June 01, 2016

Rheumatoid Arthritis - I found hope.

Where to start with this Rheumatoid Arthritis trouble? It could sound like an old Bryan Adam's song...it was the Summer of 2015.

Writing this in the Summer of 2016 so a bit has transpired in a year. Last summer my joints started swelling on my hands. I had been off gluten for a year...but I had sneaked a bite here and there when a fabulous booth at our Farmer's Market was baking amazing international pastries. I would buy a pastry for Rob and then take a bite. So when my joints started bothering me I thought it was because of that. I was back on the no gluten bandwagon pretty quickly and ended my love affair with the pastries. Actually I just figured out how to bake them gluten free. I don't know if this little tete de tete with gluten kicked all this off or if it was just a coincidence? I have to just let that go.

By the end of summer I had redness, stiffness and swelling in my joints. I just wrote it off as non descript joint pain thinking that if I followed the no gluten rule eventually it would work itself out.

Fast forward a couple of months and I had a pinky finger that overnight became malformed on a joint. So my hands were starting to look like they belonged on someone 40 years older than me. In between the knuckles on my left hand I could see there were pads of swelling happening. And then my index finger knuckle started growing to two or three times it's normal size. At this point I was popping ibuprofen more days than not. I had to use my hands. Fast forward a couple more months and the joints in my toes and one of my knees joined in the fun. I also had severe fatigue, during this time. I spent more time resting than I ever had before. I should have gone to the doctor by this point but I knew that a traditional doctor would not have a fix for this and I didn't want to go on meds to treat the symptoms. My holistic doctor is 3 hours away and I just was having a hard time figuring out how to take a day to get to him. I knew this was diet related. And by this time I started researching on line about this type of joint pain and figured out pretty quickly I most likely had Rheumatoid Arthritis. The scariest part was how quickly it was moving through my body. That was about 3 or 4 months ago. I knew this was an auto immune disease, and I also knew that if I changed my diet somehow I could help myself.

I chose to follow the Whole 30 plan to knock out foods that I thought could be offending my body. The foods that would trigger this disease. Rob and I did it together. At the end of the 30 days not only had it not helped my joints they had progressively gotten worse. That's when I made my appointment to see my holistic doctor. I told him of my self diagnosis, he had lots of blood drawn, gave me some baseline treatments to bring my body back to a healing state and made a follow up appointment for me to come back once blood results were in and I had followed the diet he put me on for 6 weeks. About a week after my appointment his nurse called and confirmed that I did have RA and to keep with the program and they would work with me when I came back to address the RA head on with a positive outcome and to not be afraid. The diet that he had put me on before my diagnosis was pretty similar to the Whole 30 and I just couldn't wait it out another 6 weeks to talk to him so I started researching on line. There are other people who have dealt with this and I knew if I could find the right information I wouldn't have to wait 6 weeks to start feeling better.

At this point I would look at stairs with dread, I could use the railings to get myself up, but Rob would have to hold onto me to help me down. I was at a place that seemed surreal. I couldn't bare to talk about it outside my home for fear that once I complained of the pain I thought I might not ever stop. I was teary eyed a lot, partly from the pain and partly from the quick progression of the pain. If things got this bad over one year would they continue to progress as quickly?

So I found a website when looking for natural healings and I looked at all the you tube video's associated with it...about 5 or 6 hours worth any way. The client reviews were in the hundreds and all of them said that the program helped them. Some completely healed, some better enough to manage the pain and to get off their meds. It was called the Paddington Program created by Chris Paddington out of Australia. He had debilitating RA at 30 years old. His program takes the research of multiple doctors and combines it into the plan that worked for him. He is 8 years out and shows less markers for RA in his blood work than the average person on the street. I was able to watch multiple lectures from one doctor in particular Dr. McDougall that were very helpful. So I bought this on line plan for $49 and began following it the next day. The first two days is a juice and salad cleanse to bring your body back to an alkaline state, then the next 10 days was full of quinoa, buckwheat, seaweed, sweet potatoes, salad, more green juicing along with other healing food options. After two days on this plan my joint pain was 80% gone. I could make a fist with my left hand, and several days into it Rob and I went to the movies and I was up about 15 steps and realized I wasn't holding onto the railing and had no pain in my knees.

The quick drop in pain was the motivation I needed to stay on this strict diet. Which for the most part fit inside the diet my doctor had put me on. All except the sweet potato because of sugar content. But I had to have the energy from the sweet potato so I included it in my diet. I am now on day 15 and am able to re-introduce foods one at a time. If I feel my pain increase I go back to the foods on the 10 day eating plan for about 18 hours that knocks it out and I can try that food again at a later date as my body might have a different reaction at that time.

So why had this diet helped me so much? Through my research I have learned that RA is caused by perforations in your intestines, or as a holistic doctor would call it..leaky gut. While there are lots of reasons this could happen most have to do with taking Nsaids (like ibuprofen), antibiotics, a diet high in fats (even healthy fats).. All of these things affect your gut. So little particles of food I was eating were getting into my bloodstream. My body then attacked the foreign articles...and in doing so was attacking my own joints. Animal protein, dairy and gluten in that order are the most common pain triggers for RA. Without these in my diet and with the intense amount of healing food that is super easy for my body to digest my gut is healing.

Paddington says it took him about two years to not wake up with the stiffness and the pain, but within 4 months he was able to run again.

I will be excited to go back to my doctor in 3 weeks on the road to feeling better and see how he might help me continue in this journey. But I know these things for sure: Even if I have to be on a Vegan eating plan forever RA will not keep me from having a full life, I will do whatever it takes to pick up a grandchild in the years to come, I will be able to hold my husbands hand without it hurting, I will be grateful for where I am today, where I was yesterday and where I will be tomorrow. Thanks be to God.

God made our bodies to heal themselves...like a cut on the hand. But in my case I was not creating an environment that was conducive to that healing.

Here is the link to the RA Program I am using.
http://www.paddisonprogram.com/store/paddison-program-for-ra/

I found the You Tube video's by Dr. McDougall VERY helpful! This video not only addresses RA but all the other auto immune diseases as well. You can find a full eating plan on Dr. McDougall's website and everything on the site is free. So there is no necessity in paying for anything if you go this route.
Here is his website. https://www.drmcdougall.com/
Here is a link to a great video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldsMEHV8OxI

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