appointments with my rheumatologist. It’s also been a great comfort to know that I have a knowledgeable professional to help provide me with treatment advice or even help me with hair products to use on my “RA hair”. Without her encouragement, I think I would have given up too easy on some of the medications and I’m glad that I didn’t. Her positive and realistic approach helps me to reframe how my circumstance impacts my day-to-day life. I truly believe that I wouldn’t be as stable physically or mentally if I was trying to navigate this journey on my own. I’m grateful that this service is available to me and consider this one of the best health investments I’ve ever made.
I have an autoimmune disease, yes, but I also have a life outside of it. I have 5 children, a soon-to-be ex-husband, and a full time career. Stefanie made the time to listen to me, learn about my life, and outlined plans that helped me and only me. Everything was specifically tailored to MY needs! It was obvious that my 5-kid, career-mom life was not fitting into any other program or counseling session. I had failed so many before! I have learned to completely avoid triggers and I have not had a flare in 18 months. I also have tools to deal with the psychological challenges that come along with this disease and I no longer feel guilty, sad, or overwhelmed day to day.
I would highly recommend her and her program.
I signed up for Stefanie’s program at the beginning of the pandemic and local shut down. I am a hair stylist and was unable to work for 6 weeks. I was in a deep depression and my symptoms were only getting worse every single day. Stefanie helped me deal with myself and the world around me. I am able to better control my depression and anxiety with the tools and teachings I received during this program. I am a healthier person, better mother, and more productive career-woman than I have been in my entire life! I am so excited to continue my journey that I signed up to continue for another 12 weeks!