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.

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

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

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

Choice.

I got in to see my rheumatologist last Thursday. My pain has been constant and truly wearing on me. I feel as though I’m not the person I used to be. Trying to adjust to a new normal is exhausting and difficult. There are a select few that understand. I can’t explain it.

My Dr said that the Xeljanz is no longer working and to stop taking it. I’m on a round of prednisone and praying for relief soon.

My biggest fear is how bad I’m going to feel as I wait to see what the next course of treatment will be knowing that the biologics take 3 to 6 months to work.

In the meantime, I met with my nutritionist to come up with a plan since I decided to go off the ketogenic diet. So at least I should start to see my strength come back in the gym.

And I’m coming up on my exam to become a certified personal trainer. My hope is to pass and begin working with people that have chronic pain and disease.

My earth angel, Dani, was right on time as always…yesterday was an awful day. My pain was ridiculous all day and I didn’t go to the gym. Then I checked the mail and there were two shirts from Dani. On the back of each it says, “Every day we have a choice. Choose movement. Make it count.”

So today I chose movement instead of sitting here in pain. I made it count.

Love you Dani ❤ Thank you for your support, understanding, inspiration, and love.

Answers

So many things going on lately I’m not sure where to begin.

I had to go off the Xeljanz for a short period of time to rule out a potential side effect. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that the medicine was the culprit. The bad news is that I’m back on the Xeljanz and it’s not working as fast as it did the first time. It can take several months for it to work. Hoping I’ll respond eventually and not have to try other biologics.

I’m in a full flare and am trying to get through it reminding myself that it could be worse.

I honestly think the keto diet is keeping my pain level from being worse than it is.

I spoke with my mom today. Since my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogrens Syndrome I’ve researched and read as much as I can about the diseases. My mom has symptoms of Sjogrens and I told her to ask her doc to do a blood test. Well guess what? Turns out I was right. Sadly she’s lived with this for years and nobody ever tested her for it. Not that it’s preventable, but they could have been managing her symptoms.

She will need to see a rheumatologist and I’m hoping they’ll run a full set of blood work to see if she has other autoimmune diseases. I’m glad she has some answers at least. And for me now I know there’s a genetic predisposition so I can educate my children to look for answers if they ever become symptomatic.

I’m getting through the course to become a a certified personal trainer. It’s hard taking classes right now but I’m determined to get this done and help others with their health. I’m super interested in the nutrition certification that I’m going to get once I finish this course. So many health issues can be helped with proper eating and exercise. I’m excited to pursue this!

Personally, I continue to eat keto and plan on keeping it up for a while. I feel like I have less “brain fog” and my workouts are going well. My strength is coming back in the weight room and I’m definitely more lean.

Now if only spring temps would arrive I’m sure my joints would feel better!

Don’t take your health for granted. Make it count!