Mind, body and spirit

Spent most of the afternoon Friday with my naturopath doctor going over all the labs and test results to date, and coming up with a plan.

I believe I’m on the path to healing, long term remission, or whatever you want to call it. She is beyond thorough looking at my health history since childhood, all labs from both my rheumatologist and primary care physician going back several years, running a combination of non-conventional and conventional tests and seeing me as a whole, not just bits and pieces.

The gut health issue is huge and we’re attacking that aggressively with probiotics and even more strict dietary changes to heal my gut, and balance the bacterial overgrowths.

The lab tests have been extensive. Some “normal” tests and others that traditional medicine does not give credence to.

But if you look at everything together it makes sense that the immune response in my body can be put back into balance with a series of treatments to reduce the viral load in my body, get my vitamin and mineral deficiencies taken care of, and in turn get my RA to go into “remission.”

This is a long process and sometimes the pain is so bad that I wish I could just take a pill and make it go away. But in the long run I feel that this is the best choice for me and my body.

In the long run I won’t be caught in the cycle of “finding the right cocktail” of pharmaceuticals creating more issues that require more drugs to treat them.

I’m grateful that I found my naturopath. I will continue to see my rheumatologist and keep her informed of my progress.

My focus will remain on a mind, body, and spirit approach to my health and healing. I’m excited for the journey!

Progress. Knowledge. Power. Hope.

Part of this natural journey to balance my immune system is looking for anything creating an immune or inflammatory response.

I have the results of the food allergy and sensitivities tests back.

I’m amazed at the results. No surprise that cow’s milk and egg whites showed as allergies. This was found back in December. So they will never be reintroduced into my diet.

The sensitivities are a little more complicated. If we are able to heal my gut then the foods that are creating an immuneresponse should be able to be reintroduced in moderation in time.

A rotation diet will be necessary so that I’m never consuming too many at one time.

I already ate “clean” but these results show a large number of foods that I consume regularly that are not good for me right now.

So as of 9/9/19 I’ve eliminated all of these from my diet in hopes that I’ll see a reduction in inflammation.

Here’s the list of things causing an immune response. Some higher response than others, but I’m willing to be very cautious right now and temporarily eliminate them all. Even if pumpkin spice season is gone for me this year.

vanilla

curry powder

coriander

basil

cantaloupe

banana

oat

black tea

artichoke

peanut

cabbage

pumpkin

spinach

cinnamon

clove

peppermint

The good news is there’s a lot of other foods that are not creating an inflammatory response. And, knowledge is a powerful thing.

I have more labs coming back soon and a follow up on September 20th.

Progress. Knowledge. Power. Hope.

Healthy Self, Heal-Thyself

Had another appointment with the naturopath doctor and some test results since then.

I believe we’re onto something and am prepared to do whatever it takes to heal my body.

With that said, I am already feeling the effects of eating foods that are potentially unhealthy and inflammatory to me so that we can get an accurate diagnosis of food allergies and food sensitivities. Telling myself that eating real pizza was worth it!

Up until this week my pain and inflammation was not horrible. This past week I’ve been eating all the foods that I typically avoid so that the bloodwork will give me an accurate picture.

6 days in and the pain and stiffness is escalating. Fatigue is awful. I slept for 10 hours last night and haven’t done much this morning and am exhausted.

Throwing myself into a flare is no fun. But the end will justify the means I guess.

In the meantime my gut health test results are in and surprise, surprise (insert sarcasm here), there is dysbiosis.

Akkermansia muciniphila, is associated with excessive mucous production and multiple sclerosis. Now I know that it’s not a diagnosis, but with the fact that autoimmune diseases tend to cluster, and this is an increased risk factor, we’re addressing it right away.

Streptococcus spp. colonize skin and mucous membranes throughout the body; High levels in the intestine may result from low stomach acid, antacid use, reduced digestive capacity, or SIBO. Elevated levels may also be indicative of intestinal inflammatory activity.
The 2 other bacterial overgrowths, Bacteroidetes & Firmicutes are not associated with any specific disease states but are best not overgrown in relationship to ideal weight management. Their elevation imposes an increased caloric retention, weight gain and difficult weight loss.

That could explain a lot about my inability to lose any more body fat no matter how well I eat and exercise. Along with a chronic stress state in my body. I guess I’m lucky I’m maintaining my weight at least.

