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Turning Pain into Power: Annmarie Entner's Approach to Life Beyond Autoimmune Disease



Annmarie Entner specializes in working with women with a debilitating autoimmune disease. Annmarie was inspired to begin her coaching practice after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and learning how to thrive with a diagnosis. She's on a mission to help other women who are facing the challenges both physically and mentally of an autoimmune disease to live their fullest and be happy in every area of life.

 

Listen to the full episode here.

 

LINKS

 

ON THIS EPISODE

[00:01:13] Annmarie Entner on her journey with rheumatoid arthritis

[00:03:27] Annmarie Entner on what she’s most passionate about

[00:04:40] Annmarie Entner on her childhood

[00:12:04] Annmarie Entner on how not dealing with trauma impacted her life

[00:13:25] Annmarie Entner on the medical impact of trauma and the medical system

[00:17:53] Annmarie Entner on what she brings to her clients as someone living with rheumatoid arthritis

[00:22:32] Annmarie Entner on finding purpose through her diagnosis

[00:24:42] Annmarie Entner on her husband, who is her daily caregiver

[00:29:51] Annmarie Entner on staying positive

[00:33:52] Annmarie Entner on her tips for women with autoimmune diseases

[00:36:16] Annmarie Entner on how we can be better advocates

[00:37:40] Annmarie Entner on her 10 tips that she offers on her website

[00:39:32] Annmarie Entner on how she can found online

[00:41:34] Annmarie Entner on not having role models until later in life

[00:42:43] Annmarie Entner on her daughter

[00:45:36] Annmarie Entner on what she wishes women knew

[00:47:43] Annmarie Entner on her granddaughters

[00:51:18] Annmarie Entner on her secret to a rewarding life

[00:52:38] Annmarie Entner on learning to become vocal

[00:53:50] Annmarie Entner on the mantra she lives by

[00:55:15] Annmarie Entner on her dream for her future

[00:56:13] Annmarie Entner on her dream for women

[00:57:24] Annmarie Entner on Julie DeLucca-Collins

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

 

Passionistas: Hi, everyone. We're sisters, Amy and Nancy Harrington, the founders of The Passionistas Project. We've created an inclusive sisterhood where passion driven women come to get support, find their purpose, and feel empowered to transform their lives and change the world. On every episode, we discuss the unique ways in which each woman is following her passions, talk about how she defines success, and explore her paths to breaking down the barriers that women too often face.

 

Today, we're talking with Annmarie Entner. Who specializes in working with women with a debilitating autoimmune disease. Annmarie was inspired to begin her coaching practice after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and learning how to thrive with a diagnosis. She's on a mission to help other women who are facing the challenges both physically and mentally of an autoimmune disease to live their fullest and be happy in every area of life.

 

If you're joining us live here today, please feel free to drop a comment in the chat and we'll do our best to have Annmarie answer them. Now, please welcome Annmarie Entner.

 

We're so glad to have you here today.

 

Annmarie: Oh, me too. Thank you Nancy and Amy. I'm so grateful to be here and spread my message, right?

 

Passionistas: That's right.

 

Annmarie: RA has been quite the journey for me, um, undiagnosed for quite a few years before I was diagnosed and, uh, I guess for me it started out as I was getting healthy and, uh, for a couple of years, I was taking up running and doing all kinds of outside activities and I grew up with the attitude of, Sock it up, buttercup.

 

You know, if you're in pain, right? Yeah. I tend to think that's our generation, right? You know, our, our moms were like, just get on it. You know, no pain, no gain. That too. Um, and my foot went numb, which has started the journey of me actually finding out what was happening to me. Um, I thought I had over exercised my foot training for a half marathon and it was really just a nodule.

 

And I know I just say just, but that's. Um, usually when you have a nodule of the size that I've had, you've been, you've had it for quite some time. And my doctors say that I've probably had it close to 10 years before I got the diagnosis. Um, and that was scary, you know, the being alone and, and not knowing where to go to.

 

I mean, um, and I have supports, so I don't even imagine, I can't even imagine for the women. That don't have the support system that I have. You know, my husband's in the medical field. Um, I, I found out by a pathology report, cause I had surgery on my foot and they were like, Hey, it's just the nodule. And I went from zero to a million thinking I was going to be crippled.

 

And that's the mentality of how our minds just take control of ourselves. Um, way, um, we get to stop, we get to pause. And Today, like I said, I'm on this mission to help women, just middle aged women that are alone and don't know where to go from. I was blessed, and a lot of us aren't blessed to have that support system. Yeah, it's true. It's difficult.

 

Passionistas: You may just have answered this, but, um, what are you most passionate about right now in your life?

 

Annmarie: Oh, I guess living. Just living. Um, enjoying everything that life has to offer. Whether it's painful or not, I get to decide if I get to do it or not. Um, my grandchildren bring me the biggest joy and they actually push me to live the furthest.

 

Um, a few weeks ago, I went to a trampoline park, you know, I'm 56 years and, you know, thinking what am I doing, but we're going, uh, start off very gently. And by the time I left, I was jumping high and feeling really proud of myself. Um. And that's pushing yourself to live, to do just the little things. I mean, they were just happy I was jumping.

 

Uh, I was happy I was doing a lot more. As my husband just took lots of bribe videos to show the family. That's fantastic. I love that. I love to see the videos.

 

Passionistas: I've always wanted to go to a trampoline park.

 

Annmarie: Oh, it was a lot of fun.

 

Passionistas: So let's take a step back. You mentioned your mom, and how you were raised, but tell us a little bit more about where you grew up, what your childhood was like.

