Chronic Illness Support for Auto Immune Disease

Are you ready to make a comeback? I was… My name is Laura Readel and I’m a 45-year-old Mom of 2 beautiful kiddies and wife to a loving husband, Charlie. I am an RA WARRIOR and want to share my experience and support to others who battle chronic illness. There is hope. There is a way we CAN control some of our symptoms.

I was diagnosed with Spondyloarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis in Feb. 2015. This diagnosis didn’t come easily. My orthopedic surgeon knew something wasn’t “right” when I needed a total hip replacement with no prior injury to my hip. Years and years of arthritic knee issues were attributed to playing competitive soccer and multiple injuries. But my hip deterioration simply didn’t make any sense so he referred me to my Rheumatologist. Most likely, I’ve had RA since I was in my teenage years. With joint hypermobility as well as RA I have had severe degeneration in most joints and arthritis comparable to an 90-year-old.

Coach Laura's Story

I no longer played competitive sports or even recreational, and working out was certainly becoming very challenging as my body continued to deteriorate. As an athlete all my life I had a competitive edge that was no longer being met. I was feeling frustrated that I couldn’t do the things I loved to do any longer, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the outdoors and playing with my kids as I had hoped.

I knew if I wanted to live a healthy and fulfilling life with my kids and husband I needed to figure out a way to adapt to my diagnosis without giving into it. I needed to quickly find ways to workout and feel better. I needed to dive into my nutrition, identify triggers for RA flare-ups, and determine what foods I needed to focus on. I do my best to eat clean and healthy and use proper portions 80% of the time. The other 20… well, that’s filled with dunkin donuts, my Mom’s pasta, a glass of Shiraz, or a trip to Kerber’s to get some ice cream

I also needed to figure out how to workout again. I needed to figure out how to modify workouts when my body ached, how to shorten them in length, and how to reduce the pounding on my joints. Being a busy Mom I also needed to figure out how to workout without feeling guilty for leaving my kids for 2 hours to hit the gym.

I needed to be a STUDENT of my body and my disease. I needed to use my symptoms as a motivation for finding solutions. I needed to dive into learning again and be open to education and other’s experiences.

I needed to lean into my faith when I felt as if my body was failing me. And I needed to surround myself with others who were there only to lift me up and challenge me to be better.

I became a Health & Fitness Coach and have spent a great deal of time sharing my experience with others who are also WARRIORS. I have connected with many others and have become part of a community of goal crushers. With a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling and a love for health and fitness… I cannot think of a better fit for me.

I want others to know that they CAN get back in the game. No matter what your reasons are for falling behind or what your limitations are, you CAN become the healthiest version of you. It’s never too late to make your comeback. It’s never too late to find the time, the reason, and the ways to make it happen. . Your comeback may be after an injury, a divorce, a job loss, a death. Life happens, things stray us away from our health goals. We all have our story, this is my story, this is my comeback… I hope you follow me as I continue to move forward in my health journey. And I’d love to hear about your story, and support you as you make YOUR comeback!

Auto Immune Resources


Ali Fowler

Meet powerbuilder, Ali Fowler…. A 31-year-old Mom of 2 beautiful daughters, diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was 24-years-old. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT and works hard as a Restaurant Manager to provide for her family. She is a cheer and softball Mom who loves spending time with her girls.

Before she was diagnosed, Ali was hospitalized for what she thought was an ongoing knee injury caused by running. While in the hospital the doctor noticed the size of her ankles doubling in size… he immediately ordered blood work which pointed to something more concerning. Ali was then directed to see a specialist and who determined she had RA. She was told to discontinue running and all impact exercises. She also had to stop managing a garden center nearby.

Life changed significantly for Ali after her diagnosis. She spent the next 4 years going on and off a mostly vegan diet – pretending to be “fine” while silently fighting flare ups. Her hands looked like a 90-year-old womans and symptoms were difficult to manage. Changes within her family structure had also caused stress in her life – and after her divorce Ali decided to hit the weight room rather than crash dieting. She also quit drinking alcohol at this time. Ali has worked hard to remove all negativity- toxic people and negativity had no room in her battle against RA.

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