Monday, December 26, 2016

The Year of Getting Healthy

2016 was my year to get healthy.

I decided that this post would end another year of blogging, and that I needed to share it in hopes that it would help someone else out there in Blog Land. I will be sharing this with a number of linky parties.

After suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis for almost 20 years, I had reached a point where I really thought I would continue the downward cycle and might never know a pain free day again.

I was diagnosed with RA in my late 30's (late 1990's). I remember one winter that my fingers hurt so badly that even putting the dry erase marker caps back on the marker was extremely painful. (teacher) Then one day, my shoulder started hurting so that I thought I must have injured it with my teacher bag. During a routine doctor appointment, my doctor did an X-ray of it. He was the first to diagnose the disease.

Throughout the next 2 decades, I slowly added weight (a couple pounds a year). I chalked some of it up to aging and being busy with family and work.

I banked on feeling better when I retired.

I don't recommend this approach to life at all. I have some regrets there, but it is what it is... My hope is that if there is anyone out there in the same boat, that maybe this will help change their course.

I took all the RA medicines --- and I mean all of them. They all worked for awhile to relieve symptoms, but never long term. Some were worse on my body than others. Hair loss, bruises, and yes, weight gain were side effects. I really didn't think weight gain until the last one.

It is very hard to find any negative information on the medicines prescribed for RA, since the pharmaceutical industry has a hold on that kind of information. However, if you take the time to read discussion boards and dig deep into the comments, you will find them.

In October of 2015, I decided enough was enough.  I felt horrible and the before picture at the end of the post shows the reality of what happened over time. Now, granted it is not the best picture of me. No makeup, leisure clothes, hair up...etc. I am sharing it because it was a slap in the face of where I was. That is why I didn't look for a better picture. That picture is reality.

The second to the last medication had caused lung nodules, and the last medication put the last few pounds and had me so pale that I looked jaundiced. Everyone kept asking me if I felt ok, because I was so pale.

I sought out a new doctor and a new plan other than the traditional medicine.

I started my new plan on November 4, 2015. Honestly, it is a date I will remember forever. It was the date that began a change that has made an unbelievable difference.

I started my detox that day. I did a 30 day detox and lived through it. I totally recommend it. There are tons out there. Mine was a specific doctor prescribed detox. My journey to this doctor was nothing less than God's answers to prayer. He walked away from the head of neurology at a hospital in a neighboring city to me. I knew him and couldn't believe the path that he was taking, but I am forever grateful he took this path. He is now a wellness doctor. I know it would be hard for people to go and seek out something like this. You don't know who to believe because it will be probably be very different information than you have received in the past.

In fact, my rheumatologist was not very happy with me and dismissed a melanoma that I believe to be caused from the last drug she prescribed for me.

The wonderful thing about the detox is that it will rid your body of all the toxins and reset your metabolism. I knew I could do anything for 30 days.

Oh and by the way, do a little research about the change in the food supply in the late 1990's. Plenty of videos out there. I would have probably dismissed them prior to my life changing experience.

At the end of my detox, I truly couldn't believe how well I felt. Better than I had felt in ages. I then proceeded to get "my life time list of foods" that I could eat.

This list is basically this...

  • gluten free
  • absolutely NO high fructose corn syrup
  • organic fruits and vegetables
  • organic everything...meats (no hormones)
  • avoid preservatives or anything chemical (if you don't recognize it ---don't eat it) 

I have been a year in progress and have been able to keep it off. I am still 5 pounds from where I want to end up and feel sure I will get there. After all, I didn't get where I was overnight.

I am on no RA medicine at all. I am symptom free unless I veer from my food list. At this point, it isn't hard anymore. No pain keeps you on your program.

I didn't come off my medicine until two months in the new program. I kind of thought I didn't need it, but I have been told over and over that it helped keep joint damage down. A melanoma changed all of that. I had a spot on my back pop up and in just two weeks it turned nasty. The morning I went to the dermatologist I knew I would never take the RA meds again. Never missed them. My color came back and the damage from the medicines is slowly disappearing with time.

The only medicine I take is my thyroid medicine. That runs in my family, but I had two autoimmune things going on. 

Over time I have learned to like a whole lot of new things and have found so many wonderful substitutes for any craving I might have.

I am putting a link to some other posts I have written on this subject for further thoughts.

My hope is anyone out there struggling from weight issues, RA, or any other autoimmune diseases that you would seek out medical help from a wellness doctor. Find one that really cares and will see you through to being whole and healthy again. There is a way!

If nothing else, try the whole 30 stuff...just do it. Your body will thank you.

As someone who weighed 105 at age 24 and 150 at age 54 and who found out that retirement wasn't going to make me feel better, I want you to know there is a better way. It means a lifestyle change, but it can be done.

Now, my doctor visits included many classes about toxins, sleep, stress, etc. Start researching and I pray if you where I was you can find the help.

A few other posts...

This is where I am today.

I know I am simplifying things a bit, because it really was an education process, but my prayer is that if you find yourself where I was you will find a way to change that. I have cleaned up my cleaning products as well. It is all about the toxins out there!!! at least for us with autoimmune conditions.

Feeling better than I have in 20 years,

I will be linking up with some parties as they come up...


  1. Boy, I missed all my blog buddies!! So glad you are continuing to do well. I have to get back on the wagon in January. After having surgery and not being able to walk, some pounds have crept back on!! They are going bye bye!! Like you, I feel so much better when I am staying disciplined.

    1. It does take discipline, but it is worth it.

  2. Sandy, I have read all of your health journey posts and I'm so inspired by your fortitude and progress! Your story has been a blessing to me! You do know that I'm a retired teacher,too, don't ya? We have so much in common and I am going to seek out a wellness doctor as soon as I locate one.

    1. I do know that you are a teacher too:)
      Going to a wellness doctor was the best thing I ever did. Nothing is covered by insurance...bloodwork at best. He was able to tell me which vitamins I needed. You read so much out there and before him I was skeptical or unsure what to do. He pulled it altogether for me. Our food is just not the same, so eating from your garden and avoiding any of the manmade chemical stuff is a must. I use all of the items you mentioned today...ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil. It took some experimenting, but over time I know what causes problems. I love ketchup, but can only eat the kind with no high fructose corn syrup. I do better with veggies, no gluten, and no dairy. I know I need the protein, but I do better with plant based. I can and do eat meats, but only those grass fed, organic, no hormones, etc.
      I truly feel better than I have in years. I have very little inflammation and can usually tell you what I did to cause it. It is funny...we would buy fruit trying to be healthy and it would go to waste on the counter, but I live for that now. Organic tastes better...that I am convinced of. Keep up your posts. IT will help someone.

  3. Found it! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, and thank you for sharing your story!

  4. I love seeing this! I've got several autoimmune issues, but aside from eye drops I manage them with diet and exercise. Yes, it takes effort, but it's so worth it. I'm about 8-10 pounds from where I'd ideally like to be, but my blood test numbers are good and my autoimmune numbers have improved. So glad to have found your blog.


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