 

Annmarie: So I grew up in, uh, I grew up in Brentwood, New York, uh, for the first 16 years of my life. And I know, I do believe that somewhere along my path, trauma probably triggered this. Um, I'm just on this journey now of figuring out where that fits in. Um, I had grown up in a, in a household that had, you know, alcohol issues.

 

Um, it's not my place to call them what I think they are. But, you know, um, there was some issues. And in my, in my freshman year of high school, they called it junior high back then. It was seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. Um, We had a school shooting in my school and yeah, and I remember thinking like, wow, this sucks.

 

And today we all deal with it differently. Um, so I had lots of multiple traumas happen in my life. So coming from that, and again, that suck it up buttercup thing, you know, you just move forward. We didn't deal with the drinking. We didn't deal with the, you know, um, the, what happened in the school and the school shooting.

 

I mean, great. But thank God, you know, nobody was. And, um, and then, you know, I skated real life. I got involved in just being active, um, and, um. And played sports. I played a lot of sports. Um, I was a tomboy. Um, if a boy was gonna tell me you couldn't play, I was gonna be better than him. Um, and I was 90 percent of the time.

 

Um, and I was very proud of that, that I was a very strong girl. Um, because of that suck it up buttercup, I think. Uh, but I didn't have the coping skills until I got older. And it wasn't until I was diagnosed that I realized I needed to hone that crap in. I needed to learn how to. How to cope. Um, but yeah, growing up in a traumatic life, uh, I do believe has a lot to play with it.

 

I haven't figured it out. I'm just starting to write my story on that and go public with it. Um, I'm sure a few families know about it. Um, it's not my place to please anymore. It's more about pleasing myself and letting other women of my age that don't talk about their traumas, you know, of. You know, my, what I'm talking about now is, um, at 20, I was jumped at a friend's house with friends, um, these three guys jumped in my room and I remember nothing and I blocked out a lot and, and trauma after trauma after trauma.

 

And here I am 56, learning how to cope, you know, um, I'm happy that I figured some of it out. And if I get to teach and work with women. Because they want to find a better way. It's immeasurable for me. Um, I didn't have that. Um, I didn't have that a woman support system I do today. I'm very grateful to be here because this is kind of where I'm finding a lot of my support.

 

Um, you know, my husband's great. My daughter's great. Um, but there's no outside support where you can just verbally vomit the crap and not have the judgment, you know, um, I'm into non-judgment and helping them, I guess helping women realize that we get to write it down and say it and not be ashamed. Um, there's a lot of stigmas that go along with a chronic disease.

 

There's a lot of stigmas that go along with trauma. There's a lot of stigmas with a lot of things. And I don't wanna be a stigma. I don't wanna be left behind. Um, and I believe there's so much more out there. And if I could just make a tiny bit, a tiny bit of a difference. To me, that's huge.

 

Passionistas: Well, you are doing that. You already have done that. So you can tick that off your to do list and then whatever happens from here on out.

 

Annmarie: I still think, I still think I've got more to do. I do know that, uh, full circle happens. Um, I know we have spoken before. Um, grief. I think that was another thing that you and I talked about. Um, grief.

 

I lost my mother in, in July. The COPD, which is a chronic disease. Of course, it was more of a disease that she gave herself, but, um, it was still a chronic disease and to watch my mother through the process of not dealing, you could see how the generational continues. You know? Um, I have my granddaughters and I try to teach them, like, Hey, listen, you got something to say, say it.

 

It's here, and we work on it, um, or if you don't, I can get you somewhere to go to talk to, um, but the grief, uh, I was not prepared for when you get diagnosed, or even the grief of my past, you know. That was huge, just to even tap into that. Especially now that I'm telling this story. I could cry. I'm a crier.

 

Passionistas: You can go right ahead, I'll probably join you.

 

Annmarie: I try not to fully let it loose, but I'm a crier. And you know, a lot of us don't let it out. I know with working with women and when they get that diagnosis of RA, the fear that comes into our lives is so, it's heavy and all we're told, told is, you know, you got to move forward.

 

I believe what, what I'm teaching women is we get to feel our feelings and realize what an act that it is to feel those feelings to move forward. Um, because so many years I didn't feel my feelings. Um. I don't know. It's, we're all different. I know that much, but I do know as someone that's been diagnosed and had so many different traumas in her life and kept it so heavy and so pounded down that the first time I released it, it was so good.

 

It was so, so good. And I was in a safe space and it wasn't with a therapist. It wasn't, you know, it was with a coach, um, where I just let it all come out. And. We didn't go back to the traumas of what happened. You know, I knew what happened. I understood what happened. I went to therapy for all of it. Um, but I still didn't know how to cope. And that's the, what I find with a lot of us that are diagnosed, we don't know how to cope with the feelings that come to us. I mean, I, I see it every day.

 

Passionistas: Yeah. Well, let me, let me take a step back. Let me ask you this. What do you think, How do you think not dealing with your trauma impacted your life, and what was that moment when you finally realized that you needed to come to terms with it?

 

Annmarie: Because it was eating at me, and I believe that, It's staying in my gut where they say, you know, all these doctors believe that it all starts, these autoimmune diseases start in your gut, right? And we all hold everything in. And where are we holding it? We're holding it in our gut. Um, once I let it out, I didn't have so many pains and aches and that were debilitating.

 

Um, they were there. They just weren't. Heavy anymore. Mm-Hmm, . And my stomach didn't feel the, the knot that I constantly walked around with or waiting for the other shoe to drop because, you know, that's what happens in life. Um, but it doesn't have to be like that. 'cause we get to change that. We get to change those thoughts.