Elevated SIgA indicates an increased immune response which can be a response to food sensitivities, allergies, and or GI infections. However, since my gut inflammatory marker, calprotectin, was not elevated the doctor is not too concerned about intense immune reaction leading to identifiable inflammatory mucosal destruction. She believes it is reasonable to first introduce needed gut bacteria to get the overgrown bacteria into check. Then if we find it necessary we can utilize antimicrobials to cut down on the excess. This would be done with herbs, not antibiotics.

So the years of reading study after study about gut health have finally been put to the test! Hopefully bringing it into balance and getting the detailed food testing will help settle my immune system down in the long run.

I’m going to introduce a probiotic called HMF Super Powder from Seroyal.

I will increase daily vegetables and fibrous foods (psyllium) such as squash, lima beans, green peas, sweet potatoes, collards, and artichokes. My doctor knows that I don’t prefer beets, turnips, broccoli, and kale, but finding ways to include these cooked vegetables would be very helpful.
And eat more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.

The saliva test indicated higher than normal cortisol level upon waking. And lower than normal during mid morning.

We’re adding in adrenal support through Adrenal Desiccated and Drenamin.

Also based on some other symptoms I’ll be taking a homeopathic phosphorus for just 2 days.

The doctor advised castor oil packs which have an immediate effect on my sore joints.

The food allergy and sensitivities testing, some standard and advanced bloodwork, and a DEXA scan are all forthcoming.

No quick fix here but I believe that in the long term healing is possible.

No quick fix

On July 12th I had my first full visit with the Naturopath doctor. A five hour visit to be exact. It consisted of an extremely thorough look at EVERYTHING in my life from childhood up that could be relevant to the onset of my rheumatoid arthritis and a physical exam.

There are many things that seemed insignificant to me as we talked, but to her were important pieces of my health puzzle that she is carefully putting together.

I left her office both ecstatic that someone was finally listening to me, and exhausted from the length of time and the energy it took to go piece by piece through my heath history.

I have a good start to a natural medicine cabinet with a focus on the chronic UTIs that I’ve suffered from since childhood, and two potent natural antibiotics in case of other illness.

She has me doing hydrotherapy to get the Raynaud’s syndrome to subside. That was easy to do this week in the extreme heat by allowing myself to get really hot and then jumping in the creek to let the cold water shock me lol.

Also I have a few items specifically relative to my RA to help ease symptoms while waiting for tests to be done. I’m continuing with the Tumero and have added a liquid OmegaCo3, and TriFortify Liposomal Glutathione.

The TriFortify is where I know my commitment to heal my body… it is quite possibly the most vile tasting substance on earth and you have to hold it under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds. Nasty!

I lost a week to vacation but this week will be working on getting the saliva test done, the gut health test done, and the extensive blood tests done.

Being on vacation last week and camping was very much needed. The only downside is that I was not eating as clean as I usually do and I’m hurting pretty bad today.

I’m sure that when I clean up my eating this week my symptoms will improve.

Natural healing is not a quick fix. I will stay the course and do everything I can to give my body every opportunity to do so. Mind, body, and spirit 💜

Time for change

It’s been a while since I have written. Life has been incredibly busy.

In my last post I had come off Kevzara because of an allergic reaction. After that my rheumatologist put me on Olumiant, a once daily pill similar to Xeljanz. It’s a JAK inhibitor with an added black box warning of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, in addition to the typical scary side effects that all the biologics have.

Similar to my experience with Xeljanz I felt some improvement in about 3 weeks. And similar to my experience with Xeljanz that improvement was short lived. I had a UTI, also a common side effect, and had to hold the meds while I took the antibiotics. Also similar to Xeljanz I began holding fluid in my legs. And not just a little fluid. About 8 to 10 pounds heavier with swollen feet and ankles every day. By the end of the day I was loosening my shoe laces to the point where they barely tied.

My rheumatologist said to stay on it. The medicine didn’t say that fluid or weight gain were side effects but that it’s too new of a drug to really know all the side effects. Perfect….

In the meantime I sought the help of a naturopath doctor. In our first 2 hour meeting she looked over some bloodwork I gave her and identified an issue that predisposes me to blood clots. So my rheumatologist was given the same bloodwork and never questioned my elevated homocysteine levels. And is not concerned that the meds have clots as a side effect or just didn’t look at the info I gave her.

That’s the final straw for me. I have failed methotrexate, Xeljanz, Humira, Kevzara and Olumiant. All due to side effects and no benefit.

I told my rheumatologist that I was stopping the meds. The naturopath shipped me a turmeric tincture to start. I’ve been taking turmeric capsules but they’re drug store variety, and not in this strength.

