Facing Disease

My Story:
RA and Choosing A Mostly Raw Food Extremely Low Fat Diet
After I tried everything else...I got the point...I had to use food to heal my body, because food got me into this mess...and I believe that. I am convinced our society's eating habits are killing us all slowly. Obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, auto-immune disease, every single gastro-intestinal disease can be reversed through diet...

It took me awhile to embrace the concept because let's face it, we live in a fast food, instant gratification, the higher fat content the better society...

I went to an RA specialist, who after almost three years of unsuccessful drug treatments, convinced me to try Humira, a biological drug, because it would address my RA caused chronic pain (7-9 scale most days), and severe digestive/intestinal issues... I received an injection once a month and learned to dread week four (because previous injections have meant a miserable week four with a full return of symptoms and pain flairs from hell) only to get an injection and have a full week of intense flu like symptoms...the trade off was that for two weeks out of four I felt mostly normal. Not twenty-something, but not sixty-something either. The problem was that after three injections I started having severe mood-related problems...read depression that lasted 4-7 days... and then my body rebelled and all of my allergies went haywire, meaning my mold allergies and msg sensitivity went berserk.

I had to change my diet to survive...no eating out, no processed food of any kind, meaning everything had to be made from scratch...and avoid mold at all cost, even a spec of bread mold or bathroom tile mold could send me to bed for days.

I had to go off the Humira because the side-effects just got worse and worse.
I went on Simponi because it was supposed to be the newest and best...and for me it was amazing for four months. I still had the msg and mold allergies I thought might kil me but I was pain free and didn't feel like I had the flu... and then I took the fourth injection and a chaos bomb went off inside my body. A bout of rage based depression hit four hours after the injection and the return of the flu-like symptoms starting the day after the injection...both severe side-effects lasted two full weeks.

I haven't taken the Simponi since and refuse to try another biologic. Whatever hapens to cause the symptoms I had was scary enough...on top of all the other risks I faced: lowered immunity and heightened risk of infection and cancer.

After ten days of absolute misery I did a ten day juice fast to try to flush the toxins from my body and it must have worked because within four days I felt amazing. No flu symptoms, no anger, no depression, no joint pain.

I'm now back to 90% raw...and feel better than I have in a long time.

That doesn't mean cold, rainy days don't make me a little achy, but on a level of 1-2 not 7-8...

My Day To Day With RA before going RAW
I learned to not make promises...I'd cancelled too many lunch dates with friends...
My social life ceased to exist.

I stopped writing, except for on the rare good day and my editors knew my deadlines would probablty need to be extended...

Meditation became my Salvation. All I can say was my father must have seen this coming because meditation has been a part of my life since I was a very young child, although I never really appreciated it as a survival tool until RA. Meditation became my escape from pain... boredom... depression... 

What I've did for three years...
I think any time anyone faces a chronic or serious illness, they instinctively start looking at their diet and improvements they can make to it. The question is, why don't we just eat healthy all the time? 

My focus was getting as much nutrients into my body with each meal that I can... RAW does that for me. Raw fruit, raw veggies, few sweeteners (honey, agave), and as little processed food as I can manage..

I found a great article on a low-fat vegan diet being used to reverse RA. It gave me the back-up I needed to convince others who feel I might be following a fad...

Hippocrates said, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food."

That pretty much summed it up...I planned to reverse RA with diet...knowing I didn't get sick overnight...this may take awhile but I know it will work...and it's working!

2013-Tweeking The Diet
Mostly raw worked for my RA, by maintaining less than 10% fat in my diet, I could guarantee no joint pain.
The problem being food temptations...eating out...holidays...and I paid a heavy price every time I went off the raw wagon...and going raw wasn't exactly having the same success with my Chronic Gastro-intestinal complaints so tweeking-the-diet has been part of this adventure... not any one diet works 100% for everyone, although I am a firm believer that EVERY chronically ill person who want to Live and See Change should begin with Juicing...followed by Raw followed by improved health...followed by tweeking.

Discovering the Low-Fodmap Diet and using the approved food list in conjunction with my 90-5-5 to 
80-10-10 daily goal range and tracking my food intake on Chrono-meter has vastly improved my GI problems.

DON'T GIVE UP... my journey of 3 years improving daily has been hugely better than my three prior years stuck between bed and couch!  

I give myself reiki, I ask my friends to send long distance reiki, and if they are not trained to send light and love... Reiki makes me feel empowered... in control... that I am doing something to combat this disease

I'm dealing day, to day, to day...
If you are dealing with chronic illness, or know someone who is. These are great links...

The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino

15 Things To Not Say To Someone With RA  (or anyone with chronic illness)


Nov. 2010 - 188 pounds

April 2011
In Nov, 2010, I weighed 188 pounds, my eyes and face were swollen looking.  I was using a cane...  There were days I barely managed walking from the couch to the bathroom and needed help to manage the stairs. Every day I took a nap from 1pm-4pm... and still I stayed exhausted all day. I looked years older than my 47 years...

Nov 2011- 144 pounds
I feel like my health is better... I am thinner, I weigh 144 pounds... my eyes and face are no longer puffy... I am walking every day at least one mile a day. No cane! And days of laying on the sofa absolutely miserable are a past memory. The biggest improvement is how I feel... I am full of energy and the days of afternoon naps are gone.

Some will argue that the biologic drugs are solely to thank, I disagree...because I know how my body actually feels...but the proof will be revealed over the next 100 days after I do not take any more Simponi injections...
Just so there is no doubt that I no longer have the puffy eyes, here is a face shot...up close... no make-up. Do you think I look closer to my real age now? I do...
I didn't label the photos before/after because it is during, it is still during and ongoing... my body and my health is a work in progress...

 April 2012:                                                                       June 2012: