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Iron Will Megan Norosky

Iron Will Award Candidate:

Megan Norosky

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Megan Norosky's Submission:

My name is Megan Norosky. In March 2008, I began experiencing swelling in my hands and wrists. I was experiencing extreme pain and had lost significant dexterity. By June 2008, the pain, stiffness and swelling, had spread to every joint in my body. In the summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at only 27 years old.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that results in systemic inflammation which primarily attacks flexible joints and may affect tissues and organs. It causes limited joint mobility and function, painful stiffness and swelling, and can result in bone erosion and joint deformity; the signs and symptoms can vary in severity and often come and go. There is no cure, but treatments can improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

After my diagnosis, the debilitating pain, stiffness and swelling had affected my body to a point where I was unable to perform the simplest everyday tasks. Some days it was all I could do to move to stand up out of my bed. On top of the pain, swelling, and stiffness, I was experiencing extreme loss of energy, and fatigue. My doctors prescribed several medications in attempt to assist in relief of the disease, many of which had horrible side effects. In October 2008, I attempted to go back to work for just an hour a day, two days a week, as that was all I was able to manage. It took months of restricted work duties and hours, but by August 2009, I returned to work full-time.

My doctors have been wonderful throughout this experience, encouraging me to keep active. On days where I could barely get out of bed, I would push myself to walk, even for just 10 minutes, as I recognized the importance of physical activity in order to manage the disease. The first day I attempted to go to the gym after my diagnosis, I attempted to shoulder press a 5lb weight, I couldn’t do it, I was in tears.

I began attending the gym regularly two years ago; I loved how good it made me feel. As a result of the disease, I have deterioration in my wrist but this obviously hasn’t stopped me. Despite a lack of flexibility in certain joints, I have been able to get where I am today through use of straps, wrist supports, and modifying exercises.

My determination and perseverance has brought me to the MABBA 2014 stage; not to mention the immense support, understanding, encouragement and love from the most amazing family and friends anyone could ask for and the person that has been my trainer, my sounding board and my mentor throughout this entire experience, Katie from Fit-Fire Fitness. Six years ago, I never could have imagined I would be standing on the stage competing. This experience has made me feel as though I have overcome the illness and that anything is possible when you fight and put your mind to it.

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