We need a cure

A day in the life of someone with uncontrolled RA….Another rest day from the gym today. Something is going wrong. I stumbled getting out of bed this morning because the pain in my feet was so excruciating I couldn’t stand.

I pulled myself together and made my hair appointment then did the grocery shopping, and grabbed a few other items for Christmas. I can’t close my right hand, more fingers are affected, and my wrist is very weak today. Picking up packages of meat and other items was difficult.

I got home and put groceries away. Too tired to meal prep. Took a nap. Need to get my meals done but have no energy and it is hurting to be on my feet.

I have my new meds in the refrigerator but haven’t been trained to administer my injection. It’s not an automatic injector this time but a syringe. I’m super emotional because I want the autoimmune protocol diet to help me get into remission but on the other hand I want relief from the pain. I’m terrified of the meds and fight taking them. But when there is pain and inflammation permanent joint damage is taking place.

All of this after three great workouts in the gym this week. I know exercise and lifting weights is good for me so it’s even more frustrating when I can’t and my body calls the shots.

All of this is not for pity but to raise awareness. Arthritis research is seriously underfunded.

From 2013–2015, an estimated 54.4 million US adults (22.7%) annually had ever been told by a doctor that they had some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.
By 2040, an estimated 78 million (26%) US adults aged 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are a leading cause of work disability among US adults.
In 2013, the national costs of arthritis were $304 billion overall.

  • Arthritis-attributable medical costs were $140 billion.
  • Arthritis-attributable lost wages were $164 billion.

Don’t ever take your health and ability to move for granted. Go do something every day and make it count!

#makeitcount #mic4d #rasucks #rheumatoidarthritis #curearthritis

Jumping in…AIP diet

Admitting that I’m not feeling great is a big deal for me. After putting it in writing I have decided to continue my research into gut health and autoimmune diseases. I still believe that my regimen was working before and that this is just a bump in the road.

I’m jumping in and starting the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet. I had researched it before and thought there’s no way I can follow something so strict. I have been a very disciplined eater for several years, but this takes it to a whole different level.

I’m going to focus on the things that I can have instead of the things I’ll be giving up.

I can have grass fed meats and wild caught fish. I can have tons of good vegetables and fruits. I can have kombucha and other fermented foods. And there’s a ton of recipes for sweet treats that only contain ingredients that are allowed.

Here’s where it gets a little scary. I’m be eliminating these things for at least 30 days, some forever:

  • All non-Paleo foods (grains, legumes, dairy, processed oils, non-nutritive sugars, and food additives)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds (including cocoa, coffee, spices, and all other products derived from them)
  • Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, peppers of all kinds, goji berries, ashwagandha, and all other products derived from them)
  • Alcohol
  • Nutritive Sweeteners (except in extreme moderation, like for special occasions only)
  • NSAIDs (including aspirin and ibuprofen)
  • More than 20g of fructose per day (fruit is the highest source of fructose on the autoimmune protocol)
  • Yeast (those with gluten sensitivities may cross-react with it)

I’m in. It’s helped thousands of people put autoimmune diseases in remission. If it means healing I’ll do whatever it takes.

So meal prep was challenging today but I got it done. I’m thankful for my husband who helped me get all the groceries I needed last night to pull this off effectively. He took me right to the door of the store while he dealt with loading and unloading the Jeep in the cold, pouring rain that makes me hurt so bad.

I looked at my meals for the week and I’ll have adequate protein, good carbs (even without any grains), and healthy fats. And my calories will be up in a healthy range to allow for working out.

So here’s to the AIP diet and jumping in!

Bump in the road

I’ve put off writing as if not putting the words out here would change what is happening.

I still believe that my disease was in a state of remission, and I do believe that I will achieve it again. When I saw my rheumatologist back in September I had no symptoms of my disease and my inflammation markers were normal. I had experienced no pain since July and didn’t start having any symptoms until the middle of October. My doctor said remission could be months or could last for years. And I said that I would ride this wave as long as I could.

I have been trying to ignore the signs but as they increase it’s become difficult.

Maybe my body held out through all the stress of bringing my oldest daughter home from Colorado, my son going to boot camp, and my youngest daughter starting high school and now it’s at a point where it can’t do it anymore.

