Wendy Sue Polonsky, 63

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Scleroderma has affected Wendy Sue Polonsky’s life in more ways than one. But, one way in particular has proved to be especially challenging.

“I had to adjust to putting my needs first,” she said. “That’s something I had never done before.”

Diagnosed with systemic sclerosis in November 2018, Wendy was facing a constant fear of the future. Suddenly, everything seemed uncertain, which made fighting this disease a full-time job. (In addition to her actual full-time job.)

From tests to treatments, Wendy has now met more medical professionals than most. In addition to her primary care doctors, a physical therapist helps heal her muscles. An acupuncturist and reiki specialist support her mind, body and spirit. A nutritionist changed her diet, eliminating inflammatory foods. And medications from all of the above have to be taken at just the right moment. (She even had a port put in – a compromise after her skin got so tight, needles were almost breaking in her arm.)

Through it all, Wendy has learned how to become her own biggest advocate – trusting her ability to do the research, ask the right questions and assemble a team of experts. Determined to overcome every obstacle, she prides herself on gathering the support she needs – turning to family, friends and coworkers… along with the close-knit community of scleroderma survivors (and thrivers).