 

We get to change our actions when we feel that way. And with the gut being such, the, the mind and the gut together, it's, it, it hurts. It hurts us, you know, and it meets in our heart and it's just very toxic.

 

Passionistas: So does the medical community, um, like, understand that correlation or is that a sense of frustration? Are they just sort of treating the symptoms and not the cause?

 

Annmarie: So it's funny you should say that. I'm going to speak with my primary doctor, um, and I was talking to her and I said, you know, with how doctoring, I'm going to call it doctoring, is today, um, they only have 15 minutes with us. And back in the day, they would give us the hour or 45 minutes and they could treat us as a whole.

 

They are just treating our, treating our symptoms and they know that it's just not the symptoms that are getting us. They know that there's a mental aspect, an emotional aspect part that needs to also be, um, managed for a better, for a better word to use because we are the only ones that can manage our feelings and our emotions.

 

But, um, they don't have the time. They don't have the bandwidth. They, you know, they can say, hey, you can go to a doc, you can go and see a therapist. Well, you know, I'm, I love therapy. I think therapy is for everybody, but I'm going to go to a therapist and they're, they're not going to get to the root core.

 

They're not going to get to the, the fear of this is what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of that in five years, my drugs aren't going to work. And what do I do next? You know, the doctors are all like, well, we can always prescribe you another one, which they've got tons of them, but they're not dealing with the mental and the emotional part of it all because they can't.

 

Not that they don't want to. I know that for a fact, they just, they don't have the bandwidth. And with coaching, they have another tool, another tool to reach out to, um, no different, but then belonging to a trauma. A trauma coaching group or, you know, or a business group or, or The Passionistas. You know, you have a, you know, a place to go.

 

I think it's very important that we, we welcome everyone in when they're struggling like that. And the doctors are now seeing the importance of guiding them to coaching because therapy is for a lot of other things. For me, I should say it was a lot of other things for me. Um, I did a lot of work on that.

 

And I didn't know how to move forward. So for coaching for me was how to move forward and how to be future focused and how to take journaling to a whole nother level. You know, um, there's nothing better than writing what's in your gut on a piece of paper hand. I mean, I could type like everybody else, but when you physically are writing, it's your head, your heart, your stomach on a piece of paper, and there's no crossing off.

 

And you get to see, um, what your facts are, you know, you get to see what the fact of what's really, really getting you, um, yes, I've had trauma, yes, I have RA, you know, yes, my, my medications will change, but it doesn't change the feelings that I have for all of this, and the doctors can help you with that, you know, and I get to do that.

 

I get to help them find their path, because there's so many people on the internet, and Facebook is a big one. That, um, everybody wants to tell you what to do, opposed to helping you what to do. Um, I want to help them. I want to help them find their path, their journey. Um, I can draw from mine, but I can't tell them what to do.

 

I definitely get to guide them and what works for you. And it might not work the first time. Um, and that comes back to, you know, like, my doctor is going to refer patients to me. Because she can't do that. And that's, that's full circle for them, that they're able to give their patients. What they want to give them that they can't.

 

Well, and from the perspective of someone who is living with it and going through it, which I think is the most powerful part of what you're doing. I think a lot of people coach other people about things that they think. Um, and they, they don't live it.

 

Passionistas: And I'm sorry that you have to live it, but I think the, You know, what, what do you think you will bring to your, or you do bring to your clients as someone who's walking in their shoes on your own path?

 

Annmarie: That there's life after a diagnosis, there's life after a trauma, there's life, there's life to be lived and, um, I'm, I think I'm an example of living it, um, and that's what I hopefully convey to them, um, some, some don't want to see that there's a, a, a brighter side to it. But I never tell anybody that, you know, I can't believe I have this stupid thing.

 

Getting this diagnosis and everything that's happened in my life was my path, was my journey, was what's led me to here. So I'm not upset that I have RA. I'm not mad anymore because it's taught me that life is fragile, you know, whether you have cancer, RA, COPD, Hashimoto's, all these things, you know, it's just It brought to the forefront that living is more important than living, as I like to call it in my little term, the life of woe.

 

I don't want to live in the life of woe because now you're just existing. I don't want to exist anymore, you know, and I did that for a long time. So me being diagnosed really was a gift. I know as silly as it sounds, it was a gift for me to be diagnosed to see that there is so much more. out there for us.

 

So much more that we get to give, so much more love that we get to share, so much more of ourselves. Um, and I just, I just do simple things that no one told me to do. Um, I think my favorite thing to do in the morning is I, I say, I'm very grateful in the morning. I do my whole little gratitude list, but, um, I do a body scan and nobody really follows their body.

 

I start with my head and I go, okay, head, where are you at? And then I just work down my body to my toes. And when I plant my feet on the ground, I am exactly where I am meant to be for that day. You know, and that to me is the gift that Ari gave me, that I am exactly where I am meant to be. And on this journey of working with women, meeting exceptional women, exceptional women that I never thought in a million years, I would, you know, Be talking to, you know, or even doing this, or even having a dream of my husband and I having a podcast because no one talks about the spouse or the caregiver of someone that's being diagnosed.

 

There’s so much to be learned from just living in it and owning it and moving forward with it. Um, my life is good. I have pain. A lot of people have pain. It's what I decide to do with the pain every day. And that's, I get up, I acknowledge it. Um, Some days I journal a little bit more about it, but I do believe the little bit that I do is changing, changing women today.

