In this fascinating Episode you’ll learn:
– How Cherie’s health was compromised by Ankylosing Spondylitis
– Many failed Ankylosing Spondylitis natural treatments caused her frustration and sent her backwards
– Shifting to the Paddison Program gave her very fast and long term relief (to this day)
– How she has become medication free and pain free
– How she uses discipline to quickly ‘reset’ if needs to get back on track
– For those searching for a natural Ankylosing Spondylitis cure, this approach may provide the closest thing ever made available.
– Cherie’s book is now available on Amazon
Disclaimer -the information on this site is not medical advice. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise, drug or supplement routines you must first discuss the changes with a licensed professional.
Clint: Welcome. I’ve got a very special guest today who’s gonna talk about ankylosing spondylitis and her recovery from that terrible condition. So many times I get inquiries from people with other autoimmune conditions, other autoimmune inflammatory arthritic conditions and one of them is ankylosing spondylitis. And so it’s a real pleasure to bring Cherie onto this episode to talk about what she’s achieved. Hello, Cherie?
Cherie: Hi, Clint. How are you doing?
Clint: I’m doing great. I mean, I’m so thrilled that we’re going to have this conversation because you reached out to me and you said, “Hey, you know, I did your program and great results with AS.” And I thought, “That’s awesome.” And then you also went on to say that you’ve written a book and, of course, I went straight onto Amazon and bought it straight away and then I read through it. And it’s a fascinating tale of struggle and perseverance, determination and never giving up attitude and ultimately a wonderful outcome. And so in this chat I’d like you to tell us all that you went through with ankylosing spondylitis and then we can talk about the book. But first of all, for people who don’t know, talk about the disease itself and what is ankylosing spondylitis, and how did it affect you?
Cherie: Okay. So AS is an autoimmune condition that also centers around that same inflammatory process, you know, that’s common to RA. And, I guess, the hallmark of AS is that it attacks the sacroiliac joint in the spine. And then the sort of end result for some people, not all people, is that you can have a progressive degeneration and you have the bones fusing. So yeah, there can be other joints involved and eyes become involved as well, that’s common. So you can have fingers, knees, shoulders, neck. You know, all that sort of thing. Same process, same [inaudible 00:02:08], kind of.
Clint: Yeah, yeah. A lot of these things get sort of overlapped a lot in diagnosis. And sometimes I will hear clients say, “Well, I was recently diagnosed with his, but I went to a different doctor and they diagnosed me with that.” And often there are some kind of combination of sort of undefined inflammatory arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, or maybe there’s even some psoriasis in there. And as you say they’re sometimes a bit convoluted. But your spine was heavily implicated, correct?
Cherie: Mostly my sacroiliac joint, so I had a lot of hip pain so I would struggle to walk. Sometimes I’d struggle to just shift position in bed. You know, I was practically immobilized sometimes. But then eventually, you know, wrist and neck. So I probably shouldn’t have been driving. I couldn’t change gears, I couldn’t turn my neck. What do you do? You have to keep driving. So I discovered interesting ways to drive. I had the kids open jars for me. You know, it was quite debilitating. I feel like I should have had an ACROD sticker on my car, but when I was well, I was well, I could sprint to the shops, when I was very sick, I could not even get out of the car. So it’s, you know, very much up and down, that pattern of flares and remissions that you would be familiar with. And it started…
Clint: Yeah, right. And so when did it start?
Cherie: Well, you know, I probably wasn’t in…Before I got sick, I don’t think I was really well. I think there was an absence of disease, but I look back now and it cracked up very slowly until you kind of reach that threshold at which someone will kind of diagnose you with a condition. So probably as far back as 2010, maybe. A little bit sore in the hip if I sat down for a long time. I had some sore, gritty eyes for a period but then it went away. So nothing really to make any red flags pop up but then eventually that hip kind of turned into something much more severe. And, of course, then there’s the familiar pattern of misdiagnosis and different referrals and different opinions and sometimes harmful treatment when they don’t know what they’re treating. So yeah, and I just happened to come across one doctor that put two and two together. You know, swollen finger, sacroiliac pain, eye inflammation. I think this is what it is. To tell you the truth, I had already kind of diagnosed it myself anyway. I thought that’s what I possibly had.
