When Amy Dixon was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder nearly 20 years ago, she assumed her days as a competitive athlete were over. Dixon, now 40, was diagnosed with uveitis, which left her partially blind and required a slew of drugs to stop it from robbing her of her vision entirely, which caused her to gain 70 pounds. She had given up riding horses and skiing, but was learning to take back control of her life and training for a triathlon when another health issue threatened her livelihood just six years later.
Dixon was eventually diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea (IBS-D), but used the lessons she learned during her battle with uveitis to help stay on track with her training.
“One of the reasons why I still have a little bit of vision at the age of 40 is because I surrounded myself with a really good medical team, so I took that same approach when I started having these symptoms of IBS-D,” Dixon told FoxNews.com.
Dixon decided to take her diagnosis a step further and help others facing IBS-D by teaming up with Allergan to launch the website IBSDandAmy.com, where she shares her story and helps patients navigate the signs and symptoms of IBS-D.
Dixon is also using her platform to help other blind athletes train for triathlons, and has a goal to reach the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. She would be the first ever visually impaired woman to attempt the XTerra race, which includes swimming, mountain biking and trail running.