 

And you know what? The younger women, I'm sure there's plenty of women that are younger. Um, looking at me thinking, Oh my God, she's happy. She's got that. They're not in that mindset yet. You know, they're not in that mindset that, you know, my, my daughter doesn't get it. She's 34. It's like, mama, I don't know this mumbo jumbo that you talk about, but I'm still that example.

 

You know, there's no. There's no definitive answer that she'll not get any kind of autoimmune disease, because it does run in families, um, which, so does generational trauma, and you know, so there's that. Um, so you don't, you don't know, but I get to make a difference, and I get to make a change one day at a time. And just loving, loving life. You know, I think that's the, I think that's my biggest message is we get to love life on our terms.

 

Passionistas: I love it. I love it. I feel the same way about my illness. Really, you know, made me grateful for being here and know that I'm here for a purpose and there's work to do. And, um, it really It's so much bigger than ourselves.

 

Annmarie: Yeah. We are just such, and I believe I am just a tiny fraction of it. I'm just this little marble in a bag of what's so much greater out there. And, you know, I get to build on that marble. And then before, you know, I have a big bucket of marbles. And. And it overflows. I think that's the, the, the gift I keep seeing is that my life is overflowing with lots of, lots of gifts, lots and lots of gifts, you know, um, people in the program and, and, um, and Alcoholics Anonymous, they talk about the gifts that you get, you know, when you get sober.

 

I talk about the gifts about being diagnosed. You know, we look at it. There's gifts to be found and taken and loved and nurtured and, you know. I nurture myself. Who nurtures themselves anymore, right? Everybody thinks nurturing is going to get a mani, a pedi, getting their hair colored. You know, nurturing for me is writing, spending time with family, you know, being angry sometimes because it, you get angry.

 

It's like, damn, I was supposed to go do that and I can't today. But I don't sit in it, you know, I get to sit in, I have it. I could still go if I want to and be miserable, which 90 percent of the time I do go and sit and be miserable. And by, you know, halfway through wherever I'm at, I'm happy I've gone. I'm like, I could have been home miserable.

 

You know, um, nobody talks about how it can stop us from going places. Um, And it did, it did stop me, but now I go and, unless the pain's really excruciating and I just don't want to bring anybody down, but, um, and 90 percent of the time I go and I figure out how, where I'm going to sit in a room when I get to be the observer that day.

 

You know, observe. That's great. Storyteller for the next time we're at a family function, I'm like, oh, did you not see what so and so was doing? I saw it, I took notes. You know, because you just, and I, you know, instead I'm, I'm an ober observer half the time, and a participant half the time and actively, I'm actively living a life.

 

Passionistas: Right. So talk a little bit about your husband because I do think that's… and that's something as somebody who's been a caregiver to people, Nancy and I both, something that people don't talk about much. And I so appreciate that even though you are, quote unquote, the person going through it, you really See Keep in mind your husband's perspective and it seems like he's such a willing participant in your journey. So talk about that.

 

Annmarie: So when I first was diagnosed, I couldn't even like, I couldn't figure out what my next move was, you know, um, and because he's so supportive with me, he already before like, I knew what was going on or had it in my head what my next move was. He had already plotted his course of what actions he was going to do with me because and this is the, the benefit of what he does, you know, being that he does welcome them work in the medical field, he's like, we're going to go to this doctor and this doctor and this doctor, if the doctor we're going to today, does it work and mind you, It wasn't a local doctor. And yes, I'm very blessed.

 

I have good insurance and I could have done that. Um, but him showing up for me and taking the reins when I couldn't was so important in the beginning. Um, and it wasn't until we went to, um, a funeral a few months back and we were in the car. And I said, I said, Tim, you know, like, like, what was it like for you when I got diagnosed?

 

And he said he didn't have time. to think about what it was doing to him. Um, and often as a caregiver, which we've, I've been a caregiver too, we don't think about the moment of what's going on, we just do. Um, and since then, I've learned that he told me that, um, he would follow my moods at the beginning because I was in so much pain and, um, very careful how he spoke to me, not to upset me and it was hard on him because he did not have someone to talk to, because I'm his person, right?

 

So, um, I think there needs to be a community also for the caregiver, um, because a lot of times we just wing it. And, um, being that he already knew on how to do all this, he didn't wing it. But there was a lot of following my lead and doing things behind my back because to make sure I was okay, you know, and that's, that's what a caregiver is.

 

We do what we have to do behind the back to make sure that they're taken care of. But today he talks about how, um, he was grateful that I listened, um, that I didn't argue with him because I thought I was going to be a cripple in six months. Um, and he believes because we have such a good, um, Communication between each other, and we know our good and bad points after 30 some odd years, we can figure that out.

 

He knew he just had to do, and how many people as caregivers just do? You know, because we love them, um, and he never expected me to ask him. I think that was kind of, again, full circle for the two of us of, of figuring out our R. A. But I also didn't ask him until after my mother passed because I was so already in my own caregiver mode and I'm grieving and I was like, Oh, like, what did he mean?

 

And I didn't deal with all this from a, an outsider point of view and it was hard and he had no one to talk to. And that's, uh, my heart hurt for him when he told me that he had no one to talk to. Um, I mean, a lot of people don't understand. They don't want to understand. Um, What a chronic disease is, let alone it has a title attached to it.

 

He did it alone and I feel for that. I'm grateful he was here for me, but I feel for that he, that he did it alone because he didn't have anybody. So my hope is that when I do my podcast and I have him as my co host, you know, we get to talk about their fears. Will my wife. That was the other thing.

