Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rheumatoid Arthritis Integrative Plan- Something is Working!

Yesterday marked three full weeks of feeling good!!! When I wake up in the morning after a full night of sleep (woo-hoo) I am still stiff in the shoulders, fingers, knees, ankles and toes. But it is a different kind of stiffness than I have experienced in the past. First of all it doesn't come with lots of pain. Second, I know that with movement, this stiffness will work its way out enough that I can do most of things I want to do during the day.

I am not sure what has created this positive change in my body but I am afraid to stop ANYTHING I am currently doing. I started a few new things with my naturopath a few months back, that like Methotrexate, take time to work in the body. I am also taking a new supplement recommended by a friend and I took my fifth dose of methotrexate last night. My previous experience with methotrexate was that after 12 weeks of taking it my body was still going downhill. When sharing my fears about this drug with my naturopath she felt my body would accept it easier this time because I have changed my diet so drastically since the first time I took it in 2004. Perhaps I am not giving the med as much inflammation to work through this time and it can focus on the job it was meant to do - slow down the damage to my joints and reduce inflammation. Whatever it is, I am happy. I feel more positive. I feel motivated. I feel focused. I feel strong. I feel like me.

Here is my current integrative plan. As long as it is working, I will not be making any changes:

Contrast Showers - This has become a daily routine for me since March. The longer I do these, the more benefits I feel from them.

Wobenyzm N - This supplement came recommended by a RA friend. I began taking high doses of this at the same time as I began the Methotrexate.

Fish Oil - I have been taking fish oil since November of 2004 but in the last three or four months I have increased my daily dosage to help with the inflammation.

Ribes - Also known as black current oil. I started on this for inflammation when I saw my naturopath in April.

L-Glutamine - I have taken this off and on since 2004 but stuck with it daily in high doses since March to repair a leaky gut.

Mediclear - This is a rice based protein shake used for detox, inflammation, digestive problems and more. I started on it about a month and a half ago. When I was in remission before I used a similiar product called Ultra Inflamx on a daily basis. This makes a quick high protein breakfast!

Diet - I have been following a gluten/dairy/soy free diet for sometime but have also eliminated sugar, processed foods and most grains. What do I eat? A lot of veggies and grass fed meat!

Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics - I take these pretty regularly, unless I run out.

Vitamin D - I have been taking this supplement for a few years. I recently had my vitamin D tested and was told by my PCP that I have one of the highest levels he has seen!!! So, I have reduced this supplement but still try to get plenty of natural Vitamin D by walking Izzy for about 45 minutes every morning.

Exercise - Exercise has always been an important part of my life - bike riding, walking, weights, yoga, pilates, playing with my kids, etc. In the past when I have felt good for an extended time I have rushed back to exercise trying to make up for lost time. This time around, I am listening to my body. I am walking daily to build up my body strength and balance. My body will tell me when it is ready for the next step.

Prednisone - I have been gradually weaning off of this. If I have one more good week, I will be completely off!

Methotrexate - Last night I took my fifth weekly dose of this drug. So far the only noticeable side effect has been a lot of shedding of hair.

Folic Acid - I started this at the same time as Methotrexate since it can create a folic acid deficiency.