Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Natural Things I Do to Maintain my Autoimmune Rheumatoid Disease

Here I am, after years of suffering, feeling beautiful and whimsical and more free in my body than I have been in ages. Someone who hasn't battled what I battled might not understand how beautiful this photo truly is. Imagine being in so much pain your brain refuses to think. Imagine your joints being so stiff you literally cannot move your neck, arms, or waist/hips. Imagine you can't brush your own hair. Imagine you can barely bathe yourself because you can't reach behind you. Imagine you can't eat. Imagine having chest pains and dizziness and heart palpitations. Imagine you're living through all of that, and MORE, and yet no one can tell you what is going on. Not your family doctor, not the ER doctors, not the DOZENS of specialists you saw, not even the "Dr. House" type doctor, the one who is supposed to figure out mystery illnesses, all he could tell you is that your vitamins are low. Imagine this goes on FOR YEARS. I thought I was dying, I was living through hell, but I never gave up hope. My life truly began to change the day I received a diagnosis. Ankylosing Axial Spondyloarthropathy. An autoimmune disease that most often hits men over 40. Some people might think a diagnosis of a serious disease is depressing, for me it was what began to lift my depression. Not knowing, being treated by health care professionals like you're just crazy and stressed, is absolutely the worst. I needed to know I wasn't going to die. I was reassured that if I took care of myself I would not die from THIS disease, although having it leaves me open to others. Challenge accepted! Whatever comes my way, comes. After all, this isn't the first time I've been diagnosed with something. I was diagnosed with a small brain tumor at 22 so it seems battling health issues will be my burden. I'm determined to take that burden and turn it into something that can help and inspire others. In this modern day of widespread illness, I need to be strong so I can show others how to be strong too. 

I plan to build on this blog post slowly over time so that I can share what I do to help myself live happily with this very painful and limiting disease. Let me make this very clear, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I am simply a person with a sick body who has turned her life and disease around for the better. I am not going to provide hard scientific facts, it doesn't interest me nor do I have the time for that. Please, if you're interested in trying something but want to know the science behind it, do your own research. That's how I found all of this out. Google is your friend. But also keep in mind that for every article saying "This is beneficial" there will be another saying "This doesn't work". Science is a lot more fickle than we like to think. Ultimately, if it's not dangerous, it's up to you to decide if it's worth a try. I'm creating the list of everything I do; it's up to you to decided to take and leave what you will. 

What type of symptoms did I have BEFORE I started these natural remedies and practises? 
2) Inflammation - EVERYWHERE
3) Blurry Vision
4) Dizziness
5) Full Head Feeling (Likely inflammation of the skull)
6) Unable to think or focus
7) Seeing spots/Loosing vision
8) Numbness in my arms and legs
9) Tingling in my arms and legs
10) Heart Palpitations
11) Incredible Pain in Chest
12) Unable to move Neck
13) Unable to lift arms
14) Unable to twist at the hips
15) Unable to bend down
16) Headaches
17) Difficulty breathing
18) Clogged Sinuses
19) Constant choking on flem
20) Constant Nausea
21) Constant Acid Reflux
22) Terrible continuous Nightmares
23) Anxiety/Depression
24) Loss of all emotion
25) Swollen ankles/knees
26) Major stomach pains
27) Vaginal Pain/Intercourse Pain
28) Unable to eat
29) Loss of Weight (about 20 pounds over a few weeks)
30) Growths due to excessive inflammation on my lungs and in my abdomen
31) Breast Pain and lumps
32) Possibly more but this is what I can come up with for now 

What type of symptoms do I experience NOW
1) Pain - but not as intense as before. My body tends to focus on one or two places now rather than everywhere at once
2) Inflammation - same as pain 
3) Occasional Dizziness but it is rare
4) Full Head Feeling - I only get this a few times a month at the most
5) Unable to think or focus - this only happens when I get the full head feeling
6) Heart Palpitations on occasion 
7) Incredible pain in the chest - still something I am working on. I do get this often.
8) Unable to lift ARM - My right shoulder has damage so I have a hard time lifting it above my head 
9) Headaches - 2-3 a week
10) Swollen Ankles/Knees - On a rare occasion
11) Stomach Pains - Occasionally 
12) Possibly a couple of other rare things but generally this is what I deal with. 

As you can see a lot of the symptoms have subsided. The "now" list still appears long and arduous but it is much more manageable. Most of my daily symptoms revolve around pain and inflammation and while I can't always control it with natural remedies, I have learned to live with it and still be a happy person ready to take on life! I make highly detailed art with my damaged joints. I travel all over the world, sometimes even SOLO. I exercise and I walk. I have friends that I actually see! I have hobbies and interests! My mind is excited and passionate again! If you've been where I've been you'll understand how amazing that is. :) 

I've achieved this without the use of pharmaceutical drugs, for the most part. The only non-natural medication I have used throughout this entire ordeal is single dose extra strength Advil. I use it anywhere from 0-4 times a week only when the pain and symptoms are beyond what I can bare. Most weeks I do not use Advil. But during a bad flare up, after I have tried everything I can think of, I will resort to it. 

