My journey from pain to recovery started in 2006. I started experiencing pain in my right knee. I thought it was just a strain from running. I ran often and was even a member of my Company’s running team. Thinking nothing of it I wrapped my knee and kept on training, I had a marathon to prepare for. I ran the race but the pain in my knee persisted.
Weeks went by and my knee pain started to move to other parts of my body. I was also becoming more and more fatigued, I wasn’t sleeping well and my whole body just ached and was beginning to have night sweats, so badly I would wake up and change my night clothing. I became increasingly worried because I have never had a major illness. I made an appointment to see my doctor. My family doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with me and basically told me I might have the flu. I accepted this and went back to work.
It wasn’t until both my hands started to swell that I became really scared, I returned to the doctor’s office and she looked really alarmed. There is nothing scarier than when your doctor looks more scared than you do. I was booked to see a Rheumatologist right away. I was tested for Lupus, RA, MS and some other tests I cannot remember; in the end all the signs pointed to Rheumatoid Arthritis. And so at the age of 34 the battle for my health began.
My first Rheumatologist prescribed Methotrexate and Prednisone. He wanted to be very aggressive with the treatment. I was scared and in considerable pain at this point, but what I read about these drugs scared me, I refused to take them. I asked him if there was anything else less invasive, he became frustrated with me. This Rheumatologist proceeded to tell me that he has been a physician longer than I’d been alive and if I didn’t start getting serious about my disease I would eventually end up in a wheelchair. I parted ways with this doctor because he was old school and didn’t care about my concerns.
I eventually found another Rheumatologist who prescribed the same treatment, but was extremely excited about trying the new biologics if the methotrexate didn’t work. I told her I wanted to try alternative treatments; she laughed and said she would give me 6 months to try all the natural treatments I wanted but eventually I would be back. She also kindly informed me that if I didn’t start the RA treatment soon I would eventually lose the ability to work and earn a living. She ended the conversation by saying without the RA treatment I would probably die at least a decade earlier than my peers. I still refused to give in. I eventually gave up on all Rheumatologists, I decided to go it alone, and I had no idea what kind of journey awaited me.
My joints were on fire, my weight dropped from a healthy 130 pounds to approximately 110 pounds. I looked sick and unhealthy. Sometimes when my sister would visit me, she would have to help me get off the sofa and at times lift my feet into my bed because I didn’t have the strength to do it myself. It seemed as though every joint in my body was rebelling against me. I could barely open doors, walking was a task; it felt like I was walking on glass at times. Eventually I had to use a cane to assist with my walking because my hip bones hurt so much. Some mornings my fingers and wrist hurt so badly I would have to ask my condo concierge to help me zip up my winter coat before heading out to work. I learned to ask for help allot during this time.
I started adjusting my life to accommodate my limitations, but I refused to give up. I had my pity parties and then I would keep searching for a “cure”. I couldn’t see myself living in such pain for the rest of my life. I went through many different emotions, depression, frustration and a little anger. I even wondered what man would want someone like me. As a woman I felt less desirable and my self-confidence was slowly slipping away.
I spent thousands of dollars on natural treatments. I must have tried every vitamin supplement s and natural procedures known to man. Eventually, I discovered oxygen therapy at a local clinic. I started on Hydrogen Peroxide infusions and though it might have helped some I was still in allot of pain. I did more research and found the book “The New Arthritis Breakthrough” by Henry Scammell. I read it and thought the antibiotic therapy sounded plausible. I was fortunate my new doctor, a Medical Doctor/Naturopathic practitioner was open to trying new treatment methods so I asked him to help me. I started with Minocin, the pain got a little better, but I knew I was missing something so I did more research.
Eventually, I found a site that suggested taking antibiotics for Viral, Fugal and Bacterial infections at the same time since no one knows what type of infection the body is fighting. I asked my doctor again to help and he prescribed the three different antibiotics. I couldn’t believe it, but within 2 months the pain literally started to melt away. My blood tests started coming back more normal each month.
Within no time I was sleeping better, I was getting up without pain and eventually I no longer needed the cane. I couldn’t believe that after 4 years of suffering my body was healing. I was pretty much pain free within 5 months. I continued to take the antibiotic for about 5 more months along with milk thistle to protect my liver and probiotics for my stomach flora balance.
It is now 2013 and I have been pain free for about 3years. Sometimes I still feel some pain now and then especially when I don’t pay attention to certain foods and their ingredients. I try to exercise my joints that were weakened from the disease. I don’t run anymore but I have taken up Spinning, Pilates, Swimming and Boxing. I try to live the best stress free life I can.
I’m so grateful to the website The Road Back Foundation, the Antibiotic protocol and my doctor in Toronto who wasn’t afraid to think outside the box. Without this community of people and my family and friends I would not have been able to travel to India to see the Taj Mahal, Vietnam to see Ha Long Bay or Cambodia to climb Angkor Wat. I’ve travelled to these wonderful countries on my own, energized, healthy and pain free.
I do not know what my future will bring because of having RA as part of my medical history, but I do know that right now my mind, body and soul is healthy and getting stronger because I refused to accept the hopeless future that was presented to me.