About Janet Church
Sjogren’s Foundation President and CEO, previous Board of Directors Chair, Entrepreneur, Certified Leadership Coach, and Sjogren’s Patient!
nheHi, I’m Janet! I’m a Sjogren’s patient and I have spent more than a decade researching, testing, and learning ways to live a great life while managing the complexities of this Autoimmune Disease. I’ve discovered many life-hacks to improve my quality of life and process through flares.
While I was still work in the technology industry, my disease journey has led me to become a Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Yoga Instructor since these two areas have added so much to my life. I created this site to share these learnings with you in hopes that you find ideas to improve the quality of your life while you manage your Autoimmune Disease.
I am proud to lead the Sjogren’s Foundation and represent patients in all that we do!
Before My Sjogren’s Diagnosis
iI am a seasoned technology marketing executive and started my career as the 301st employee of Microsoft. I then went on to create Janet Church & Associates, Inc., a multimillion-dollar technology marketing firm. For 18 years, I was CEO and President of this company until I became too tired and ill to run it effectively. At the time, I just thought I was exhausted from being in the high-paced world of technology for 21 years. After departing my company in 2001, I became increasingly ill and could not get a diagnosis. In 2005 my body began to shut-down and I was hospitalized for 3 weeks as doctors from almost every discipline ran tests. They titled this an acute “cataclysmic event”. (We now know it was Aseptic Meningitis which is not an uncommon occurrence in Sjogren’s patients). I eventually was stabilized and then released with no clear diagnosis. I was not accurately diagnosed until 7 months later when a visiting Mayo Clinic diagnostician who pinpointed that the only physician I had NOT seen was a rheumatologist. After additional lab work with the focus of Rheumatic diseases, I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s.
I then co-founded a software company called Brandle, Inc. I was able to control my disease by working from home and decreasing some responsibilities. I was so amazed at how Yoga and Coaching positively impacted my life, and became a Certified Professional Leadership Coach and a Certified Yoga Instructor. I discuss both of these tools in the Wellness section. I still use these tools as I lead the Sjogren’s Foundation to help find better ways where patients can live a quality life while having this disease.
A Sjogren’s Patient
Having Sjögrens disease drastically effects how I feel every day — the joint pain, the severe dry eyes and mouth, organ involvement (I have Stage 3 Renal disease), and exhaustion. I also manage Raynauds, dysautonomia, and a blood clotting disorder. I have taken Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Cellcept, Steroids, and Rituxan infusions to manage systemic symptoms. Without drug therapy, I can not function.
My natural personality is to face challenges head-on, gathering information, and performing to the best of my ability. The experience of grieving my “old self” and defining my “new self” was a challenge and took me time. But after living the ups and downs of Sjogren’s for over a decade, I have the knowledge that helps me live my best life possible.
Today, I take Hydroxychloriquine and manage systems most effectively with lifestyle choices and a mindfulness practice.
My Symptom Impact
- Dry Eye and Dry Mouth
- Joint Pain
- Organ Damage
Sjogren’s Foundation Board Chair
I am currently the Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Sjögrens Foundation. I have been a Board member for 7 years, and it has been the greatest honor! Being part of this organization is an amazing learning experience and I love sharing this knowledge with you. That’s why you see me write about Board meetings and some of the huge advancements we’ve made in the Sjogren’s world. This year, we’ve launched a new logo, website, and have added so many programs to support patients through the Covid-19 pandemic. I am amazed by our Board of Directors (all volunteers) and the staff who work tirelessly to make our lives better.
Our new logo:
Lover of Travel, Music and Good Food
I love great food and wine! Enjoying spectacular meals with friends and family is my favorite thing to do. In fact, I travel the world looking for the best local food and drink in a culture. You bet Sjogren’s has had a big impact on me! But I do my best to still experience great food while making trade-offs. I also love music. I am a huge Jazz fan and I’ve been known to step up to a piano and sing a song or two. A dry mouth and throat mean I don’t sing as much as I used to, but I still sing for the joy of it. No matter where I travel, I will seek out the best club for good local artists. Or at an international Jazz Festival.
My sidekick is my cute Wheaten Terrier named Kyla Croi.
My Favorite Articles
I write about my journey with Sjogren’s. Here are a few of my favorite articles and posts that might spark a new thought about your own journey with Autoimmune Disease.
How to Define Your Autoimmune Stage from my early postings on the stages of grief and reinventions.
When Major Grief and Autoimmune Disease Collide is about the time I was managing a lot of work and life along with traveling to be present for my Father’s passing.
You Don’t Look Sick! How do you respond to this comment? Some thoughts and options.
Sjogren’s Foundation Most Recent Board Meeting highlights. I’m so proud of the Foundation and the work we accomplish! This article also has a link to my post about our Vision and Mission.
I live in the Seattle area and frequently travel when able!
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do know that I cannot give any medical advice as I am not a medical professional, but a patient just like you.
Thank you for visiting SjogrensLife!