I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for many years. As one would expect, having an autoimmune deficiency during a worldwide pandemic caused my mind and body to experience additional stress.  

Throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I focused on socially distancing and staying as safe as possible. Since I work at an elementary school, safety mitigation ranked as a top priority. I am a firm believer in listening to one’s body when it says it needs rest and in being proactive with your healthcare when something feels off.   

As such, I took action and accessed the PriorityOne Health Center operated by Marathon Health, which I am eligible to use as an employee of Shawnee Mission School District. I have met both in person and virtually with Dr. Shalaunda Gray and Dr. Tyler Thomas to manage my rheumatoid arthritis and work on reducing stress.  

Everyone at the PriorityOne Health Center is always helpful and kind. Each team member, including the nurses, call you by name and wants to help with any health issue.  

Finding what works for me was critical — being on the right meds is so important. I started doing yoga regularly to help with stress. My stress makes it hard to get high-quality sleep, which triggers rheumatoid arthritis flareups.  

Today, my lab results show things at normal levels, and my rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid medicine work well. I also received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the health center, which has helped to eliminate some stress. I am on my way to better health!