I was diagnosised with Rheumatoid Arthritis about 6 years ago. I did not want to go on the terrible medications that are used to treat RA but my doctor told me that I had explosive RA and if I did not get it under control I would be in a wheelchair within a year. I felt so trapped!!!! There were still so many things I wanted to do that couldn’t be done from a wheelchair. I wanted to be able to play in the floor with my future grandchildren. I wanted to continue to enjoy horseback riding and camping. I believed there had to be better option than either a wheelchair or the risk of liver disease or cancer but I didn’t know one and my doctor didn’t either so I caved in and started on the medications. I started out on methotrexate and prednisone but the methotrexate didn’t work and the levels of prednisone I had to take to relieve the pain was so high I could only take it for short periods of time. It only took a few months before I decided to try weekly Enbrel injections. It worked better than the methotrexate but still left me with alot of breakthrough pain. There were days when I got out of bed I had to use a walker to get to the bathroom and get ready for work and times when I would come home from work wondering if I could make it up the flight of stairs to get into our home. It got to where I couldn’t go down to the barn and work with the horses and only rode a couple of times a year. When we went camping I would have to take the maximum dose of prednisone to be able to climb in and out of the camper.
I didn’t want to be a slave to the RA or the medicine and still believed their had to be a better way. I would surf the internet looking for alternatives but every site had a different opinion like; bee sting therapy, giving up red meat, taking weird herbs, etc. I finally became somewhat accustomed to taking the meds and living with the risks. Still deep inside of me I knew there had to be a better way, if only it would find me because I sure wasn’t having any luck finding it.
I was so excited when my oldest daughter had our first grandbaby. He was the light of my life. I held him, I cuddled him, I made a fool out of myself with him but I still couldn’t play in the floor with him. I couldn’t walk down to the pond with him. I couldn’t play catch or kickball with him. I was heartbroken and I felt cheated. I had done what the doctors said and I still couldn’t do the things I dreamed of doing and there were still times when the pain was so bad I had to use a walker or cane and go to physical therapy so that I could stay mobile.
Then in the Spring last year I decided once again to tackle my issues with weight. I started a regimen of drinking protein shakes for breakfast and supper and eating a regular lunch. This seemed to be working well for losing weight and even helped a little with my mobility. I continued that through the Summer and Fall. Then I heard about a plan that took it farther than just doing the protein shakes. The shakes were being used in conjunction with a 30 day elimination diet and other supplements. I got the information but after reading it I thought it was too restrictive and that I could never stick with it. In January of this year I went to a meeting where several of the people had tried the complete program and were talking about the additional health benefits they had reaped with it. I was particularly interested in a couple of people who also had auto-immune disorders that seemed to be going into remission. One lady who had not yet started the full program spoke up and said “I am going to give this a try. I can do almost anything for 30 days.” So I came home and that statement laid heavy on my heart for a couple of weeks.
On February 8th of this year I started on the full program still thinking it was going to be an awful 30 days. Within the first two weeks I realized that the hardest part was actually doing the grocery shopping. I had to read every label of every thing I bought, that is if it had a label. I had to go to several stores in order to get all the organic food I needed, but I finally learned how to complete my shopping without spending hours reading labels (don’t buy much with labels – eat real food.) By the end of the 30 days I was feeling so much better my Rheumotologist started me on a plan to wean me off the Enbrel. So I decided to do another 30 days and see what happened.
I am now almost at the end of 90 days on the program and I continue to progress. I am not saying I am pain free but my pain is significantly reduced. I have only had bad pain 4 days on the program and that was 2 days when I ate things that were highly inflammatory and 2 days when I was under extreme stress. In the last 3 weeks I have been able to go down to the barn a couple of days a week and work with a girl who is training a pony we bought for our grandson. Today I rode my horse for a while and when I got down my husband applauded my dismount. He said he is convinced that it won’t be long until I will no longer have to use a stool to get mounted.
I have a dream board of places I want to see and things I want to do and one of those dreams is to take hunter/jumper riding lessons. I can now see that as a reality some day and not just a dream.
I don’t know if what I am doing would work for you but no matter what keep on looking for and believing in a better way. Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn’t have to win. Take your life back!!!!