WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) – Sandy Guerriere once suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis, a debilitating disease that left her joints so inflamed she was bedridden for three years.
After an extensive amount of research and a dramatic lifestyle change, she is now able to take daily walks on the beach and has become an advocate for those suffering from the same disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease which causes pain, stiffness and inflammation in all joints of the body. It's a wonder she's able to take a stroll on Wrightsville Beach after being diagnosed twelve years ago.
Her doctor had warned her that if she did not take medication for RA, she would wind up in a wheelchair. That's when Guerriere decided that she was going to fight back. She began extensive research into the disease and eventually discontinued all medicines and discovered food items that brought on extensive pain. It was a move that changed her life.
"I changed my diet completely to the things I knew were healthy for me, I quit all medications that the doctor had given me," said Guerriere. "I weaned off of things that were addictive and to date, I am medication free and listen to my body. That is one thing that I've learned."
And while Guerriere has benefited from listening to her own body and has now mostly controlled her pain, it may not work for all patients. They should consult their physicians before deciding to discontinue their medication and starting something new.
These days, when Guerriere is not out walking, she is on her computer, writing a book about what she has been through and counseling others with her blog on ways she has battled RA. She use to be a makeup artist, but is now a writer, featured with an article in Arthritis Today magazine and on the front cover of the April issue.
So for her work in helping others around the country with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sandy Guerriere has been named this month's Cape Fear Hero, which includes a $500 gift certificate from Reed's Jewelers.