Many nurses work side jobs to make ends meet or because they enjoy the work, but few nurses spend their spare time like Sonya Klaus, or as she’s known on the racetrack, Sonya Slidez. Pursuing her passions wasn’t an easy journey for Klaus, but determination kept her going.
Sonya Slidez uses her social media platform on Instagram to share her story, and her struggles, with Lyme disease, which she was diagnosed with after filming a Netflix show set to air in August 2022, Drive Hard: The Maloof Way.
“I did this show while suffering from Lyme and didn’t know it,” Sonya Slidez said.
She was diagnosed with Lyme disease and other autoimmune issues in August 2021. At one point, Klaus’ body deteriorated so far that she required a wheelchair to get around before she began having trouble with her mental recall, speech, and even basic motor function.
“Today, I couldn’t be more grateful for how far I’ve come,” Klaus said. “I’ve turned the corner and am starting to see big improvements. It’s been tough, to say the least however I also count this entire experience as a blessing. I have some plans to get back into the car and pretty much life in general.”
Klaus faced brutal recovery, but was soon back to turning wrenches, and sharing her gratitude for regaining the ability. She has never been a stranger to adversity. Klaus suffered a broken back lifting a patient and underwent intensive recovery then, too. Shortly afterward, she took a break from racing to return her full attention to nursing when the pandemic hit.
Sonya Slidez said she admires fellow racecar driver Danny Bohn for spreading Lyme disease awareness in the industry. Lyme disease is a vector-borne illness carried by ticks.
Sonya Slidez hopes to inspire others to pursue their passions through adversity because the reward is worth the struggle. From a full-time nursing career and racing in a Netflix special to the Lyme disease diagnoses, recovery, and beyond, Klaus certainly knows what it means to choose goals over comfort—and she doesn’t seem inclined to change that anytime soon.