My Life with Chronic Illness | Venus Williams

My Life with Chronic Illness | Venus Williams

#Life #Chronic #Illness #Venus #Williams

Hey everyone so today i wanted to talk about something that affects not only me personally but lots of people and that’s chronic illness in 2011 i was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called sjogren’s syndrome now sjogren’s syndrome is one of many many many autoimmune diseases and we’re seeing people get diagnosed more frequently

Than ever right now so you may be familiar with some other autoimmune diseases for example like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus there are quite a few so it’s not uncommon for people to face these challenges and today i wanted to talk about what my journey is or has

Been and also different ways to deal with chronic illness so even though some people may not have an autoimmune disease you may be dealing with chronic illness and these are illnesses to find that illnesses that you’re living with on a long term basis so i live with sjogren’s syndrome every day

And i have continued to find it find a way to make a life and make a career and make the best life out of it it isn’t always easy but that’s a part of the challenge and i wanted to talk about this and share all

Of this with you today okay so some of the hallmark symptoms of sjogren’s syndrome is dry eyes and dry mouth so that’s one of the differentiators between sjogren’s and lots of other autoimmune disease diseases so with autoimmune diseases some of the typical symptoms are joint pain and fatigue

So those are symptoms that you can also get with strogan syndrome those are symptoms that i experience with stogen syndrome but those extra special friends that come along with it are dry eyes and dry mouth so you may say how does that affect your life so for example for vision it’s very difficult

For me to wear contact lenses my eyes are just too dry to wear those some people experience dryness to the point where they have to plug their tear ducts now you would say oh well tear ducts will help right but your eyes are so dry that your tear ducts continue to

Run and run and run so you’re constantly crying and so you have to plug those in order to stop that symptom from going so it can be very uncomfortable to the point where you would get mouth sores so as you can see an extreme level of shogun syndrome or extreme flare-up or

Extreme symptoms can start to really affect your life so one of the issues with autoimmune disease is that they’re very tricky to diagnose so a lot of people spend an average of seven years before they get their diagnosis for me i was right in that seven year window where i literally got

Too sick to continue to play professional sports before i had a diagnosis now of course i failed off and i would go to the doctor and say i don’t feel great especially someone like me who’s really in touch with their their physicality is so important i need to be everything to be

100 hopefully to do my best on the court and so i had to get so sick that i wasn’t well enough to play and continue my life that to get a diagnosis so of course one of my goals in life is to help people get diagnosed and feel better sooner

And in april was slogan syndrome awareness month so that was a great month for people to be aware of not only sjogren’s but all autoimmune diseases and to understand what symptoms they may be having and how to get diagnosed so you can get treated right away so for me what i do for

Myself to combat my own symptoms there’s some pretty basic things right so outside of course seeing a medical doctor super important i’m not your medical doctor i’m just sharing with you my experiences so it’s important to see a medical doctor and get a proper diagnosis so you know what you’re treating

Sometimes when you have an autoimmune disease you can have more than one sometimes they come with friends that you don’t even want at your house you know that friend that comes and they knock on the door invite themselves in that kind of thing so sometimes they do come with friends

So you may be living with more than one autoimmune disease and you want to get properly diagnosed you can treat them for me there are some super basic things that are super helpful staying hydrated you know autoimmunity is about inflammation in your body so if you’re staying hydrated that helps your inflammation

Getting enough sleep i know it sounds basic but when you don’t have enough sleep that’s when our body starts to trigger and our immune system is not being refreshed and restored sometimes sleeping can be an issue with autoimmune disease if you’re having joint pain it can be

Very difficult to sleep in the night so being able to treat some of those symptoms like joint pain and other things some of your pain levels is also very important so that way you can be able to do things like get a good night’s sleep and continue hopefully

With your regular day having a healthy diet is super important so if you are out there and you’re already not feeling well and you’re starting to eat things that are not healthy lots of sugar um lots of processed foods foods are not really actually energizing your body because let’s keep it basic energizing

Your body is important it’s just like if you go and put the wrong gas in your car car is not going to run so it’s a really same concept with your body go ahead and add lots of fruits and vegetables and grains it’s also going to help with that

Inflammatory process that your body is going through that’s going to help you a ton super important also supplementation can really help so when you’re talking to your doctor get your blood checked see if you’re low on certain sores of vitamins and that can also help keeping those

Vitamin levels up keeping your body in that right level that can also give you some boost so sometimes it’s some low hanging fruit that you can grab at that will really help you to be able to feel a little bit better every little bit helps so you can add a little here a

