In 2014, Terri Miller’s life changed forever when she started experiencing pain in her hands. She began visiting the doctor routinely in hopes of figuring out the cause.
“My pain and swollen joints moved to my elbows and ankles,” remembers Terri. “The pain, swelling and fatigue caused me to have to quit several of my favorite pastimes, including running, cardio classes and bootcamp classes.”
After multiple visits and abnormal blood work, Terri was referred to a rheumatologist in the fall of 2015. Her official rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis came soon after, and she began aggressive treatment.
“The diagnosis definitely changed me,” says Terri. “I used to be an avid runner at lunch time and participated in many half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. I was struggling to move around. The diagnosis also impacted my family because I was always a mom on the go, and I was having trouble keeping up!”
Finding the right medication is a trial and error process. In the past two years, Terri has been on several disease-modifying drugs, methotrexate and two biologic medications.
“I had no idea my life would revolve around taking medications with potential serious side effects and adapting to a different lifestyle,” says Terri. “I am still working to find the right medication combination, but I finally think I am on the right path. RA may slow me down, but it does not stop me.”
Terri now practices yoga to help with her strength and flexibility and is an avid walker. “The yoga has helped me gain more flexibility in my joints. Combined with the walking, I feel like I can exercise again and it makes my heart happy,” says Terri. “Even if I feel bad, after a walk or yoga, I always feel better.”
Terri has been participating in the Walk to Cure Arthritis since 2015, and last year, she participated in the Jingle Bell Run for the first time. Additionally, in 2016, Terri provided testimony to the Indiana Insurance House Committee in support of IN SB 41, a step-therapy bill.
“RA may stink, but I am not going to let it bring me down,” says Terri. “My hope is to turn the negativity of RA into a positive one through teaching, advocacy and philanthropy. I want to also help others that have this disease and spread awareness!”
Terri’s positive attitude and willingness to help others are just a few reasons why the Arthritis Foundation was thrilled to recognize her as the 2017Jingle Bell Run Indy Adult Honoree.