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Read This: The Immune System Recovery Plan

This book has become my bible in just two short months. I finally moved it from my Amazon wishlist to my shopping cart out of the desire to see what Dr. Susan Blum had to say about the immune system that I hadn't already read. 

Well, let me tell you. You says a lot. The book is divided into four parts: adopting a detox diet, fixing stress & adrenal fatigue, healing a leaking gut and cleansing heavy metals from the system. She claims that many of her patients were cured or mostly cured from their auto-immune diseases after following her plan. I was skeptical at first, but I had nothing but some money to lose. She writes a totally relevant and understandable way, including recipes as she goes, while making you understand the root cause of your problems with just enough scientific detail.

The detox diet requires you remove corn, gluten, soy and diary for three weeks, then add each back in separately and keep the foods that irritate you out for good. I skipped this step since I had already been gluten free for a year, tested the effects of dairy on my system (zits and chest congestion... fun), and knew I didn't have issues with corn or soy (except again, zits come with the soy territory too due to the elevated estrogen in it). She also requires the removal of white grain (rice, quinoa, etc) and white sugar. I cut back drastically there but completely is really impossible. I also removed diary from my diet again. For a lot of people, this chapter alone could be overwhelming but power through... it's worth it! 

Next came healing my leaky gut. It just so happened that leading up to reading this book, I had been suffering from major bloating and lower stomach heaviness on and off for about three months. Some days, I literally looked four months pregnant and felt like I had a box of stones in my belly weighing my down (FUPA in yoga pants, my god!). My back even hurt. One day I thought I had ovarian cancer I was so swollen and achy down there. My gynecologist insisted I was fine, of course, and suggested I see a gastroenterologist, but I'm glad I waited. Everything Dr. Blum described as symptoms of leaky gut, I had. Her book has little tests you take that help you determine if you have severe issues and then she gives you remedies for each level of severity. For me, I need to heal my intestines with supplements and glutamine. I followed her steps (I'll go into detail about that in a another post soon) and sure enough, within days of starting her supplement plan and being more vigorous with my diet, I had no swelling or pain. In two months, I have kept it up and had no issues, not even once!

I've moved on to the adrenal fatigue portion of the book now and will get into the heavy metal removal later. It's a lot of information to digest in one sitting. I find myself reading parts of the book over and over again picking up new insight as I get further into the plan. She says it can take up to a year to really heal, but I'm definitely feeling less swelling in my joints and much, much better in my stomach. 

Dr. Blum knows what she's talking about. She was a traditional doctor who was diagnosed with hashimoto's thyroiditis. She healed herself with this plan and now she heals others. If you have fatigue, digestive or auto-immune issues at all, I suggest you get this book and hear what she has to say. I'm only half way through the journey, but it's been worth every second.





Reminders From My Rheumatologist

went to the doctor yesterday. he reminded me of many things i forget to keep in mind, so I’m writing them down this time:

— you probably wont have any heart or lung issues if your ra is under control.

— you probably wont become deformed or immobilized with joint damage if your ra is under control.

—you know if your ra is under control by the number of joints that are affected currently and how well you generally feel on a daily basis.

— increased cancer risk may just be a cause of the disease, not of the enbrel.

— you could get cancer from something totally unrelated anyway. you just stop the ra drugs, treat the cancer, and go from there.

— once again, you probably won’t get cancer.

— if the enbrel stops working there are at least 7 other drugs to try.

— new drugs are being made! including a pill that was just introduced in november. 

— you can’t really aim to feel perfect, you can aim to feel mostly good though. little things will always bother you, let them go.

— get a flu shot every year. you will not become paralyzed. it will protect your sad immune system.

— bloodwork every six months. a must-do.

— we have made progress. my ra is under control. we found a medicine that works. and it’ll work til it doesn’t anymore and that’s ok.

—we can consider my strength of disease as “in remission.”

— most importantly: doctors who remember the tiniest details of your previous conversations, and who know you by way more than your chart after only two face to face visits are absolutely irreplaceable and completely necessary. you can feel like your doctor has your absolute interest at heart.



Really Good Doctors #2 & Introducing Enbrel

it’s been almost six months since i’ve updated, and although i have a lot to say, i want to try to keep it concise. mainly because things are going well!

the major updates:

i dumped dr. d. — i found a new doctor, dr L, and i love him. he sat with me for an hour and said “tell me everything” as he wrote it on a blank sheet of paper. he held a meeting with numerous radiologists just to review my second foot mri and walked me through why it was so strange. he didn’t want to put me on enbrel right away until he understood my case a bit better. all wins.

i started enbrel — after about a month under dr L, my symptoms were coming back (changing seasons perhaps?) and i was getting frustrated. he didn’t know if we’d be able to even get enbrel approved for me since insurance companies require a certain degree of disease and number of joints affected to approve. dr L seemed to sweet talk them though because within a few weeks i was at his office with nancy-the-nurse who was helping me do my first injection. 



Prednisone Withdrawl?

so i got permission today from my doctor to come off the prednisone steroid to “see how i do without it.” i’ve been on only 5mg a day for the past almost-three months. i’ve read a lot about how you shouldn’t just stop taking prednisone as your body’s glands go into shock without the help of the steroid and you can experience fatigue and other pretty awful symptoms for awhile… basically predisnone withdrawl.

that said, does anyone have advice on what i should do? doctor says just go right from 5mg to 0 tomorrow, but i’m thinking of cutting down to 2.5mg per day for the next week, and then 0 after that. keep you posted on what and how this changes things. i’ve been symptom free for so long i have no idea if its the prednisone or the plaquenil working, here’s to hoping :)



The Symptoms & The Swirl

originally posted may 9, 2012

this past fall i started noticing a tightness in my right foot when i got out of bed in the morning, something i was aware of and then would forget about until the next day. over christmas, i went to tampa to visit family and found relief by putting my foot in front of the jet in their hot tub but the next morning my foot was so tight i was limping on it. 

i made an appointment with a new foot doctor and he did x-rays but didn’t see anything out of the norm (i was expecting stress fracture from yoga or something). he did suggest i probably had a morton’s neuroma in between my 3rd and 4th bones but that i should go on my upcoming yoga teacher training in mexico as i wouldn’t do any damage to it and we’d take care of it when i returned.

in the following months, i started noticing tightness in my right pointer finger knuckle. this is the finger i used to mouse with heavily (graphic designer) until switching to a wacom pen last year. but it hurt! not always, but enough that i was noticing.