Saturday, April 17, 2010

More Answers

In all honesty, I haven't posted any health updates lately because I've plateaued and am slightly frustrated about my arthritis pain not improving, so there's nothing much to share that's progress. And just yesterday fear started to creep in. I don't like that word and for the most part I feel completely at peace about my health, but yesterday I saw my Uncle Mike, whose wife has RA. I'd taken my car in to see Mike, the Saab master, because the "check engine" light came on Wednesday afternoon. Nothing's wrong with the car—the light came on because my gas cap wasn't screwed on tight enough. It hurts my hands to click the cap tight, so after I fill up with gas I just twist it on without clicking it in place. Something about the lack of pressure in the gas tank makes the engine light go on. So I practiced turning the cap and can click it three times if I do it with both hands, mainly using my thumbs, and go at it at a different angle than normal. Mike figured that me not being able to screw the gas cap on tight was the problem because his wife, Lavon, can't do that either because of her RA. It hurts my fingers to even hit the blinker or the windshield wipers now, but what can you do? Lavon's in the same boat but worse. So are a lot of other people.

So the fear part crept in after Mike mentioned joint damage and how when you use your joints when they're inflamed, you can cause permanent damage. I didn't know that. The rheumatologist said to keep using my joints even when they hurt. She also told me to come back in 4 months or until the pain got unbearable because she said my hand pain appeared to be osteoarthritis not rheumatoid. Well, what is unbearable pain? I think I can bear any pain. I feel like my rheumatologist has just left me hanging without figuring out the root of the problem and looking deeper. At first I felt fine about that because I had Barbara and knew about the infection in my body even if the rheumatologist didn't want to go down that road, but now that my symptoms aren't improving as quickly as I hoped, I feel very vulnerable and don't want to cause permanent joint damage. I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. If I were seeing faster results with the medicine I've been taking from Barbara, I would feel safer.

But just now I decided to research more about Strep G to better understand what it's doing in my body and what to expect with it, and I came across this information, which helps me see the whole picture a lot better! Amazing! Read below.

"Group G strep (GGS) is normally present on the skin, in the mouth and throat,and in the intestines and genital tract, and is most likely to lead to infection in alcoholics and in people who have cancer, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions that suppress immune-system activity. GGScan cause a variety of infections, including:
     -Bacteria in the bloodstream
     -Bursitis (Inflammation of the connective tissue structure surrounding a joint)
     -Endocarditis (a condition that affects the lining of the heart chambers and the heart valves)
     -Osteomyelitis (inflammation of bone and bone marrow)
     -Peritonitis (inflammationof the lining of the abdomen)."

If I didn't have RA and if my immune system weren't low from other health issues (epstein barr virus and hyperthyroidism and stress), I bet the Strep G wouldn't have attacked my joints. Interesting! So my primary concern is to kill the infection and then see if the joint pain goes away completely. If not, then I know the infection really did trigger the RA and then I'll deal with the RA. My most persistent and worse pain is in my right pointer finger knuckle, which is an RA joint (OA joints are the two top joints of the fingers and the thumb joints), so I am concerned about joint damage there. Here's what I'm doing now to eliminate the bacteria:

-taking herbal drops to kill the parasites and Strep G infection (same drops I've taken over the years to kill all my travel bugs)
-taking Lactozyme pills to put good bacteria in my body
-eating 4 Tbs. coconut oil daily, which has major antiviral properties (go to to read more)
-getting massages with essential oils that fight infection and help with pain (Okay, so I've had only one massage so far, but was the best thing I've done so far for my pain. I felt amazing the entire day and swore I would start doing them every other week. But they cost money, so I have yet to go back for my second one.)
-trying to stress less
-trying to sleep more
-eating 4 cups of green smoothie a day (see Please Pass the Green for more info)
-lessening the foods I eat that contain preservatives
-eating mostly fresh, raw veggies, especially asparagus, edamame, chickpeas, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, spinach, and green beans to get the most protein


emilia. said...

I've loved talking to you all the time this weekend. it was a delight.

Laney said...

Thanks for the full update, Katie. I feel sad that your pain has plateaued, but I'm so proud of you for remaining positive, doing more research, and carving out the best path. Nice job!

Kate said...

Thanks, Laney. I'm trying.:) And thanks for the magazine article you sent me. I actually should've asked you on Saturday what joint damage looks like. I'll call your mom. I'm trying not to use my right hand as much now because my bad knuckle is not as pointy as it used to be. I didn't realize you can get joint damage by using your hurting joints. I wish my doctor had told me that, but se la vi (if that's how you spell it!). Ha ha.

And thanks, Miss Emilia! You make my world brighter.

Alycia said...

hang in there! Only one more month until our sleep over!!! Can't wait! it will be just like old time! :-)

Jacqui said...

I don't know why I didn't make this connection earlier, mildred, but before I went to Venezuela, my mom had my tested for a certain gene that causes arthritis b/c if I were to get a certain parasite in South America, it would activate this gene, causing debilitating arthritis. I didn't have the gene. This had happened to my mom's friend's daughter on her mission and she had to be sent home early. Do you think something like this could be the cause of your problems? I know you had lots of little intestinal friends in Vene. Has anyone ever mentioned something like that to you?

Jennifer said...

Katie, hang in there! I hope that you will get more answers and that some of these other things will have a positive effect. Changing so many things about what you do and eat must be a challenge. It would be for me. Oh, and I just got a recipe for cooking brussels sprouts that is actually really good! If you need it, just let me know. :)

Kate said...

Jenn, I'd love the recipe!

Dayna Slack said...

Interesting stuff on coconut oil and GGS. You are such a fighter looking into this all yourself.