She Doesn't Let Disease Stop Her

I glanced at the front page of the Variety section of my local paper this morning and a headline of one of the articles caught my eye: "She doesn't let disease stop her."

Hmm! I immediately wondered if it was going to be about RA, chronic pain, or an auto-immune disease of some kind. I then thought, no, it could be about anything. There are a million diseases out there, right? Despite running late while getting ready for work, my curiosity got the better of me and I snatched up the paper to get a closer look. Aha! While scanning over the first paragraph, the words "joint replacements," "rheumatoid arthritis," and "lupus" jumped out at me. My hunch was correct, and I kept reading.

The article introduces Chris Cronick, an "über-fit" 38-year-old spinning instructor who has survived open-heart surgery, blood sepsis, pneumonia, six joint replacements, and lives with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and celiac disease. Wow, I felt sick just reading that list of ailments. I thought, how on earth can she do any exercise, much less be a spinning instructor? I might be wrong, but I always assumed that spinning was that seemingly crazy exercise where you cycle like a maniac on a stationary bike until you almost fall over from exhaustion (or drop over dead?). I might be a bit off on that, but living with RA myself, I can't imagine spinning on a regular basis. Or once, really. I often have enough trouble with normal bike rides.

Intrigued and impressed, I read on, happy to see RA and chronic illnesses getting some much-needed media attention for once. Predictably, this is a "you-can-do-it-despite-your-dire-health-problems" type of story. Or a "don't-give-up-in-the-face-of-adversity" rally cry. Whatever you want to call it. I'm typically a sucker for these sorts of stories, especially when they have to do with someone overcoming an illness or physical challenge, because I can relate to that, of course. I want inspiration and positivity. I want hope. But don't we all? Staying hopeful and positive isn't easy, though, especially when living with a painful chronic disease.

In the article, Cronick emphasizes the importance of finding a "silver lining" when dealing with health problems. Staying positive and focused helped her reach major fitness, nutrition, and weight loss goals. She lost over 100 lbs, she accomplished difficult physical and career goals, and she got her diseases under control and stable. How did she manage to do all of that while being in such pain, enduring surgeries, and living with so much sickness? I probably don't even have to say it, but I will--she didn't let disease stop her. I don't want it to stop me, either. And I think it's good to keep reminding yourself of that.

Bravo, Star Tribune, for publishing this story! If you want to read the article for yourself, you can find it online here: "How I Got This Body: Chris Cronick"


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