Rheumatoid Arthritis

Father Andrew 2002 ENG

My move to a new house meant the need to decorate. I’d always considered myself reasonably fit and active, so the aches that developed whilst doing the painting and papering I passed off as nothing more than me rediscovering muscles not used for a while. I moved in January 2000. By the August of that year it took me over an hour to get out of bed. Forget about brushing my teeth or washing my hair – there was no way my arms would ever move that far up. Walking was agony; my wrists made driving nigh-impossible, and why was I so depressed???

I was “fortunate” in that I was soon referred to a rheumatologist – which in the UK is almost a miracle in itself! In September 2000 I was diagnosed with RA and so stepped onto the usual drugs treadmill: steroid injections and methotrexate. I felt somewhat better, but the methotrexate made me feel ill whilst the steroid’s relief was only temporary and I was told to last out for as long as I could before asking for the next jab. By chance I came across The New Arthritis Breakthrough by Henry Scammell. Being a parish priest, I am used to hearing about all aspects of human nature – so reading this book brought out the ‘yeah, sure that REALLY happened’ nature in me! But desperate times demand desperate measures, so I followed up the book with further research into the official studies mentioned within its pages.

Ever the skeptic, I began emailing some of the people in the book – and then got onto the bulletin board of the RBF web site. Eventually I plucked up the courage to mention AP to my rheumatologist – and got the answer I expected: “Utter rubbish.” This didn’t disturb me, though. I presented him with all the studies I had found and asked him to consider me as his guinea pig if he thought it had any merit. He did and so on the 13th of November 2001 I began the Road Back.

Just over a year later I could say that I am about 80% better. I jump out of bed in the morning, I can ride horses again, I play badminton – and I can THINK clearly! The depression has gone and now I look forward to the future, rather than fear it. I still see this as early days and so look forward to seeing more improvements in my wrists – which everyone on the web site bulletin board tells me seem to be the last to improve greatly. The result of my rheumy’s studies: AP is not a scam, neither is it a treatment for people who are a bit “flaky;” it is an approved method for treating various inflammatory ailments. My rheumy is so impressed he’s trying AP on other patients of his. My Church is impressed that they’ve got their vicar back.

Methotrexate and steroids or antibiotics? The former was taking my life away the latter has given it back to me. Which would you choose?

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