I’m a single mom and life was hard, raising two kids with no support. I’m 35 and I was completely stressed. Then last year, I noticed my fingertips were going numb. I developed a painful rash on my face, chest and arms and was diagnosed with a condition called mixed connective tissue disease. I was exhausted and we’d eat fast food or frozen pizza — I felt like I was failing my children, 17-year-old Caleb, and Jacob, who’s 14. One morning I lost consciousness, fell, ended up in the hospital, and found out I had a heart condition. The doctors told me I needed to change my lifestyle.  

My People Lead, Lisa Crumpton, said: “I want you to do the Thrive Challenge.” 

She said: “You need to get back to you!” I asked Jacob to help me and he said, “Yes, this is going to be fun.” He leaves sticky notes on my mirror reminding me to drink more water and do my Microsteps, like doing squats while brushing my teeth. Then he started doing them too.  

Jacob‘s helping me cook delicious meals. 

We make a “Big Mac Salad” with pickles and cheese, substituting lettuce for bread. I sprinkle sesame seeds on top to give it that real burger taste. We also make mushroom “pizza” using large portobello mushrooms topped with pepperoni, cheese and olives. I’ve actually got my children eating salads, which I never thought would happen! I’ve lost seven pounds and have more energy. Another positive change — instead of eating in our rooms, we’re eating together at the table with no phones. 

I’m doing 10-minute work-out videos to upbeat music.

One of my favorite songs is “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. As a family, we love to hike in the mountains and explore nature. The boys and I are connecting by having game nights once a week. I’ve never been a video game person but they’re introducing me to the ones they like. When it’s my turn to choose, we’ll play an old-fashioned board game like Connect 4 or Clue. 

For “Me Time” after work I’ll get onto the Thrive app.

I absolutely love the Resets and customize my own, with photos of the kids and my mom, and I add music. I sit there watching them, relaxing and breathing deeply. 

I’ve had a successful procedure for my heart and feel grateful.

I’m very thankful to my wonderful boys who are helping me. I’ve hardly had any skin flare-ups, I’m much less stressed and I don’t feel sleepy during the day anymore. The Thrive Challenge has helped me make Better Choices and get my life back!

At work, I feel more connected with my team.

I’m smiling and friendly because I feel better. I’m planning to go back to school and get a degree. I want to use my skills to work with people and maybe do counseling. I’ve been through so much and I feel I have a lot to offer, helping people live better lives.