 

Will my wife be in a wheelchair in six months? You know, what if these drugs are gonna not work for her? You know, seven drugs down the road. I'm finally taking a drug that works for me. Um, that's four years later. Um, a lot of bad and good with all these drugs. Um, but it was a lot of, he took on a lot and no one talks about what the caregiver takes on and I, you know, like, you know, help.

 

Well, you know, Nancy, your health scare. There's that Who's gonna take care of me? And you, you look to your right, you look to your left, and who's on your, on your side? And I only had my husband. So I was very grateful. Yeah,

 

Passionistas: I had one on my left and my right because I had my husband. Sister, I was so lucky. I was surrounded by love, but it is really important.

 

And a couple standing behind you too.

 

Yeah. I, um, so, you know, it's amazing that you had your husband and I think the pod, the idea for the podcast is such a great one to hear both perspectives. Um, when people are diagnosed with RA or an autoimmune disease, what do you, what kind of team do you recommend they surround themselves with if they can?

 

Annmarie: As much positivity as possible, but we know most people don't understand that because they get too positive. You know, I call that, that, that positive toxicity when it's too much, but I think there's, you need to have one person, at least one person that you can vomit to, that one person that they're just gonna take what you say and not take what you're saying at face value, um, a really good rheumatologist, a really good rheumatologist.

 

I happen to have been very lucky. Um, halfway through this, my insurance changed and I had to change my. My rheumatologist and I didn't realize how good my rheumatologist was and I figured out how to get back to that rheumatologist. Um, so there's, you know, your doctors, um, communication. Um, number one, um, I tell my clients that if you don't think it's important to share, that's the thing you need to share the most because our minds like to think the worst and if we're just ruminating in it, we're manifesting something else to happen to us, you know, um, And just, you know, my coach talks about her balcony people, my balcony people have gotten bigger.

 

You know, it's not just my husband anymore, it's my daughter, it's my couple of my friends have jumped on big as they've asked. Um, what I have and how does it affect you and, you know, it's so silent. I mean, you're looking at me right now, do I look like I have a debilitating disease?

 

Passionistas: That's right. You know, it's you too. It's like, it's, it's one of those conditions that people don't see it, right? So they don't know what you're going through.

 

Annmarie: And you know, you know, so I have rheumatoid arthritis and what people hear when I say I have rheumatoid arthritis, they automatically go to, Oh, she has arthritis. That's just the symptom of what I have.

 

And so. It right now is affecting my eyes, my skin. I have nodules in my lungs, which is why I was like immediately when I got sick over the weekend, I jumped to make sure I got to the doctor and I'm doing my nebulizer treatment and my, you know, rescue inhaler. I mean, these are things that I wasn't doing five years ago.

 

I think being able to accept the change as it's happening is very important. And, and if you haven't accepted that you have this, It's not going to happen. You can't keep telling people, I don't have arthritis. I now go Yeah, whatever, because it's heart wrenching when you have to start telling them, well, no, it does this and this and this and this.

 

And that's not good either, because then it's a reminder of what could happen, opposed to what's not happening. You know, it's not happening. Um, but yeah, I think, um, explaining it has become very non existent for me. Like, they'll just be like, oh, what's wrong with you? You're limping. I'm like, oh, I have rheumatoid arthritis.

 

And they're like, oh, I have arthritis too. And I'm like, yeah, I know. Like, it hurts. I get it, you know. But, you know, I'm taking, you know, A medication that's cancer causing, you know, because that's helping me move today. And I know being in a room with someone has a cold, I have a potential to catch it. But again, so what I'm still living, you know, I'm done explaining and done explaining that except to the women that want to know how to live with this chronic disease and any autoimmune disease because we all have the same thoughts. We all go through that fear in the beginning. Um, I don't care if it's. Hachimoto's, Sorensen, Psoriatic Arthritis, we all have that fear of how it's going to affect us. So, um, I think education for ourselves is key and stop focusing on the outside of educating everybody else because it's just not serving us.

 

Passionistas: So what are some of the top tips that you share with those women that want to live with...?

 

Annmarie: Well, I have that on my webpage, um, and I would love to speak to anybody that has other tips. Um, so my one tips are how to prioritize, and this is a big one, on how to take a break. You know, how to take a break. Um, women, I think we think we can do it all.

 

I think we all know we can do it all, um, but there are times we need to take a break and prioritize our health. I did that this weekend. You know, I knew I was getting sick and I had to make a doctor's appointment. I had to take a break. I suck for two days. I'm here today. I also knew I wanted to be here today and I wanted to be top, but I am sick.

 

Taking those breaks, um, being, my other one is making sure that you're, you talk to your doctor. Um, there are other ways to alleviate pain. There's movement. There's, there's so many different ways to do things and not doing them is, is being detrimental to, for not moving, for being stiff. Um, so I think my tips.

 

Are just the beginning of learning what to do with RA. It's just a tip. The real work is to me, the real work for me was working on my mental and emotional wellbeing to move forward because it all kind of, when my mental ability and my emotional self were aligned to each other, those 10 tips that I have, they came easy.

 

They just happened. Um, and I didn't look at them with the, ugh, like someone gave them to me. You know, it's not, not an original 10 tips. Um, but. They are 10 tips to get you thinking about what to do next for yourself, and taking a break, taking a step, pausing, knowing that you can have that piece of chocolate, but yeah, it might give you the RA.

 

You gotta, you know, have a RA flare. You get choices. The break for me is a huge one. I had to take a break because I don't take breaks, and then I get sick, and you know, and then that's history. You're on medication for a week.

