Ep. 60 – Ballerina Learns to Dance Again with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you had to teach yourself to walk again…or even a lifelong skill that you loved? This week’s guest on “Happiness through Hardship” – The Podcast, has done both while navigating chronic illness. Renee Nicholson is a dancer, author and teacher whose life has changed from rheumatoid arthritis. It took getting knee-replacement surgery in her thirties for her to own her unique experience. The humility of this allowed her to reteach herself ballet in a different way. On this episode Renee shares her experiences with professional dance and living with chronic disease.

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Image from cover of “Fierce & Delicate” by Renee Nicholson

60. Renee Nicholson: Ballerina Learns to Dance Again with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Show Notes – Ballerina Learns to Dance Again with Rheumatoid Arthritis

3:15- Renee’s story and background in ballet
5:17- Renee’s Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis and when she noticed something was off with her body
7:14- Renee’s first writing class and how this sparked a lifelong passion for it
8:49- Career shifts and the beauty in them
11:30- Rheumatoid Arthritis aka RA and what it is
14:35- What an Rheumatoid Arthritis flare up feels like
17:27- Renee’s decision to follow her calling to write and make the most of each day
19:29- Renee’s knee replacement and the power of doctors instilling hope in their patients
23:22- The importance of connecting with what you love during times of hardship
25:16- How personalized care and connection with your medical team can make a difference
26:10- When Renee began writing about dance and how this led to her teaching dance
28:16- Moving to NYC to study with American Ballet Theater
29:40- How journaling about her experience served as inspiration for her book, Fierce and Delicate: Essays on Dance and Illness
35:28- How one passion can lead us to the next
38:20- The healing power of writing and how Renee earned a degree in Narrative Medicine
43:20- How stories are what give people hope
44:31- Caryn and Renee play The Grateful Game

Fierce and Delicate by Renee Nicholson:

Connect with Renee – Episode 60 – Ballerina Learns to Dance Again with Rheumatoid Arthritis



60. Renee Nicholson: Ballerina Learns to Dance Again with Rheumatoid Arthritis
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