I need to see the positives as doing anything else would take me down a rabbit hole that I have no intention of going down.

A huge positive is that I’ve started a new job which I firmly believe is a gift. Being in a place of health and fitness where I can encourage others is my heart and passion. I’m grateful every day for this opportunity.

Even though it’s painful to walk right now I’m thankful that I have legs to do so. Even though my hands are swollen, and small every day tasks hurt I’m grateful that I can still grab the weights after work, push through a workout, and get a little reprieve from the pain when I’m done. Even though the fatigue is draining, I am energized at work and know that I can make a difference to others who suffer more than I do.

I need to remember that I must listen to my body and rest when I need to.

So for now I am waiting for our insurance to approve the next therapy and I’ll begin taking meds to slow down the disease progression.

This is just a bump in the road. #makeitcount #rasucks #rheumatoidarthritis

Progress

I took the last of only 3 Humira shots on July 20th. In June I started taking a gut health regimen in hopes of putting my disease into remission.

If there was any doubt that these products were working it’s gone now.

I’m pain and inflammation free since July.

I started with a prebiotic fiber that helps feed the good gut microbes. I began feeling better. After a few weeks I added the probiotics. More improvement.

I had an appointment with my rheumatologist a week ago. She did my exam and confirmed that my joints were free of inflammation as compared to before.

She asked what I was doing and I told her. She said that was good and reiterated that most of our immune system is located in our gut.

So if scientists have confirmed links to autoimmune diseases and gut microbes why wouldn’t we stand a chance in settling our immune systems down by bringing that back into balance?

I think in my case that’s exactly what happened.

Would it be true for everyone? I don’t know.

Is it worth trying? I think so.

We spend too much time treating symptoms instead of treating causes in my opinion.

I encourage anyone reading this to do the research. NIH has countless articles about gut health and the connection to numerous ailments from autoimmune diseases to depression and anxiety.

All I know it’s that my body and my blood tests agree right now. I’m definitely making progress.

Reflecting on the past year.

This time last year I was just starting to experience my new “normal” of chronic pain. I was hurting so much physically and it was beginning to affect me emotionally as well.

I had not begun the journey of failed medications and depression that set in during the months to come.

RA is a nasty disease with no cure and little answers as to what causes it.

I’ve continued to research the disease and possible causes and believe that gut health does play a huge role triggering an autoimmune response in your body.

So fast forward a year and I’ve been doing a gut health regimen for a little over two months. I’m currently pain free and am off meds. I’m hopeful that I’m slowly getting my immune system balanced.

I continue to research. I watched a documentary called “Heal” the other night. It was interesting and I’ll be putting some of the things from the documentary into practice.

I’ll be looking into spiritual healing beyond asking for prayers. I’m going to learn more and begin to practice visualization and meditation to see my immune system as balanced and functioning normally. I’m going to try and find someone who practices sound therapy and see if I can get that done.

I believe that complete remission of my disease is possible and that my new “normal” I wrote about last year does not have to be my normal at all. #makeitcount #mic4d

Off meds and hopeful

After numerous side effects or allergic reactions to Humira my rheumatologist agrees my body needs a break.

The struggle with having to take meds has been a big one for me. I’ve continued researching information about gut health and autoimmune diseases and now I’m putting my theory to the test.

Since starting the Plexus products I’m feeling better than I have in months. My energy is up, I’m sleeping better and I have almost zero pain. I’ve been able to workout as hard and heavy as I did before RA started taking over my body.

I’m not claiming to be cured. I know better. But I’m hopeful and praying for remission.

It was a great relief when my rheumatologist called me this week and said to stop the Humira injections. Last Friday when I injected myself it hit me hard that I’m really just playing a game with this disease and the meds. After the awful burning stopped, and I pulled my shaking hand away from my leg, and my eyes filled with tears. Not because the shot burns so bad, but because I was putting more of the substance into my body that I can’t control, and am at its mercy as to whether I’ll have a serious reaction this time or not. It’s in there….for two weeks at least and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So I’m relieved that I can take a break and I’m hopeful that the link between gut health and RA will be realized in me.