 

 

Passionistas: How can we be better advocates, those of us that don't have rheumatoid arthritis or an autoimmune disease? How can we be better advocates for those of you who do?

 

I think for me, I would suggest to tell them to read, just to read, um, and don't read blogs of like on, on Facebook because everybody's, everybody's autoimmune disease is different. Everybody's body is different. Um, so to advocate, uh, them to care for themselves and to get educated, because it's not, it's not a, it's not a simple diagnosis. It's not simple, um, and knowing what could happen helps and doesn't help, but at least you're not in the dark, you know, and I think that's the difference of what my husband did for me. He advocated for me when I couldn't. You know, and if you have someone in your family, learn about it.

 

Ask them questions, because then you're going to be somewhere and you're going to be like, Hey, I know someone that you need to talk to because she's dealing with something the same. And then you start talking and you realize, Oh, well, I don't have that. Well, how can I help you? You know, so then you're helping each other and that's advocating for each other.

 

You know, um, I'm just connecting people. I like to connect people with the, you know, what's going on.

 

Passionistas: So what are we not asking you that we should be?

 

Annmarie: I think for me, it's to, for me, I would say to get on my webpage if you're just newly diagnosed and look at the 10 tips and read my story. It's not unique. I'm probably like every other person, but I might have something on my webpage that's going to say, Oh my God, I have that. I know what that feels like. And I'm not alone. You know, I'm not alone, and yeah, you can reach out to me. That would be great. I would love to talk to you, um, or it just might be a stepping stone for you to find someone else that will be there for you.

 

I'm not the only RA coach out there, um, but my story is different from other RA coaches. Um, I'm not medically certified in anything. I am certified. A regular woman walking through life that got certified to help others. Um, there's women that I could send you to if you're confused about your medication, they know more about it.

 

I think the emotional aspect is what they need to know about to help them go through. And my, that's what my story talks about. My story talks about the emotional side of it, the mental health side of it. Cause you know, It's all connected with our physical, you know, the emotional health, emotional, mental, and physical all, are all one.

 

It's that triangle. And if we don't have to, we don't have them connected, then we can have that circle around it to be whole. So it's, I think going on my webpage and learning about me would be wonderful because I want to help as many people as I possibly can, even if it's just to give them a direction to go to.

 

Passionistas: What is that website? And also, how can people find you on social media?

 

Annmarie: I am on Instagram as the RA_Warrior.Advocate. I am on Facebook as Annmarie Entner. Um, you'll see I'm the rheumatoid arthritis coach, but more importantly, my webpage is Life Coaching for Change because change is what we did, is what I did.

 

I changed my thoughts. So, um, You can find me in there, LifeCoachingForChange.com and read my story. It's compelling. At least I think it is. It happened to me. Um, and I'm not alone and you're not alone.

 

Passionistas: It's incredibly compelling.

 

Annmarie: We're not unique. We are not unique and how many of us are not getting the help we need? You know, that's the, you know, that's the more important of it. Like I had done, like I said, I did years of therapy and I got that help, but I didn't know how to get the help to move forward. And that's where my, that's where my coach came in because I had all the tools, I just didn't know how to implement them.

 

And now I know how to implement them and help others. And that's the, you know, living, giving back, you know, um, and just having a conversation, a conversation of like life. This is hard. No one says that this is hard. Yeah, it is hard. Um, but we don't, we don't have to make it difficult, you know, we don't make it worse than it is.

 

So I grew up with nothing's easy in life, right? How many of us have heard that? Nothing's easy in life. And I keep in the back of my head when I go, Oh God, this is not easy. Do I need to make it difficult or can I make it doable? And I do make it doable because nothing is easy. You know, nobody's life is easy. Nobody's disease is easy. Nobody's job is easy because we all have things we, we do.

 

Passionistas: So when you were growing up, who were some of the important women in your life and what lessons did you learn from them?

 

Annmarie: I didn't have any important women and I think that to me, um, was sad. I have them today. Um, later in life I learned about, you know, Ruth Ginsburg. I learned Mother Teresa, I didn't learn about anything.

 

It was not taught because my mother didn't teach it. Um, but today I seek out women who are, um, role models for me still. You know, um, I believe if we remain teachable, I get to learn and I get to learn from a lot of different areas of my life. Men, women, my grandchildren, people walking on the street, a casual conversation. So I would say for me today, everybody gets to teach me and they're all influential and I get to take what I want and I get to leave what I don't behind.

 

Passionistas: What do you, what did you teach your daughter while she was growing up about women's roles?

 

Annmarie: Um, again, I didn't have that role. Um, but I told her that whatever she did, I will love her no matter what. And I didn't have that. Um, she recently changed her jobs. Um, she was a school teacher. She's no longer a school teacher. And she asked me for some advice. And I actually give myself this advice a lot. Give yourself a year and be the best at what you're doing. You know, forget about the minutia on the sides, but you're going to focus on this and move forward.

 

And at the end of that year, you decide what you want to do. And she's like, Oh, mom, really? I'm like, yeah, just be that teacher, be that, give it all. And she did. She gave it her all, and she wasn't enjoying it, and she left, and she told me later that it was the best advice I ever gave her, was to give it your all, give it a full blown try at it, and she did.

 

And as a mom, I'm proud that she listened, because you know what? I didn't have that. I didn't have that, where I could sit and tell my mother anything, because you know, I was raised Irish Catholic, and you know, there was a certain way you had to be, um, and I had a lot of. A lot of differences from what I grew up with.