In the 5 days off Olumiant the fluid is almost gone. I started Tumero 10 mg 2X a day on Friday.

I’m hopeful and optimistic that the naturopath will help get to the root cause of my disease and treat it not just my symptoms and suppressing my immune system but bringing it into balance.

I know the answers are out there. It’s time for a change since what I’ve been doing isn’t working.

Fear

I’m 3 months into the autoimmune protocol diet. The knowledge of food allergies has helped me fine tune my eating even more. I added back two food groups and will be tweaking to determine if they’re inflammatory. My pain is coming back to levels I haven’t been having, and with the pain comes fear.

I’m afraid of how bad the pain gets. I’m afraid of the medications and their side effects. But more than that I’m afraid of losing my mobility.

I’ve been off the Kevzara for a month trying to rule out an allergic reaction. I’m trying to decide along with my rheumatologist if I will try it again or go on to the next step.

My prescription vitamin blend came in and I’ve been taking it for two weeks. I’m hopeful that they will be absorbed by my body and begin to help. We’ll do some blood tests in 3 months to see.

Healing my gut and my body will take time, patience, and persistence. I know that all the damage was not done overnight and will not go away overnight.

In the meantime I continue to move and strengthen my body and I am thankful that I can.

DNA, food allergies and vitamin deficiencies.

Before the end of the year I had a bunch of bloodwork done which included DNA testing, standard tests such as cholesterol; and hormone, vitamin, and allergy tests.

I got all the test results back last week. I believe all the information I now have will help me in the treatment of my disease.

The DNA results are interesting. I have information that can be given to my rheumatologist as well as other doctors to help make decisions about medications based on my genes.

I found that I have two food allergies. I am allergic to milk and egg whites. In the past month or so I eliminated both milk and eggs on the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP diet) so keeping them out of my diet permanently should be fairly easy.

I did some reading about milk and egg allergies and how they manifest, and there is some evidence that they can cause an autoimmune response. So hopefully keeping them out of my diet will settle my immune system down some.

My vitamin levels are out of balance as well which is not uncommon in RA patients. My vitamin D is very low, as is my vitamin A, and my vitamin C level was almost nonexistent. I couldn’t believe it because not only do I eat copious amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, but am religious about taking my vitamins and supplements. Thanks RA for yet another fun aspect of the disease.

I’ll be starting a prescription vitamin blend based on my needs and genetic make up. So my levels will be brought to the best level for me not the broad government standards. It will also have a substance to help me absorb them since my body is not doing it well enough on its own.

Once my vitamin D, C, and A are brought up my hormones and other levels should become balanced and I should feel a lot better!

I’ve stayed on the AIP diet through the elimination phase and just added legumes/beans back to see how my body responds.

I also have a call into my rheumatologist because I believe I had a reaction to the last Kevzara injection I did on Tuesday. I’ve had similar site reactions like I did with Humira, and had a significant rash/hives within 24 hours of the last injection.

We’ll see if she wants me to continue treatment or hold off. I would be willing to take a break from meds and pursue the AIP diet knowing that the 2 food allergies could have been impacting me greatly.

I still believe remission is possible and that my body has the ability to heal and be well.

I’m definitely persistent enough to keep trying.

AIP meal prep

Staying on the AIP diet so the long process of gut healing can continue. Being on an extremely strict diet is tough but I’ve found it’s getting easier. But I have to be prepared.

Sunday is my meal prep day. Lunches and dinners are easy. Grass fed, grass finished beef and wild caught seafood with copious amounts of vegetables. I drink kombucha daily and snack on fruits. Breakfast has been the challenge with no grains, dairy or eggs involved. Thank God for Pinterest!

This week my meals are looking good.

I made a bunch of AIP compliant veggies in my wok and roasted some sweet potatoes in the oven. I have some grass fed, grass finished Kobe beef hot dogs for a few meals, and cooked a grass fed, grass finished porterhouse steak in a cast iron pan in the oven.

I eat some kind of seafood every day. This week is wild caught salmon and wild caught tuna to go with either spaghetti squash or sauteed spinach.

Lunches and dinners are packed full of vitamins. I buy organic veggies whenever possible too.

After getting all that finished I moved on to breakfasts. I tried two different recipes this week. I opted for Tostones (fried plantains) and pumpkin spice macaroons made with dates, pumpkin puree, and shredded coconut.

I can assure you these are both delicious!

