Lori Pierce was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at age 19 with an extremely high TSH of 135 and feeling utterly and completely exhausted.
However, that wasn’t going to be the end of her experience with chronic illness.
A few years later, she began experiencing pain in her fingers from the first symptoms of what would be diagnosed as Raynaud’s disease, including thickening of the skin on her fingers and swelling or “sausage fingers” that turned out to be Scleroderma. Quite a lot to deal with at only 25 years old.
Scleroderma an autoimmune condition that attacks the connective tissue of the body and almost every part of the body is made up of connective tissue. Scleroderma affects everyone differently, it can be in the joints and organs and in some cases, need surgery to remove parts of the body that have been scarred or too badly damaged to remain intact.
Scleroderma meant that Lori needed an amputation on her left hand index finger after it curled under and could not be straightened and dealt with this in an immanently practical way, seeing it as a way to give her back functionality in her hand that had been stuck in a curled position and rendered pretty useless.
She calls her amputated fingers her “stubby nubbins” and is grateful for the renewed ability that she now has with her hands and the functionality that they have.
At one point, Lori developed interstitial lung disease and her Doctor was very concerned that she would not survive and thought she may only have 12 months to live. But even with that diagnosis and being on 23 different medications, Lori was absolutely determined to figure out how to “get around the problem” and get things done.
Lori has made adaptations to her life that meant she had to give up the version of who she thought she was going to be to find out who she could be now, but through it all, Lori feels that the illnesses she lives with have connected her to her life’s purpose.
She believes that her life is still good and beautiful and she uses her platform to help and inspire others living with scleroderma to not give up and understand that there is so much that you can do to help yourself.
Lori is very involved with the Scleroderma community and telling her experiences of living with the many challenges of Scleroderma warts and all. She doesn’t sugar coat it and her honesty and determination are both inspiring and very real and raw.
Lori now lives in her dream home in Florida, an 8 acre property surrounded by woods and nature with her collection of horses, a mule, dogs and cats that she adores.
At 41 Lori is busier than ever, helping teach Yoga for Scleroderma with Kathy Randolph and sharing her own experiences on her Facebook page Scleroderma Scoop and you can also find her on Instagram as well.
When she is not doing that, or working the full-time job that is managing her health and wellness, Lori enjoys working with her animals, spending time in nature, making fused glass projects, dabbling in various arts and crafts, writing, traveling, and road trips in her Jeep.
I think that you will love the honesty with which Lori shares her story, not just her struggles but her triumphs as well and she certainly has so much to be proud of.
If you have Scleroderma or know anyone who does, then this is a must listen and must share and even if you don’t, so much of what Lori has to say applies to anyone living with chronic illness.
Have a listen on the blog using the podcast player here or find it on Apple/iTunes or most popular podcast players and if you enjoyed the episode, I would love you leave us a review on iTunes.