 

Whatever she wanted, I, I listened. I tried to give her the best advice, be the best that you can be, and I will love you no matter what. Nothing you do will ever change that. And we all make mistakes. You know, that's the other thing. We all make mistakes.

 

Passionistas: That's beautiful. We got that same lesson from our mother. So, as long as you try your hardest, she used to say to us, did you do your best?

 

Annmarie: I didn't have that. Yeah, I didn't have, my mother was like, you need to do this. You need to, there was no throw everything at the wall and try it. Um, I did that as an adult. I'm doing it now. I'm throwing everything out, right? Um, I'm throwing myself out there to be seen and heard and help, you know, just to help.

 

Just help l and live show them that living is great. Living is great. You know, not easy, but it's great. I mean, I guess, I guess I, if I had had that, I would not be on this path either. You know, I would not have had the chances to have everything that I've had happened to me because it just happened. It's not happening. It's happened. Um, and it's made me who I am today. And I'm proud of that.

 

Passionistas: Well, you should be.

 

Annmarie: I am. It took a while, but I am.

 

Passionistas: What else do you wish women knew?

 

Annmarie: Um, I guess for me, what I think I wish women knew, that we are just unstoppable, unforgettably. You know, we are unstoppable and we get to pave our own path. You know, I didn't know that. But I'm doing it now and I think that's something, um, around the world they don't know about, you know. Um,

 

I believe that's what I was lacking, um, that we are unstoppable and that we can do anything. I know that today and I get to show that, that no matter what I'm going to continue and it's okay to fail while I'm trying, you know. And I am failing and it's okay because how do I learn, you know. I don't think that was taught.

 

I know, actually, I know that wasn't taught to me because it was like either do it right or don't do it at all. That's hw I was raised. Do it right or don't do it at all. And, um, I do a lot of things wrong and had great outcomes. You know, uh, my daughter's father, for example, I mean, I did that wrong, but I got a beautiful outcome.

 

You know, she's my prize. I guess that's my prize that I see that I've, I've made something so beautiful and I get to share her with everybody and love her and watch her grow and see a lot of myself in her that I'm like, Oh, yeah. But, uh, yeah, we're unstoppable, and she's unstoppable, and I'm, and I'm seeing her come into her own now, where she's figuring it out, a lot younger than I did, a lot younger, you know, and the support is different. I don't ask for perfection.

 

Passionistas: Well, and as a result, right, she, she's carrying on that creation of beautiful, beautiful next generation.

 

Annmarie: Absolutely. And they, and I'm going to brag, they are beautiful. I have a little mini me, and she's in for a rough ride. My daughter is in for a big ride. Um, but, uh, I think the other, you know, Tony, I'm thinking, I was never allowed to ask questions.

 

I think that's something that women don't ask enough of. And I'm learning how to ask a lot of questions. Um, and that my granddaughter taught me. Because she asks a lot? She has, she has, she has all the questions and needs an answer. And I'm like, I don't have that answer. You got to give me time. But, um, I do know that there's, um, Something to be said for a mind that constantly asks questions, that they're looking for continuous growth and to learn, you know, I ask a lot of questions now, and it's not a why, it's a how come, like how come that happened? How come, like, why did, you know, anything, you know, how come this happened to me? Well, I can figure it out. I can figure out why I know my husband. I know why, um, it happened and how come we have this great life we have, you know. He's taught me a lot. I think he's nurtured me a little bit more than my parents did, you know. Um, but I think that kept because we came from different backgrounds but the question of, of just to ask questions, women need to ask more questions, not demand an answer, but just ask those questions. And, you know, And see what they give you. And then you get to decide what it is, and if you like it or not, you get to decide what to do next.

 

Passionistas: I'm gonna, I'm gonna guess that you also weren't raised to ask for help.

 

Annmarie: No. Oh gosh, no. That was called, um, I was the first one to term, well not term, it was actually a term, um, I was tired of the elephant in the middle of the room. And then I became the elephant in the middle of the room, because I was going, hey, I'm This is what's going on. Um, and that, that was an asset that I didn't know I had or a gift.

 

I do ask a lot to be like, Hey, why did that guy do that stupid thing? That's like so stupid. And they're like, shh, don't talk about that. And I'm like, but why? He's drunk. He's acting like an asshole. You know, like why? And why are we keeping him here? Um, I am definitely the one we'll bring out what no one wants to talk about.

 

And that again, was very much, um, told not to, and it was bad. And I, and it wasn't until I got older that I decided I was bringing that back into my life. And I'm doing it now. You know, sharing my story is not going to be easy on the family. You know, I don't think they'll read about it. Um, I don't think they'll, they want to hear about it but that's their choice. This is mine, you know. Um, and I think that's something that I've learned and took time to learn. It wasn't, it wasn't taught to me, you know.

 

Passionistas: What's your secret to a rewarding life?

 

Annmarie: When my heart pounds, when my heart pounds that it's been a good day, it's very simple, it's very genuine, and it's just mine. It's my gauge of, I've had a good day in my heart when I go to bed and it's like, Ooh, it's a good day. Um, or just seeing the smiles on my family, you know, that's, that's rewarding. Um, Allowing my grandchildren to do whatever they want when they're here, basically, you know, I've never had grandparents. So I believe that, you know, this grandma does not say no, and they are well aware of it, but, um, being myself and being an individual for the first time, that's rewarding. Being able to acknowledge that I, I have an opinion and it doesn't have to be quiet. Um, and not care. You know, I have a few things, but I think more when I go to bed at night and I just feel like I can say, oh, yep, I had a good day. A good day is a good reward.