If you’re interested in the products here’s a link to my website plexus/carolfrontera/home

I take the triplex products but started with Slim once a day. No risk because there’s a 60 day money back guarantee. Get in touch with me if you have any questions. Here’s to hope for health!

Gut health and hope

I know I’ve talked about gut health imbalances and the link to autoimmune diseases.

Believe me I’m skeptical of products that make claims that they can fix or cure my disease. I’ve researched and tried numerous products and foods with no success.

On July 4th I started taking Plexus slim after having lunch with a friend. I believe our meeting was meant to be because she did not meet me to discuss the products she distributes. Our conversation evolved and before long we were talking about my RA.

She told me about her best friend that has MS and RA and how she’s used these products and gotten off meds and is in remission.

This wasn’t a testimonial from someone who is thousands of miles away but someone who is a person that I could call if I wanted to. I was intrigued.

So I started using Plexus slim to only introduce one thing at a time in hopes of balancing my microbiome. There are numerous scientific studies about RA and gut health. A lot of RA patients have an overabundance of one particular “bad” bacteria and not enough good bacteria.

I started this before Humira could possibly work and noticed a difference within a week.

I firmly believe the product is working.

Humira takes time to work and I had only one injection before taking Slim and setting results.

My pain and inflammation is much improved.

I’ll be discussing this with my rheumatologist since she recognizes that we are seriously behind in research here in the US.

I’m still having issues with Humira and side effects. I’ll take another injection this Friday but if the side effects continue she wants to discuss another biologic.

I’ll be discussing taking a break from meds altogether and seeing if I can go into remission on my own.

I’ll be smart about it and certainly she can track my progress by blood markers.

If you’re interested in talking about the products I’m happy to have that conversation. I will be distributing them now myself. That’s how much I believe in the link to gut health and autoimmune diseases as well as other issues.

Gut health and RA

If you’ve shared in my journey you know that I’m constantly reading about ways to help ease my symptoms and possibly put my disease into remission.

A lot of information is out there concerning gut health or leaky gut and it contributing to, or triggering an autoimmune response.

I’ve looked into many products. I’ve read testimonials. I finally decided to give Plexus a try.

I’m only introducing one product right now so tracking any results will be easier. Since I’ve only had one Humira injection and that takes time to work it should be easy to attribute any symptom relief to my microbiome being balanced.

My rheumatologist said many of her patients look into gut health to ease their symptoms.

So here’s to hoping that this will be beneficial!

Weird side effects…

Because life just likes to mess with me lately… I spent a few hours in the ER with what appears to be an unusual side effect to the Humira I injected 2 weeks ago. I thought it was an allergic reaction but the doc and my rheumatologist think it’s an unusual side effect to the meds.

I admit I was a bit frightened because my lips started burning out of the blue, almost immediately my arms began to burn, and a rash started at my knuckles and went all the way up my arms to my neck. It burned really bad but was not itchy.

So they gave me a steroid through the IV and guess what? I had a rare side effect from it. 0.01% of people get it…go figure.

I was supposed to take my 2nd Humira shot tomorrow but my rheumatologist said to hold off and let my body settle down. I will take the shot next Friday.

In the meantime as a precaution I’m getting epi pens that I’ll need to carry with me.

On the bright side…the steroids will ease my pain for a few days.

What a journey. #makeitcount

Keep going

Lots going on lately…

I passed my exam to become a certified personal trainer and I’m still really excited about it. Formed an LLC and as soon as I get insurance I’ll be good to go to work with people. My first pieces of equipment came in and that’s pretty cool.

As for RA….well it’s kicking my butt lately. I’ve been off Xeljanz since mid May. I did 20 days on prednisone which gave some temporary relief. But now the all too familiar symptoms are back.

I started Humira on June 15th and I’m hopeful that it will work.

After 4 months on a ketogenic diet and no impact on my pain and inflammation I’m back to a “regular” diet. I’m happy with my strength gains in the gym despite the pain.

My earth angel Dani continues to be my beautiful inspiration and I’m so thankful for her love and friendship even over the many miles that separate us.

For now I will continue to move and be patient with myself when my body does not cooperate.

#makeitcount