This probably sounds like I am against pharmaceutical drugs and that is not the case. It was my personal choice to try to stay away from them as much as possible (based on a variety of scientific reasons) but I had the ability to do so. I was reassured that I wasn't dying. I was getting permanent damage but that was something I was willing to risk. I understand that not everyone feels that is the right path for them and I wholeheartedly respect that. I'm going to pass along what I've learned and seen success with because I truly believe it will benefit anyone, regardless of what choice they've made concerning pharmaceuticals. I am NOT here to judge. We sick people get enough of that in our daily lives. Just keep in mind that I support you in your journey, you may not have chosen the same path as me, but that does not mean it is a "wrong" path. I learned a long time ago that life is not made up of "rights" and "wrongs" .... but rather individual journeys. It's my hope to be a positive influence on your journey. :) 

I've decided I'm going to try to list these things starting with what was MOST EFFECTIVE for me. Please keep in mind that our bodies are different and what works amazingly well for me may not for you. It's all a matter of trial and error, but do try to give things a good shot.


I decided to start with this one because it really had a HUGE impact on my pain and inflammation and it's so easy and cost effective. When I first felt the results I cried to everyone I knew how much of a miracle it was. A beautiful gift from the Earth! Try it, please, it doesn't hurt! :) 

Here's how it works. 

Apple Cider Vinegar is the only vinegar that becomes Alkaline once inside the body. Back in the 1950s a nurse who was working in a Rheumatoid Clinic discovered that this could cut a major amount of pain from the lives of her patients. The reasons we experience so much pain and damage to our joints is because there is constant inflammation sitting there which eventually leads to a build up of acid and it's that acid that deteriorates our joints. The inflammation, the acid, and the deterioration ALL come together to cause us our incredible amounts of pain. The apple cider vinegar actually NEUTRALIZES the acid build up and helps take down inflammation. It sounds too good to be true, trust me I know, but it WORKS! 

ON TOP OF THAT, when you consume Apple Cider Vinegar WITH THE MOTHER you are actually helping your digestive system too! "With the mother" means that the vinegar hasn't been pasteurized so all of the original GOOD bacteria remain in it. You can actually see them! Drink that seemingly gross stuff up because it helps! These good bacteria act as a natural probiotic. You're effectively putting good bacteria in your gut which will attack and get rid of the bad bacteria. I'll be doing a whole other point on gut health (stay tuned) but this is part of it. Not only that, but I have tried Apple Cider Vinegar without the mother and while it still helped it did not cut nearly as much pain as "with the mother" did. 

What happened? 

Some people who have tried this said it only took 3-4 days to help! I was a little bummed when that wasn't the case for me. It took me 3.5 weeks for it to kick in! So, like I said, give it a real go! Don't give up if you don't see results immediately. Within that first month my pain and inflammation was down a whole THIRD of what I had been experiencing. That's A LOT of pain reduction. A lot, a lot. 

What did happen within days was a much happier digestive system. WAY less stomach pains. NO indigestion. Normal bowel movements. Honestly, it's worth it just for this benefit but the pain management makes it pretty miraculous in my eyes. 

I started with TWO TABLE SPOONS in a glass of water 6-8 times a day. Make sure you shake your bottle of vinegar every time to get all those bacteria flowing and not just sitting at the bottom. Once I felt I had reached the maximum amount of pain relief I would get, I started to slowly take less of the vinegar and found that my pain relief stayed the same. It has been 1.5 YEARS since starting this regime and it still works. I now only take 1 TABLE SPOON in a glass of water 3-4 times a day. Some people may need more, some less. You'll have to gauge that for yourself. I have tried not taking it, while travelling for instance, and the pain does return after a while. So I know it's still working and that I still have to take it. I've tried Apple Cider Vinegar capsules while travelling and they certainly help but they are not even remotely as effective as the real thing. 

My Favourite - Braggs With the Mother. I have tried many others, this is the most effective for pain management and tastes the least strong. Get it on Amazon HERE.
Water - Always include your vinegar in at least a full cup of water.
Straw - I recommend always using a straw and trying to make sure it doesn't hit your teeth. The acid can hurt your enamel over time. Some people use it to whiten teeth but I've also heard of it turning teeth yellow, so I am always careful about my teeth. I recommend a metal straw so as not to hurt our ocean life. Get a set on Amazon HERE.
Before Eating - I take my first glass as soon as I get up in the morning with cold water. It shoots me right awake and it kicks in really fast. My mornings are the best! Throughout the day I will take my vinegar with room temperature water about a half hour before a snack or meal. Remember, it helps digest your food!

It seems like such a simple solution that can't possibly be true, but it is! After using it for a few months I had my specialist appointment with my Rheumatologist. She doesn't seem to care much for my natural way of doing things and is always trying to convince me to take immunosuppressants but she respects the fact that I've researched everything and have a solid plan in place. A plan that is working according to the tests she regularly runs on me. The interesting thing is that she actually trains new rheumatoid doctors and when I told one young male about the vinegar he was very excited. I expressed how annoyed I was that no one had told me about this simple natural miracle and he said that it is something they are aware of but because there isn't enough modern scientific studies done on it they are LEGALLY NOT ALLOWED to tell us about it! That's the kind of nonsense that really bothers me about modern medicine. But, I am here to share! Give it a try! I'd love to hear how it goes. :) 


Coming soon ..... 

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