So the journey to heal my gut and balance my immune system in hopes of remission continues. And the best part is that I’m not feeling deprived and I’m eating nutritionally sound food.

Don’t take your health for granted.

Living your purpose.

I started my new job on November 5th, and received lots of confirmations along the way that I was making the right decision to leave my marketing job of 17+ years.

I’m loving the opportunity to be in the fitness industry and part of the Anytime Fitness family.

There’s a lot to learn and every day presents new opportunities for that.

I am excited about the New Year and the potential for people to start their health and fitness journey with us.

I knew I would be happy signing people up for a gym membership, but had no idea how affected I could be by one person until today.

With her permission I’m sharing a post that she shared tonight in a private group that we both belong to. Nothing happens by chance:

“#StartingOver #Day1

So …. i did this thing today… i joined Anytime Fitness.

I decided that I needed to push thru all my anxiety and do something to benefit ME..

Anyone who doesn’t know my anxiety issues it truely is debilitating at times 😢 i took baby steps with the support of my friend.

I literally had to make each tiny thing an accomplishment.

Step 1 i submitted a form for information on their current special.

Step 2 i made the appointment.

Step 3 AND I RECOMMEND THIS TO EVERYONE….. research your health insurance bc mine offered discounts for joining.

Step 4 i walked through the door to a new place by myself (King Kuan can vouch this is a HUGE struggle for me)

Step 5 i signed up… and met a wonderful woman carol who showed me a full body workout I could do until my body assessment on Tuesday.

Step 6 i showed up this evening a got an awesome 1 hour workout in.

I have a lot of support but I realized i need professional help to get me out of my funk and back on my wagon.

So, tonight my journey begins again…

#icandothis #maketimeforme

I weighed myself this am at 212.6lbs. (That means i gained almost all the weight i lost last year)…. i did it before ill do it again.

#strongerthanmyexcuses
#lightenup”

I cried when I read this. I know that all things have come together, not by chance, for me to be living my purpose today.

My fitness journey that I began several years ago led to a passion for lifting weights and the gym.

The diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis shook my foundation, but then led me to take the course to become a certified personal trainer in hopes of helping people with chronic pain and disease.

My own personal trainer/nutritionist told me about the owners of Bel Air Anytime Fitness and led me to put in an application there.

The owners interviewed me and told me they needed to hire a general manager. They have given me the most amazing opportunity and gift.

I am grateful. Because today the courage of one beautiful lady who walked through the gym doors has reafirmed that I’m truly living my purpose.

You never know what people are going through. Her story touched my heart. And I’m thankful to be part of her journey.

I was reading an article a while back about living your purpose. I am glad I saved it. Here’s 20 signs that you’re living your purpose. I know I am.

Here are 20 signs that you are living your purpose:

*1. You no longer have that nagging feeling that a big piece is missing in your life. You have found what makes you whole.

2. You have gone from being stuck to knowing that you are on a meaningful path that gives you true fulfillment.

3. Work brings joy instead of sucking energy out of your life.

4. You stopped doubting yourself. You feel confident and good about your choices.

5. Uncertainty, insecurity and worry are old patterns. You feel purposeful and know that the world needs you to be your best.

6. Instead of seeking clients, they are seeking you. Your business and income are flowing.

7. You no longer feel like you’re hiding part of who you are. You are authentic and true to your soul.

8. You are patient with yourself and your family because you are OK being certain with the uncertain. You trust that the next step will be given to you.

9. You’ve stopped looking for approval from those around you. You have found your voice, courage and confidence.

10. You feel comfortable selling your products or services because you know that people need you.

11. You stopped playing small and feel vibrant and alive. You have tapped into the knowing that you have so much to give.

12. You have become fearless. Your fears are now your best friends and they always point you toward the next step.

13. Frustration from not meeting your potential has vanished. You know you are meant to do great things and have so much love to share.

14. Change is no longer a fear. You have seen that change is what allows you to create a lifestyle that you love.

15. You invest in yourself and your business and the more you do so, the more others invest in your services.

16. You stopped struggling. You live your life passionately both personally and professionally.

17. You no longer feel like you are selling your soul for a paycheck. Your income and your purpose are in alignment.

18. The fear of what others might think of you has been replaced by the belief that people need your gifts and talents.

19. You finally stopped putting your life on hold and know you are living your destiny.

20. You have come to know that happiness is not only your right, but part of your life’s purpose.

*mindbodygreen/living your purpose

I encourage you all to seek your purpose and pursue it. It’s life changing.