To celebrate the first 6 months of the 365 pain-free days blog, I would like to share the story of how I overcame my Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Known to be chronic and incurable, Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease that destroys your joints one by one. It is an excruciating and intractable chronic illness. I was diagnosed with RA at age 20, as it runs in my family on both sides it was no surprise to the doctors, but a huge shock for me.
My interests at the time were dancing ballet, horseback riding, rock climbing, sailing, painting and blacksmithing. I had an active life, and had no interest in spending time in hospitals and doctors offices, but after six months of RA pain the disease had taken over my entire life. I was hobbling on crutches to and from the rheumatology ward three times a week for examinations, tests, cortisone injections and physiotherapy. The physiotherapists were happy to inform me that I could have a wheelchair with a titanium frame, and that they were soooo much better than the old aluminum models. The doctors had me on cortisone and cell poisoning (methotrexate) - which were known as the best drugs for RA back then (early nineties).
Feeling certain that there was something I could do to get better, I tried every kind of self-help option, diet plan and alternative treatment available in search of my "magic healing key" with little effect. Vegan, macrobiotic, stoneage diets and blood type diets...no sugar, no coffee, no processed foods... I tried it all. Blood samples taken by my doctors had shown that I was on the borderline for gluten-allergy, but it wasn't till a year later that this information clicked into place.
Arthritis is an auto-immune disease. Anything that affects my immune system negatively is bound to provoke my RA.
When I broke my back in a bus accident I had to learn to walk again while suffering a violent RA flare, and the situation was desperate. My father came across an article by Ashton Embry linking auto-immune disease and food intolerance. I decided to try his advice (this research has now been expanded and is called the "Best Bet Diet") and went on a strict gluten free & dairy-free diet. I noticed results quickly, and after two weeks my RA symptoms halted - the disease stopped right in the middle of an active flare. It has never returned.
The rheumatologists told me it would come back, that this was just a freak occurrence or a fortunate but temporary remission. That was 15 years ago.
Sure, I still have muscle pain, tendinitis, occasional stiffness, swelling, muscle inflammation, fatigue and various other symptoms of RA, but the active inflammation is gone. My joints are not being destroyed, and as you can see from my "Try something new" post, it is really not holding me back from adventurous acrobatic pursuits. I stick to my gluten-free diet. I do the things I write about in this blog, and I am grateful every day for the fact that I dared to challenge the doctor's "incurability sentence".
I'm not saying that food allergy was the key to healing my RA, but it was definitely a big part of it. Dairy and wheat were a large part of my daily diet, and the mild allergic reaction was constantly provoking my RA. Removing that trigger calmed the disease. Maybe there are many of us who have allergies we don't know about that are provoking our health problems.
Wishing you all the best in finding your magical key...