Home Forums Personal History and Progress Threads Walking on the road back & not looking back !

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    I am sure my story is very similar to those of many of you here but I though I?ll put it down into writing to make my recovery more vivid to myself and for all those who might find it helpful for themselves. This will be a little  long so I hope I won?t bore you !

    I was only twenty-one when I first had a multiple joint inflammation. At the time I was back in Italy saving money to come over to the UK. My knees, feet and ankles and later on my elbows became stiff and swollen, it was July 1996. I was working really hard to put enough money to move and I was determined to continue no matter what. I went to see a specialist at the local university Hospital, I don?t recall what he diagnosed me with, but he prescribed me with some strong NSAID which immediately upset my stomach. I decided to stop the treatment and carried on.
    I moved to the UK in September 1996, my joints were still stiff and swollen. I was staying with a family working as an au-pair at the time so I didn?t tell them about the problems I was experiencing for fear of being sent back. I pulled through pretending that nothing was wrong until the inflammation started to disappear by itself. By summer 1997 I was fine, all had gone back to normal. I regained my normal life, despite my knees being slightly swollen every now and then for a few year later.

    That was until  the first week of February 2006  when my left knee started to swell and carried on getting bigger and bigger until it was enormous.
    I went to see my GP who told me that it was a sprain or something similar, young and active, surely this was the case. When the knee was so big that I lost mobility of the leg I was sent to hospital for further testing,  all  of  which was negative. Again the doctor at the hospital told me I must have injured it. My GP thought about draining some of the synovial liquid to analyze it. By the time my appointment for the procedure cam the knee wasn?t so big anymore. It was stiff and I had lost mobility in the legs. Four weeks had passed by then, I kept on taking NSAIDs with no result. Very quickly the stiffness spread to the other knee,  my feet, ankles, elbows, hands and wrists.
    By April 2006 I was trapped in my own body and my GP didn?t know what to say or do. I was referred to a rheumatologist at the local hospital but the waiting time was very long.
    My partner had to help me and assist me with every single daily life activity. It was degradating and humiliating. I was depressed and cross.

    My employer decided to pay for a private rheumatologist to see me. In the second week of April , I finally saw a rheumy and I was diagnosed with sera-negative poly-arthritis. I had no idea or knowledge of what the standard medical treatment for arthritis was. I was put on a 3 weeks course of cortisone and then in the third week of May I started on MXT.
    The results were immediate, I regained 60% of my mobility, the swelling was still there though. I started researching MXT and fear and paranoia about all the side effects that came with it grew with the amount of Information I gained.  Five months into the treatment my liver function went sky high. I started getting more and more concerned about taking MXT, I had panic attacks all the time I had to take it. Eventually I decided to stop taking it all together in the last days of November 2007. By then I was able to move quite well so I asked my rheumy to stop. She was very understanding, she discharged me from the clinic and told me to keep out of trouble !

    In May 2007 I started having a flare up, my right knee, neck and hip this time. All the worries and fears started to come back. I did not want to go back on MXT and I was not ready to give up !
    After a fairly depressing summer and with an even more depressing winter on the way
    I was desperate and I started browsing the web looking for alternative treatments for arthritis.
    It was then that I came across a post of a lady in Australia who had followed the AB therapy and had improved drastically. I searched further, came across this website, bought the book,  ?New Arthritis breakthrough? and kept on researching the subject.
    In October 2007 I went to see my GP with plenty of informative material on the subject asking him to have some minocin. He didn?t even look at the material I had, gave me a funny look and told me this was an unorthodox and controversial treatment. He was happy to prescribe me some antibiotic ? which I had to pay for as minocin is too expensive for the NHS ? and I was on my own with the treatment ! I left totally depressed and feeling stupid.
    I started taking the antibiotics, changed my diet radically  (eliminated sugary food, diary, junk food, wheat ) and now have having plenty of fruit & veg everyday).
    By November 2007 I started noticing little improvements. In April 2008 I was dancing at a friend?s birthday party and I stopped taking any NSAID !  The ESR and all blood tests have gone back to normal for the first time in 2 year. By May 2008 I was taking Pilates classes and from then on I had my life back. Believe it or not by the end of the summer I was my old self. Like if nothing had ever happened, I had lost weight and I felt really healthy.  I receive AB via the post from Italy from my sister on a regular basis to avoid going to see my GP asking for repeat prescriptions. I take 100mg Minocine chloride MTW, high potency probiotics, omega oils and vitamin integrators every day.

    On February 16th  2009 I had a cold, I had to fly to Milan for work. On February 19th my right knee was swollen. It has been swollen since then, some days is really bad some others is okish. I still have this really strange cold. I feel tired quite easily, the morning are a little difficult, I feel my legs heavy. I can feel the flare up spreading to my neck to my hands slights and to my feet. I have kept a diary of the events. My hands feel quite heavy and together with my feet they go pins and needles quiet often.  This time I am determined not to get depressed, I will carry on as normal, no bandages, no cold packs , no laying on the sofa to rest my legs. If I commiserate myself and let go I will fall in a vicious circle. I am convinced that I am not going back to be trapped in my body and I won?t let it happen.
    I have an appointment with a doctor who applies AP treatment here in the UK on April 8th. I feel lucky to have come across this forum and to have a doctor not far from here willing to treat me.

    I will give you more updates after my first appointment with the AP doctor here in the UK.

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