Name: Britanie Sutton
Where do you call home? Tennessee
What is a current goal you have with your education? I have recently made the decision to go back to school for accounting
Who do you live with? I live with my husband, Michael, and two children, Laci and Landon.
How long have you known you are living with FA? I can confidently say ever since I was 11 or 12 I began living with FA, even if I did not know what it was. I always considered myself to be “clumsy.” After high school, “clumsy” developed into the fact I could no longer run and my balance and coordination were getting worse. In 2014, I began actively seeking a medical diagnosis. I was 21 years old and was misdiagnosed. When I was 25/26 I saw the most progression in FA. This led me to Vanderbilt which shortly gave me a correct diagnosis via genetic blood test.
Are there others in your family with FA? No, just me.
Describe an adaptation and/or transition you have had to take due to living with FA. In the past three years I have gone from walking unassisted to a cane to a walker/wheelchair. I use a walker inside the house and wheelchair outside of the house. At first, I was embarrassed- I would not go out anywhere that someone i knew may be. I would not post pictures of myself with mobility aids on social media or anywhere. Then I came to the realization that I was literally punishing myself for no reason. Safety is a big part of this journey with FA. My mobility aids mean freedom and independence and I'm thankful for them.
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? Well, I am currently a stay at home mom to my two children. So, they make sure I am moving a lot. There is no time to sit around and feel sorry for myself. We also have an in-ground pool. In the summer, I make a point to get in the pool and swim as much as possible.
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? I don't think there's a trick that I could give. Just take care of yourself. Go to the doctor for checkups or when something is off, eat healthier, set boundaries, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? I get out of the house, get out of my comfort zone or spend time with my family.
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? FA has allowed me to see life as a disabled and non disabled person. Twenty years ago I didn’t think about accessibility or mobility aids. Now, every time I go anywhere accessibility is the biggest deciding factor.
What piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? It was simply to embrace it. It was short and sweet but was exactly what I needed to hear.
What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? You are not alone. Find me. Find any of us. We are all living this journey together.
What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Walk or run anywhere I especially would love to walk on the beach again.
"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? FA is only a small part of my life. I'm still a mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc regardless. I have likes and dislikes. I’m a person too, not just a body with FA.