When I first noticed painful inflammation in my joints, I resisted the idea that something serious could be wrong. Instead, I turned to alternative and complementary practitioners, fearing the use of pharmaceutical solutions. In my mind, medications were seen as "big bad meds" that came with high costs, dependency, and side effects. Little did I know then that medications could play a crucial role in managing symptoms and preventing disease progression in chronic illnesses.


Living with a chronic illness such as diabetes, cardiac disease, or auto-immune disease often requires a long-term commitment to various treatment options, including medications. It took me time to accept this reality and find a balance between medications and other supportive approaches. However, I soon realized that striking this balance was essential for improving my quality of life and effectively managing the challenges that come with chronic illness.


Upon being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I found myself emotionally challenged, disoriented, and overwhelmed by the complexities of my condition. It triggered feelings of fear, a lack of control, and a sense of loss. It was during this time that I understood the importance of finding a care provider who would not only listen to my symptoms but also to my story, dreams, and goals.


Build Your Team


I was fortunate to find a physician who gave me hope and gradually earned my trust through their recommendations. They patiently answered my questions and helped me weigh the benefits and risks of different treatment options. With their guidance, I gained a better perspective on the possible side effects of medications, allowing me to embrace the recommended treatment and move forward.


While accepting the long-term nature of medications can be challenging, they play a crucial role in alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and addressing imbalances. Biologic medications, often portrayed with scary and negative side effects in magazine and television ads, have shown to significantly improve the lives of many individuals. In truth, the risks associated with untreated disease far outweigh the risks of medication.


When I learned that self-injections would be a regular part of my treatment, I was initially horrified. However, with the support of my care team, I learned strategies to minimize the discomfort and accomplish what I once thought was impossible.


A new diagnosis can often bring feelings of isolation. To combat this, I found it helpful to build a support team that included an acupuncturist, nutritionist, and physical therapist. I also sought solace in support groups and online communities, where individuals with chronic illnesses could share experiences, resources, and a sense of belonging.


Consider a Coach


Having a health coach by your side can make all the difference when facing the challenges of chronic illness. Health coaches provide a safe and non-judgmental space to explore and broaden our perspectives, dreams, goals, and values. They help us navigate beyond the scope of chronic illness and develop a whole-life approach. With their support, we can address personal barriers, express concerns and emotions, and make informed choices to keep ourselves safe in an ever-changing world.


In health coaching, the client is the expert on their own life. A coach becomes a partner in developing personalized strategies, fostering a positive mindset, and setting achievable goals. With a tailored approach, coaches focus on improving overall health for individuals managing multiple complex conditions. Each person has unique needs and circumstances, deserving ongoing support that builds on their strengths and resources.


By practicing self-care activities, such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management, we enhance our resilience and take charge of our future. For my peace of mind, I have developed a breathing and visualization routine, envisioning my medications bringing my immune system and body into balance.


A new diagnosis often leads to a profound sense of loss as we grapple with the change in our identity as healthy individuals. Coaches are there to acknowledge, name, and process this loss with us. They help us reframe our view of ourselves, even in the face of failure or adversity. Through a whole-health approach encompassing mind, body, and spirit, we can build a strong and resilient identity, even in the most challenging circumstances.




Now, twenty-five years into my journey with rheumatoid arthritis, I utilize a range of strategies to support my health, alongside a clear understanding of the importance and role of my medications. As I visualize my body in balance, I am grateful for the power of medications that have allowed me to lead a full and active life.


Accepting and embracing treatment is not giving in to illness; it is taking charge of our overall well-being. If you are struggling with a chronic illness, I invite you to join me on a journey toward acceptance and balance as we work together to achieve health and wellness.

host image

by Wendy Williams

Life, Loss & Wellbeing Coach
I became a health and wellness coach so that I could help others navigate the challenges of chronic illness, caregiving, loss, and life transitions. Following a successful career as a professional orchestral musician, coaching musicians on audition preparation and peak performance for more than 30 years, I transitioned to a coaching practice where I partner with clients to weave together their strengths and resilience. From my own experience being the primary caregiver for my mother, traversing a divorce, and living well with rheumatoid arthritis, I gained a passion for supporting clients with compassion and empathy. I am also passionate about helping clients develop lasting and supportive connections and friendships. Through my own recovery as a member of a family with alcoholism, I learned the wisdom of healthy boundaries and self-care. After training with the Mayo Clinic, I became board-certified through the NBHWC and studied further through UW-Madison for certifications in grief, loss, and motivational interviewing. I have chosen the field of coaching because of the powerful process and partnership it provides to clients. It is a dynamic collaboration that empowers positive changes and respects the client as the expert in their own life. I look forward to partnering with you on your journey to balance, meaning, and wellness! “My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue, an everlasting vision of the ever-changing view.” — Carole King
Visit expert profile

About Vibly

We aim to bridge the gap between people seeking guidance and experts who can help them achieve their personal goals. We envision a world where people can learn and grow together, to reach their full potential and achieve a positive transformation in their lives.

Access to exceptional coaches that offer expert guidance and support to achieve your goals has never been easier.