Diane D. Aronson – Update on my progress: Summer, 2017
Diane’s original story was featured in Henry Scammell’s, The New Arthritis Breakthrough (Chapter 5: Witness: Diane Aronson, pages 69-80).
It was an honor to have my journey with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and antibiotic treatment chronicled by author Henry Scammel. And, it has been a journey for more than 25 years.
If you have read my story in one of Henry Scammel’s books, you may know that before I started antibiotic treatment, I had a history of infections, infertility, cancer, many surgeries – along with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). My RA was slowing me down, with my inability to lead a normal life and with its tremendous pain. My disease created a lack of a good quality of life and deep despair – this before I found my road back to health.
While the following is my chronicled journey, since my story was first published, I want to include that I respect and understand everyone’s chosen journey and the medications and choices that have brought about renewed health. Each of us is different with our disease manifestations and I would never say never to what may work for any one of us as well as what hopeful options may lie ahead in the future. What I can share is my experience.
At the time of my RA diagnosis (while pregnant in 1975 and with sky high rheumatoid factors), there was nothing more in the world I wanted than to be a healthy mother to our daughter whom we had wanted so much. As such, I researched and decided on potential medical treatment-options which had the least amount of risk for any medical concern that I faced. This was my path of choice and I was fortunate to find caring physicians along the way who supported my chosen options, even when my choice wasn’t based on their training or clinical practice.
I may be unusual, that despite the degree and seriousness of my RA (RA factors of more than 10,000, etc.), I did not choose to use corticosteroids to manage my disease or pain (never have). After my research concerning clinical trials, potential medications’ benefits and risks and attendance at support groups for RA, I decided to be straight-forward in my treatment-approach. Early on in my journey, I had been prescribed a number of medications and different drugs for pain and offered several options. I stopped the heavy pain medications early on as I did not want to become dependent. I became determined to “watch” my pain, adjust my life and react to my symptoms with rest, movement when possible and a healthier diet.
Diet has been important. I eat vegetables three times a day, lots of berries, some whole grains and a diet most easily described as the Mediterranean diet. I have tried food elimination at times and for now, eat very little or no dairy (but this hasn’t always been so).
Exercise has been an important part of my life since a child. Despite my disease and severe pain, I pushed through for years doing aerobic exercises and am still active with movement every day.
My journey has pretty much been as a medication purist on only antibiotic treatment. I took to heart that progress would be slow and it was. I took supplements along with my doxycycline antibiotic (100 mgs doxycycline hyclate M/W/F twice a day) – Kyolic garlic 600 units, 1000 mgs rosehip vitamin C, a cod liver oil pill, a B-Complex and vitamin E for many years. If I had a sinus infection, I would stop the doxycycline, take an appropriate antibiotic, and then resume my doxycycline treatment.
Since my early twenties, I had experienced pain in various degrees and associated conditions (many of the co-morbidities of RA). After starting my antibiotic treatment, my pain and mobility improved with each passing year (it was slow but exciting improvement). My quality of life improved tremendously and my pain became manageable and bearable. For now, if I have a day with some pain-discomfort, I rest or, very occasionally, take an Aleve.
After nearly 25 successful years on pulsed doxycycline for my rheumatoid arthritis, I stopped treatment in the spring of 2015. I have not found a cure through this path, but an improvement to heartily celebrate. Although I don’t have the profile, I am pre-diabetic so wanted to evaluate this aspect of my health. After my many years of progressing well and having managed an extensive job work-load, I thought it might be time to try my day-to-day life without the antibiotic treatment.
Overall, I continue to do well. My prediabetes is stable. I still have my RA disease as seropositive and sometimes with daily issues related to very occasional intestinal issues or pesky sinus, fungal or bladder infections which I manage with diet and a supplement. I am on no medication – none. My cholesterol levels and blood pressure are normal. I take no daily vitamin supplements. I take Aleve maybe once a month, if that, but nothing else for the pain which I can experience in various forms.
Pain is never experienced now in a debilitating way that alters my active life as it used to before my positive antibiotic treatment-success. One would never guess I have the disease as the bone structure in my hands and spine have improved, I have a very good quality of life and good posture (as I watch people of my age getting shorter!).
I now live full time in a sunny, warm climate and swim every morning which helps tremendously. I am very active including as a weekly volunteer for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) in their art room, am a portrait oil painter, on the Board of Directors of my Home Owners Association and with many social friendships and activities. For the years, since I retired from my full-time work, I have volunteered and also have served as a Consumer and Patient Representative.
I am now 70 and am so grateful that I connected with Dr. Brown’s work in 1988 and Henry Scammell’s first book about the treatment. I believe pulsed antibiotic treatment saved my life, given all my associated medical conditions, and especially gave back my quality of life. In the 1980s, when I was experiencing depression from my disease, I sought the help of a therapist. She called my rheumatologist who told her that I should expect to spend my life in a wheel chair as my lab reports were so serious.
My eyes fill up when I think about knowing dear Henry Scammell and the wonderful friends through the Road Back Foundation so many years ago. I owe the quality of life that I have today to the information and research learned through first hearing about an antibiotic protocol on an ABC network 20/20 program featuring Dr. Brown (1988) as well as to caring physicians who have respected my health journey and witnessed my success.
By the way, my husband and I recently returned this summer from an African safari in Kenya and Tanzania, witnessing the amazing animal migration in the Serengeti. Never in my wildest thoughts, during my disease laden days, so many years ago, did I believe that I could have taken and enjoyed an adventure such as this with so many joys and wonders.
My best is sent to all as we each continue our journeys on our road back.