Little there a little there you can start to hopefully feel some genuine health so one thing that i would say a little advice and this really helped me when going through chronic illness when you’re dealing with issues that you’re not used to when you can’t be who you

Want to be because you’re being held back by your your physical health is remember that everything counts and being able to do even something is better than nothing there are some days where you can’t do anything and that day won’t be every day there were days where i just wasn’t able

To train the way i wanted to and i couldn’t run or if even if i could only run for five minutes i thought that’s better than no minutes you know and as a high level athlete most athletes can run longer than five minutes but if that’s

All i had that day i said it’ll all add up if i can do five minutes today and 10 minutes tomorrow even the next day it’s no minutes it’ll all add up so think about the things you can accomplish and instead of what you can accomplish and that’s what i started telling myself

Just think about the things you can accomplish and don’t be afraid of what you can’t and that started to help me to see the glass as half full instead of half empty or completely dry autoimmune diseases are characterized by flare-ups so you can go through periods where you feel okay and also

And then you can go through periods where you have a flare-up where suddenly your symptoms come on like gangbusters and you’re feeling awful so obviously how to know when you have a flare-up you’re going to actually feel bad so unfortunately that’s the only way to describe it that you aren’t going to be

Feeling your best and you’re going to feel a marked difference between how you feel on the baseline level and then how you feel at that point so a flare-up can mean like intense joint pain a flare-up can mean intense fatigue and depending on the autoimmune disease it can have different

Symptoms so that’s why it’s important to know exactly what your your category is or if you’re dealing with obviously other chronic illnesses too then you need to talk to your doctor now sometimes your baseline level can also not always be great as well so you’ve got to pay attention to

How you’re feeling and you know what that is so that way you can communicate that with your doctors and that way you can be able to tell them how you’re feeling on a baseline level and then when you’re having a flare-up so everyone’s life is affected in different ways with autoimmune

Diseases for me my life was affected that it really obviously affected my work and my profession i wasn’t able to play tennis anymore and even before i was able to i had to completely stop and i was out of the game for maybe nine months i also

You know had challenges playing my best tennis and i didn’t know why so of course that was frustrating especially when you have a high expectation of yourself really high standards and you aren’t able to meet those that can be very challenging and frustrating so of course how it affects

You first of all is very frustrating especially when you experience the are experiencing limits and you can’t do everything that you wanted to do before um also i had to learn how to pace myself so that was important my life doesn’t involve a lot of pacing but you know there are certain things

That i have to do i really should get sleep i’ve learned how to like not read emails at night just don’t read them you know read them in the morning so i’ve made like some different rules for myself to hopefully help my stress level and um i don’t think i follow those

Rules the way i should but i’m working on it uh what else um especially in the beginning i really had to learn how to to rest i think there were points where would just push myself so much i would literally crash and couldn’t get up you

Know like i literally couldn’t get up so i had to learn how to stop doing that and stop getting to the crash so that way i didn’t reach the point where you know i couldn’t get out of bed so i think there’s there’s certain people obviously

You can have so much joint pain that you it’s very difficult to dress yourself so those are challenges that as an adult you want to be able to dress yourself those are simple things that we take for granted in life some people experience so much fatigue that things like dressing themselves is

Very difficult and that could be a very challenging thing but of course we focus on the things we accomplish and not only things that we can another thing that people with chronic illness or autoimmune diseases deal with is that you look fine look at me i look

Like the perfect picture of how you would not look at me and say that woman has an autoimmune disease so i think a challenge that people deal with all the time is you look fine you must not be sick and you’re going to deal with some people who are just aren’t able to

Understand what you’re going through but what’s important to understand is that you don’t need everyone to understand it’s important hopefully for your close family and for your family members to support you that’s extremely important if you aren’t getting that support you’re going to have to go to those close people in your

Family or family members who do support you and that’s extremely important because living living with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness you look fine but you aren’t fine so this was a really special moment for me to share with you some of my life experiences with autoimmune disease and chronic illness

And of course i’d love your comments below because i’d like to know other ways that i can help you get through this journey if you’re dealing with it or if someone that is in your life is dealing with it or someone that you love please let me know because i want to be

Able to provide content that is really empowering for you of course you can check out the sjogren’s syndrome foundation and put the link down the bio and also a link to a few other associations that can definitely help you get through this and be maybe a starting point for your journey if this

Is a start for you so obviously i hope you are well if you are not well i hope that you are able to deal with it and be able to get the help that you need i hope this will help and i love you guys and i’ll see you next week and

Please please please take [Applause] you

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