Tuesday, March 20, 2012

RA Timeline: Symptoms and Treatment

Many of you are coming to this blog in search of answers. Maybe you have an unexplainable pain in your body, maybe you want to start eating healthier, or maybe you have RA and want to know what I did to be mostly pain free now.

For those who think it might be helpful, here's a timeline that shows when my physical pain started, what medical practitioners I visited, how I changed my diet, and any other specifics that might help you along your own journey. Please let me know if you have timeline questions that I don't answer. And remember that everyone's experiences with health and healing are different, so always be in tune with the needs of your body. My experience may be very different from your own, but hopefully you can pull a few gems from my journey that will help you in your own. I've learned there's always hope!

Oct 8–10: Left shoulder frozen for first time. Researched pain and seems to be bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Nov 20-23: Right shoulder frozen for first time. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Dec 31–Jan 2: Right shoulder frozen again. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.

Jan 1–2: Right shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Jan 4–6: Right shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Jan 23–26: Right shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Jan 28–29: Severe throat pain. Tender on outside of throat—can't turn head w/o throat in pain. (Ended up being connected to the RA.)
Jan 29: Teeth hurt bad. Left side. (Ended up being connected to the RA.)
Jan 30–Feb 23: Right foot in pain—second toe. (Turns out my toe had a stress fracture from wearing low heels for a few hours! What?)

Feb 17: Left elbow starts hurting for first time. Can't put any weight on it.
Feb 18: Finger joints start hurting for first time. Difficult to use fingers to dress myself, drive, tie shoes, push microwave buttons. You get the idea.
Feb 18–21: Left shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Feb 24–25: Right wrist bone swollen and hurting for first time.
Feb 25: 1st doctor's appointment about joint pain. Anti-CCP test results high. Most likely rheumatoid arthritis, but referred to a rheumatologist for further examination and testing.

Mar 01–03: Jaw frozen for first time. Left side. (Connected to the RA.)
Mar 03–04: Left wrist bone swollen and hurting again.
Mar 03: Dad gives me a priesthood blessing. (In my religion we believe the priesthood is God's power on the earth, so if we are sick we'll often ask a priesthood holder to give us a blessing.)
Mar 08: Right hand first knuckle, on pointer finger. Swollen and painful.
Mar 08: Visit gastrointerologist about colon pain. Diet change #1: No more dairy. Diet changes that followed included no more processed foods, white flour, table sugar, table salt, and meat. Lots of whole grains and whole foods. If it grew out of the ground, I ate it.
Mar 08: 1st visit holistic practitioner about joint pain. Click here for details. Includes light & sound treatment.
Mar 09: Fingers start hurting again and continues nonstop now. Mostly left pointer and middle finger joints, and right pointer knuckle. Can't cut food anymore.
Mar 10: 1st visit with rheumatologist. Lots of X-rays. No joint damage, but stress fracture on toe. More blood work. Doctor gives me prescription for Naproxin.
Mar 11: Start taking Naproxin, but doesn't do anything for the pain. After a few weeks I decide to not take it anymore.
Mar 25: 2nd visit with rheumatologist. Blood work confirms I have RA. Ultrasound on joints show no joint damage. Very frustrated with the doctor. I don't feel heard, and she has nothing to tell me about prevention.
Mar 27–28: First time I feel like I was hit by a truck. Can barely walk or move. Can't drive because legs too weak. I am determined I will not live like this.
Mar 31–Apr 30: Elbow pain severe. Left side. Never quite stops for months, but pain gets fainter depending on the day.

Apr 06: Get a handicapped parking pass. I ask for a stronger prescription for the pain but never fill it. 
Apr 07: Orthodic insoles made for my shoes at Wasatch Orthodics, $250.
Apr 07: Purchase a Blendtec and start making green smoothies daily!!
Apr 08: Committed to daily walk through the neighborhood even if it hurts and is more like a shuffle.
Apr 24: First massage for RA. Rain drop therapy w/ essential oils. Thanks, Char!

May 06: 2nd visit with holistic practitioner. Includes light and sound treatment. (If you want to know what she told me about the RA and what caused it in me, please comment and I will share more.)
May 15–16: First time both feet are in pain. Saturday I walked a few hours in Seattle until feet hurt too bad, and then Sunday I couldn't walk unless delicately w/ shoes on around the house. Unbearable pain.
May 18: The extreme fatigue is setting in for first time.
May 27: Replace toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, and all personal care items to all-natural. Coconut oil replaced lotion and eye make-up remover.
May 29: Another Rain Drop massage from Char.

June 01: No more gluten as an experiment.
June 21: Discover Victoria Boutenko and raw food. Check out her books from library. Start experiment to not eat nightshade vegetables.
June 29: 3rd visit w/ holistic practitoner. Includes light and sound treatment.

Jul 12: Cancel appointment w/ gastrointerologist.
Jul 15: Cancel appointment w/ rheumatologist. Never go back to rheumatologist. I tell her I'm seeing progress in my health through diet change and natural & holistic medicine.
Jul 22: Start swimming 2–3 times a week.

Aug 19: 4th visit w/ holistic practioner. It's official—doctor's computer shows my body does not tolerate tomatoes, nightshade veggies, corn, gluten, peanut butter, soy, dairy. All my food eliminations are paying off. Includes light and sound treatment.
Aug 24: Attend raw foods cooking class.
Aug 31: Massage.

Sept 15: First time hip hurt.
Sept 20: Doctor appointment. Lots of abdominal pain, but everything looks okay.

