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Aug 24
My Advantage Hers Story – Caroline Wozniacki

I wanted to write this blog to tell you all a little bit more about my RA journey. I was diagnosed in 2018 (which was a total shock to me) and I’ve learned so much about it and other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as axial spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, since then.

After Wimbledon in the summer of 2018, I felt like I had been hit by a bad case of the flu. I even pulled out of playing matches because of it. My knuckles were sore, and I just felt lousy.

A real ‘hitting home’ moment was waking up in bed and telling my boyfriend (now husband) David that I couldn’t move. I physically couldn’t move. He had to help me out of bed and carry me to the car that day. Even then, I don’t think my family understood just what I was going through.

After that, I went to see some doctors. I was told I was out of shape, may be pregnant, and depressed! To be told as one of the highest ranked tennis players in the world, at the peak of my career, that I could be out of shape was astounding.

I was so upset, and angry that no one believed me when I knew my body better than anyone. After some hard moments like that though, I did finally, with the support of my wonderful husband, find an amazing rheumatologist who diagnosed me with RA.

After going public with my diagnosis, the best thing that could have happened was the online support from women who were going through something similar. I don’t know what I would have done without that support. A lot of people in my world didn’t really understand what I was experiencing; so, to have women reach out and being able to relate to them was so great. It’s why I want to give back to this amazing community and work with others on gaining advantage over their condition; one small victory at a time.

One of my biggest takeaways being diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory disease is that it is so important to find and work with a healthcare team that listens to me and my goals. When I was first diagnosed, there were a lot of unknowns. I did not know the impact that RA would have on my body, my mental health, my relationships, and my dreams of motherhood.

Timing really is a funny thing. Like I said, I was at the peak of my tennis career and in the best physical shape of my life when I received my diagnosis. You can have everything planned out in your head, but the reality is that once you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory disease, you need to seek support and guidance from a specialist to help you map out your next move, which is exactly what my rheumatologist and I did together.

When I first announced my retirement in 2020, there was speculation that this decision was influenced by my RA – which is not the case. I had other goals that I wanted to focus my energy on at that time, (school, starting a family, etc.) but my passion for tennis never lessened during that time.

Today, I am a mom of two and I’m coming out of retirement to play tennis professionally once again! I went from sleeping almost 20 hours a day, and not having any energy at all to running around after my kids to hitting the ball the best I ever have. And I think there's hope for everyone.

Follow my journey of living with RA, juggling motherhood and my return to tennis – and share your stories on my social channels, and visit AdvantageHers.com for more information on chronic inflammatory diseases.

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