Tennis nice Caroline Wozniacki received 30 skilled titles and held the No. 1 rating on the planet for over 70 weeks from 2010 to 2011. In 2018, after returning to the No. 1 spot, 28-year-old Wozniacki was recognized with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune situation that causes ache, swelling, and stiffness in our joints. She is now serving to others with RA by sharing her story and inspiring them to do the identical.
Wozniacki, proper, shakes fingers after a match with Naomi Osaka on the China Open in 2019.
When did you first discover signs of RA?
In 2018, I began not feeling my finest. I had joint ache that moved round from my fingers and toes to my elbows and knees. I felt exhausted and run down. My voice bought raspy though I did not have a chilly. I chalked it as much as being exhausted, pushed via it, and stored enjoying tennis. After the match in Montreal [at the Rogers Cup] in August of that yr, I awoke and advised my now husband that I actually could not transfer. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I could not brush my tooth or raise my arms. It was a scary and horrible feeling.
Had been you recognized straight away or did it take some time?
Getting a analysis was irritating. I noticed quite a few medical doctors, however they could not discover an issue. They stated possibly it was in my head or that possibly I used to be out of form. However I knew there was one thing actually incorrect. I would not cease pushing till I bought solutions. Fortunately, I lastly discovered a health care provider who took me severely and actually listened to me. He did additional blood checks, which prompt that I had an autoimmune illness. So, he referred me to a superb rheumatologist, who recognized me with rheumatoid arthritis in October of 2018. She put collectively a remedy plan with me and we began the journey to get higher then and there.
How did you react once you bought the analysis?
I bear in mind sitting on the physician’s workplace and considering: Wait, is not arthritis for previous folks? This cannot be occurring to me. I used to be the No. 1 or 2 ranked tennis participant on the planet. I used to be on the high of my sport. I did not perceive. However on the similar time, I used to be relieved it wasn’t one thing worse. After the preliminary concern had handed, I mechanically shifted to specializing in what I wanted to do to get higher.
How are you feeling now?
Most days I really feel nice, which is superior. There are additionally some days that I get up with signs. For me it’s all about accepting that that is the “new me.” I give myself the possibility to simply take it simple and never overdo it. I’m additionally fortunate to have a really supportive household. The onerous half about RA is the truth that you may’t see it. If you’re not feeling properly, it is not like you’ve a damaged arm or a solid. It was an adjustment for my household to actually pay attention and know the place I used to be coming from with my RA. I am grateful to my household for being understanding and serving to me get higher.
Wozniacki celebrates after her win on the 2020 Australian Open.
What do you do to manage stress and keep wholesome with RA?
What has been actually useful is to write down down what makes me really feel good and what makes me really feel unhealthy. So, for instance, I’ll write down what I ate the day earlier than and the way it made me really feel the subsequent day. This helps me to know what would possibly set off a flare-up of my arthritis. Not being on the street as a lot [traveling for tennis tournaments] has made it simpler for me to eat even more healthy meals. I eat extra of an anti-inflammatory eating regimen now. I eat numerous greens, have minimize out actually fatty and greasy meals, and diminished the quantity of purple meat I eat. Touring much less has additionally helped me scale back stress. I am very a lot a go-go-go particular person with every thing going 100 miles an hour. I’ve realized it’s OK to take a deep breath, benefit from the second, and take it simple typically.
What recommendation do you’ve for others who’re confronting the situation?
Get as a lot data as attainable. Discover a health care provider you are feeling comfy with and set a sport plan that works for you individually. I say that as a result of with RA what might be just right for you or me might not work for one more particular person. With the fitting care, you may actually get your life again and really feel higher. I additionally discover that listening to others’ tales and sharing mine actually helps. That is why I bought began with the AdvantageHers marketing campaign for ladies with autoimmune situations to share their tales.* We are able to all get via this collectively as one crew and one neighborhood.
You climbed Mount Kilimanjaro final yr with your loved ones. How did it really feel to perform that with RA?
That was an unbelievable expertise and has been on my bucket listing for a very long time. Attending to do it with my household was very particular. It was so tough. We climbed for seven days and had been all exhausted, however as soon as we bought to the highest, it felt so rewarding. It was an unbelievable factor to have the ability to do. I’ll bear in mind it for the remainder of my life.
What’s subsequent for Caroline Wozniacki?
Tennis has been such an enormous a part of my life. I wish to preserve it in my life in a roundabout way, which may imply doing one thing like TV commentary sooner or later. I additionally hope to maintain touring the world with my household!
* The Nationwide Institutes of Well being was not concerned within the creation of the undertaking, and reference to it doesn’t represent or suggest endorsement by any federal company.