Oct 04: Start water aerobic class. Water too cold for my joints, so I don't go back.
Oct 13: Start using Frankinscense essential oil my dear friend Miriam gives me.
Oct 19: 1st cranial sacral therapy visit. Focus on releasing emotional blockage in chakras to get energy flowing properly throughout the body again. Emotional blocks are often the cause of illness.
Oct 21: 5th visit w/ holistic practioner. Pain steadily dropping with each visit. Includes light and sound treatment.
Oct 26: 2nd cranial sacral therapy visit.

Nov 09: 3rd cranial sacral therapy visit.
Nov 17: Go to Brandon Flowers concert and request a chair. People get riled up that I get a special seat. My first experience w/ public being unaware and me feeling ashamed of RA. Accused of making up the pain just to get a special seat and that felt horrible.

Dec 02: 6th visit w/ holistic practitioner. Pain still dropping steadily.
Dec 11: Rain Drop massage.  
Dec 11: First time making a special exception to eat "regular" food like roast beef, canned corn, mashed potatoes, and a dinner roll. I was invited to a Sunday dinner and felt confident about my health improvements to make a diet exception. I said no to the Jell-O and pie though.

Dec 13: First cranial sacral visit with new practitioner. (I continue my visits about once a month for the first 7 months. Now I go on average every 3 months.)
Dec 16: First time going to chiropractor. I start going 2 times a week for 4 months. I stop going because I now have a good handle on what emotions trigger the physical pains Dr. Robb is adjusting me for chiropractor.

Sept 25: Invited as a guest speaker to a Sunday workshop service to speak about spiritual & physical healing through Christ based on what I'd learned through my RA journey. Amazing experience! (I have a recording, so I think I will upload this in the future.)

Oct 03: First time going to acupuncture. For 10 weeks (Oct-Dec) I went 2 times a week. Then from mid Dec-Feb I went 1 time a week.
Nov 29: Start yoga again. Hooray!

Dec 2: 7th visit w/ holistic practitioner. The RA does not show up in my body anymore, and pain doesn't register on her computer. I cried the whole way home.

Feb 23: I got re-evaluated today at acupuncture, and I've made so much progress I will be going only once a month now. This is huge! I was jumping for joy.

Today: I still primarily eat a gluten-free vegan/pescatarian diet. Lots of whole foods and little sugar. I eat peanut butter again and nightshade veggies, but everything in moderation. Still no soy, which I think is a good idea for most people—as little processed foods as possible makes a huge difference. If you're saying, "Please pass the green!" you're sure to be on the best path for your all-around health.


Cynthia said...

John and I were told no processed soy--soy milk, soy nuts, etc, but that edamame was ok. You're the first I've heard to agree with that.

Cynthia said...

I want to hear about your natural cosmetics, too.

Kate said...

Yeah, there's a lot of hype with soy these days, but there's a lot of processing that goes into all that. My holistic doctor Barbara is the one who recommended eliminating it, but it also came up on her computer that my body wasn't appreciating all the soy anyway. I think the Green Smoothie Girl also agrees, so I may have heard it from her too.

To get me started on the natural cosmetics, I went to the Nature's Knockout site. It's my friend Tiff's site, and she also has RA, which got her going natural. She and her mom do celebrity makeup, so Dad introduced them to me. He works with them on set a lot. Small world.:)

Kate said...

Here's their site: http://www.naturesknockout.com. I started by going through all their product reviews to get ideas of shampoos, foundation, powder, etc. It was super helpful to have Tiff and Laurie narrow down the search for me!

Vee said...

Katie, you've come so far! My new dr. says No Soy, too. I've been feeling lots better, even since I last saw you. With the Candida Program I'm on, I will always stay away from processed foods, soy, barley malt & all malt products, vinegar, chocolate(I can't believe I haven't eaten or craved chocolate for over 2 months!), aged cheese, cottonseed products. Alcohol & coffee are on the list, too, but I don't use those anyway. When I was checking out at the grocery store yesterday, I wasn't even tempted by any of the candy, gum & junk you have to stand by. I still eat meat, but only small portions & grass-fed/free range. For now, I don't eat any fruits, since I'm trying to get rid of the Candida. It will add that in later. I use only whole wheat flour, NO YEAST. Luckily I have a recipe for Irish Soda Bread that is really good.

I've also been taking lots of herbal pills to cleanse the liver, kill candida & fungal spores. I take animal thyroid, and lately I added some animal adrenal stuff for energy.

Now I just have to build up my muscle slowly. I haven't had much pain since I started. The only pain I've had is because my muscle tone is so weak it can't hold up my body strong enough. I'm planning on surfing this summer!! i'll be staying out of the pool since chlorine kills off the good bacteria in me. I'm checking into converting it to a salt water pool.(cha ching! but will be worth it)

Love you, Katie. You're amazing!

Angie said...

Wow, that is amazing! There was actually a time that doctors thought I had RA, but it tested negative. That was 6 years ago...I had already started to eat healthier, but then I read the pH Miracle ( by my friend's dad Dr Robert Young) and it put me on the path that I'm on now. We are in the preventative mode and hoping to reverse or control my husband's type 1 diabetes with the alkaline way. ;) I'm so glad I found your blog...good stuff! I also have a blog www.avocadosandalmonds.blogspot.com

Kate said...

Angie, thanks for sharing your story, and thanks for posting your blog url! I'm excited to try out your recipes and read about your experiences. That's amazing that you changed your diet before your health got worse—I love hearing stories like that. Good luck with your husband's health. He's one lucky man to have a wife who's so knowledgeable about health. Keep in touch!