My Story: Teresa Snider

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

The body can only take so much – I believe that now.

At 48, I have been nothing short of Wonder Woman. I say that because I have allowed my career, business, and farm to consume me.

What is it that they say? Oh, that's right, "Listen to your body's whispers before they become screams."

I was diagnosed with pneumonia in November of 2015. Despite three rounds of antibiotics, X-rays revealed no change. I was referred to a pulmonologist who ordered a CAT scan and blood work. I can still remember how my heart sank when he told me I had interstitial lung disease.

I don't understand. I had never smoked and until recently, had been blessed with excellent health. To make it worse, the doctor concluded by saying my RA markers were extremely high, indicating a large amount of inflammation in my body.

No – they had to be wrong.

I was referred to a rheumatologist who did his testing, and the two consulted on my treatment. I was prescribed prednisone and azathioprine.

I dealt with weight gain, mood swings, and the round moon face which paled in comparison to the pain and anguish I felt when trying to walk.

I have always been so active – I just kept questioning, "Why and how?"

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I have (for the first time in my life) had to put me first. I have been forced to slow down and prioritize. I have learned to listen to my body. I am trying to eat healthier, get more rest, and relax.

"Everything doesn't have to get done today!" As an elementary school administrator, I have students and staff members depending on me. If I don't keep my battery charged, I can't do what I need to for them.

As a business owner, I have learned that the physical limitations of standing on my feet all weekend can be excruciating. I have learned to cut those hours in half and rely more on my employees.

As far as the cattle, I do what I can as I can. I enjoy my farm so much, but I've learned that I pay for a day in the hay.

Who has been there for you? How?

My family means the world to me. Their support and love have helped me cope with this. In addition to going to appointments with me, they help in numerous ways – with my business and with my farm, as needed. They also keep me motivated! My fiancé reminds me to slow down and keeps me focused on my wellness.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud of the fact that I still keep moving forward! I haven't let chronic illness affect my ambition. I recognize some days are difficult – I just use them to step back and launch again.

I continue my professional career as an administrator (our school recently received an ODE Momentum Award), a business owner, and a cowgirl.

Yes, we raise and show cattle. The fact that I haven't let RA take all this away is my greatest accomplishment.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud of the fact that I still keep moving forward! I haven't let chronic illness affect my ambition. I recognize some days are difficult – I just use them to step back and launch again.

I continue my professional career as an administrator (our school recently received an ODE Momentum Award), a business owner, and a cowgirl.

Yes, we raise and show cattle. The fact that I haven't let RA take all this away is my greatest accomplishment.

I still keep moving forward!

I still keep moving forward!

What's your advice to someone else living with RA?

Learn as much as you can about it. Ask questions and don't be afraid to get a second and third opinion. It takes some time to find the right medication – I'm not there yet.

Learn as much as you can about RA.

Is there anything else we should know?

I have won all kinds of awards with my career, my pizzas, and my cattle.

I am a workaholic with too many interests. I've always wondered how far I could go if I channeled all of my energy into one direction.

I have to say, my lifestyle and its demands finally created the perfect storm.

About Teresa Snider

My Story: Teresa Snider
I have over 20 years of experience in education. I hold a bachelor of education, two masters in business, and I am the owner of Mound Hill Farm. I've been farming for over 10 years now.
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