Living life with lupus and making the most of it

Success Stories


Safety and Injuries

Living strong and making the most of it

Reading Time: 1 minute 47 seconds


Date: 2018-08-16T00:00:00-04:00

Inspiration Story from Kelly Kolicko

I've been athletic as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was a tomboy; always going hunting with my father, catching lizards, and digging in the dirt. Sports were always competitive for me. Being a daddy's girl, it meant the world to have my dad at my track meets. He told me the only way he would come to watch was if I made nationals, so I was always pushing myself.

In 2011, nine years after my father's passing, I competed in the Arizona Ironman. It's a 140.6 mile endurance race of swimming, biking, and running, and I finished with a time of 12:24!

I met my trainer, Karen Mullarkey in 2011 and have been training with her since. She has trained me through two pregnancies (both c-sections) and a bikini fitness competition.

Kelly pregnant

During my second pregnancy, I constantly felt sick. I had a hard time walking up stairs and even opening a water bottle. Everyone said it was just my pregnancy and that things would get better, but they never did. Things just got worse.

After my baby boy was born, my joints became even stiffer, and I constantly felt like I had a sore throat. I couldn't even pick up my little new born or walk down the stairs. We knew something was wrong when my hand swelled to 3 times its normal size and my ankles were so big I couldn't put on tennis shoes.

My OBGYN recommended I see a rheumatologist, she did testing and it came back that I had systemic lupus, the same thing that ultimately took my father's life!

This was both good and bad news. Good, that we finally knew what was going on. Bad, that I now have to deal with this for the rest of my life.

My doctor came up with a good medication plan and my trainer, Karen, came up with a fitness and nutrition plan that was healthy for my joints. My days of training outside are long gone now. Lupus patients should not be in the sun because it inflames the conditions in the body and makes it worse, therefore, training indoors with Karen is my best option now.

Kelly after

Since Ironman, I have competed in a fitness bikini competition, which I placed 3rd, had two amazing boys and have learned how to live with an autoimmune disease. It has been an amazing journey and has taught me so much.

I have learned how to be strong and how to push through things I never thought were possible!


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