 

Passionistas: Is there one lesson that you've learned on your journey so far that really sticks with you?

 

Annmarie: Being vocal and advocating for yourself. Um, I asked a lot of questions when I first got diagnosed. Um, I asked a lot of questions afterwards about, you know, How trauma could be involved in it. Um, I would say asking those questions, taking in the answers and figuring out how it affects me, you know, um, I got this disease. It doesn't make, make me who I am actually makes me a better person.

 

I believe, but it's not who I am. It doesn't define me and to move forward is the best lesson to keep going no matter what, you know. I could easily stop living. I think that's the best part that I've learned about being diagnosed, that I get to keep moving and I get to figure it out and everybody doesn't have to like it.

 

Passionistas: Is there a mantra that you live by?

 

Annmarie: Life isn't easy. I say that a lot. Life isn't easy, but I don't need to make it difficult. In fact, I have that on my refrigerator. Life isn't easy, but I don't need to make it difficult. Um, I made it difficult for a long time. Um, I no longer want to do that. And those are through life lesson and being diagnosed that was like, this is hard.

 

Now I know what real hard is, you know, um, uh, I was never, never had anything. I just kind of went through it. Um, I also like, I say this to the serenity prayer. No one talks about like the whole prayer, but there's a part of it that says, uh, hardship is the pathway to peace. And I've had my share and I'm on my peace.

 

I’m working at my peace right now. Um, But I could throw anyone any mantra and I'll steal anybody that sounds good for the day, you know?

 

Passionistas: Oh, I like that.

 

Annmarie: Embracing life. That's another thing I say. Embrace my life. It's the only one I have. But I would say the easy life isn't easy is my favorite. And I say it a lot.

 

Passionistas: So one last two part question. Okay. Which is, um, what is your dream for yourself? And what is your dream for women?

 

Annmarie: My dream for myself is to reach All women and for women to find me that they can see me as an example. You know, um, I didn't know that you could be an example. So I think that's my dream for women to see that you can have women that are not even famous be an example.

 

That's, and I don't think some of the examples are great out there. So, I mean, um, I'm being genuine. I just always want to be genuine and authentic to myself. And I think that would be more it. Help as many women as I want and who want me and seek me out to help them as much as possible.

 

Passionistas: And what's your dream for women?

Annmarie: My dream for women to never be unstoppable, never be unstoppable and never give up and figure out a way but never be unstoppable because once we stop living, because I've been there, we just exist. I don't want to exist anymore. So yeah, be unstoppable. Just keep going. Find your path. Find someone to help you find that path.

 

Passionistas: Love it. Well, we cannot thank you enough for being with us today. This has been such a pleasure.

 

Annmarie: Thank you. It was, I had no idea what we were doing. I was coming fresh from right here and just talk and have a conversation. Um, I'm very pleased to be here. I'm part of The Passionistas and, uh, it was one of the better things that I've done this year to join as a self care for myself and be connected with women.

 

Passionistas: Thank you for saying that. We adore you, and we're so glad you're here. We're grateful to Julie DeLucca-Collins.

 

Annmarie: Oh, yes. Julie, Julie is one of my, uh, I would say women that I look up to, for sure. Um, she guides me a lot. Um, sometimes she's the voice in my head.

 

Passionistas: Yes, I know. Us too. Right? It's like, oh, she's there.

 

Annmarie: Why is she there? Oh. I'm procrastinating a little bit.

 

Passionistas: Exactly. No, I haven't looked at my 12 week year yet today. I'll go do it.

 

Annmarie: Right. I have that on my number one. Get at that on Sunday. Be prepared for Monday.

 

Passionistas: Oh, she's here. She's here.

 

Annmarie: She really is. Are we just imagining that she's here? Oh, I know. I think, uh, she's just amazing to me. She definitely is, uh, someone that I believe was put in my path for a purpose or to help me with my purpose for sure. Yeah.

 

Passionistas: She has helped change our lives, all of us in the most positive way. Yeah. And, uh, eternally grateful. We wouldn't be here doing this without Julie.

 

Annmarie: Me either. Me either. Um, I know that when things get hard, I hear her head. I hear her in my head. You know, she's, you know, you got this, you can do this, and uh, I'm not going to make it difficult.

 

Passionistas: Absolutely. Well, thank you again.

 

Annmarie: Thank you.

 

Passionistas: Thank you all for listening, and we'll talk to everyone soon.

 

Thanks for listening to The Passionistas Project. Since we're not only business partners, but best friends and real life sisters, we know how unique and truly special our situation is. We know so many solopreneurs, activists, women seeking their purpose and more, who are out there doing it all on their own.

 

They often tell us that they wish they had what we have. So we're creating a space for them, and you, to join our sisterhood, where trust, acceptance, and support are the cornerstones of our community. By joining, you become part of our family. We'll give you all of our CIS tips on building meaningful relationships through the power of sisterhood and all the tools you need to thrive in three key areas.

 

Business growth, personal development, and social impact. You'll learn from our panel of Power Passionistas who are experts on topics like transformational leadership, following your intuition, the power of voting, and so much more. You can join us virtually and in person at storyteller events and meetups to connect with other members of the community.

 

And you'll be able to participate in our online forums with other like minded women and gender non conforming, non binary people who share your values and goals. Be sure to visit ThePassionistasProject.com to sign up for your free membership to join our worldwide sisterhood of passion driven women who come to get support and help.

 

Find their purpose and feel empowered to transform their lives and change the world. We'll be back next week with another Passionista who's defining success on her own terms and breaking down the barriers for herself and women everywhere.


Until then, stay passionate.

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