Clint: These days we all have Dr. Google at our fingertips and we’re able to…
Cherie: Oh, [inaudible 00:04:47] Dr. Google.
Clint: We’re able to find a lot of…
Cherie: You don’t know, you can get well that way.
Clint: Absolutely. I gave a presentation, was it yesterday? No, the day before. And, you know, I updated some of the slides and all my research was able to be condensed into two slides. And it was amazon.com and Google Scholar, okay? So I spent a lot of time on the medical literature and PubMed articles. So it was, you know, between those two things, you know, that’s where I made most of my, you know, discoveries. And I think gosh, go back 15 years with this condition or the condition that you were diagnosed with, what did you do? I mean, back then it was gold injections…
Cherie: They wouldn’t be without Internet. It’s a powerful tool.
Clint: Very powerful.
Cherie: And it’s a double-edged sword, but when it’s used for good it’s a powerful tool.
Cherie: This is how I found out about you.
Clint: Well, there you go. It’s wonderful. So before we get to finding out about myself and what I have, you know, out there, tell us some more of your struggles in that journey of, you know, exploration as to, you know, “What’s going on? Where do I go from here?” Talk about those times a bit more for us.
Cherie: Yeah. When I was diagnosed, I mean, it’s…as much as it’s a relief, it’s also devastating as well, but at least then you know what you are dealing with and I could kind of hone my search on the Internet. And I just had this overriding faith that I could get well. I don’t know where that came from. I’ve had some pretty amazing home births, and a planned breech home birth so I had an underlying trust in my body, which is partly why a diagnosis of autoimmune was so crushing because you feel like you have faith in your body and it’s kind of attacking you back and you don’t know why.
Clint: Yep, it’s awful.
Cherie: But I just had to go with my gut, which is another thing I also learned through my birthing experiences. And I went with my intuition and I just said, well, in this life if I can’t…I don’t want a life where I can’t heal so I have to believe in that. And I know people have healed from other things but I didn’t know of anyone that had managed to knock this condition on its head. But I just felt that they must be out there if only I just looked harder.
Clint: Yeah. So your beliefs was supportive, and you made a positive interpretation that, you know, in the past you’ve overcome things or achieved things where you trusted your body and your body responded. And you believe that therefore down the track, under any circumstances your body is going to be consistent and going to give you that same kind of return.
Cherie: It’s the only approach I could take if I wasn’t just gonna be completely, you know, overwhelmed by it. And it’s interesting to me since I’ve had some negative responses to my story from people who don’t believe you can heal. I truly think that the belief that you can heal, because it also drives your behavior is just the absolute key to recovery. And that’s why it’s so important to hear each other’s stories, because once you see other people are doing it, you can believe.
Clint: I know.
Cherie: Some people didn’t want to believe I had done it because the alternative, which is to understand that you haven’t been given a full story by doctors or that you’ve been kept sick in many ways, that’s almost more devastating than a diagnosis.
Clint: Completely agree.
Cherie: Some people just [inaudible 00:08:22].
Clint: Gosh, that is so true. First of all, it’s like “The Four Minute Mile,” the Roger Bannister story. Until he did that, people thought it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. And then not long after he did it, suddenly a new bar had been set and other people were able to do it as well. So sometimes it takes, you know, someone else to do it before we can actually believe that it’s even possible. For me, what was driving me, because I couldn’t find any piece and I couldn’t find any role models, what was driving me was that every time I stopped eating, I felt perfect. And so although I didn’t have a role model, I thought it has to be cause and effect. You cannot not eat and feel perfect and think that it’s anything other than your digestive system, right?
Cherie: That comes down to just listening to your body, doesn’t it? If you actually go inward and listen, it’ll tell you what you need to know. And I think that if you ignore it, it’ll shout louder. And I actually think that’s part of the disease process. And now I’m very much in-tune, I think about it every day. It’s a conscious decision, checking my body. And like you say, the biggest clues comes from your own body because your healing journey is different to mine, is different to the next person’s. It’s a similar path but everyone’s individual in it and your body is the expert.
Clint: That’s right.
Cherie: [inaudible 00:09:52].
Clint: I loved what you said about how threatening that it can be for people when they hear of someone else with their condition who isn’t suffering and in misery but instead has achieved something remarkable. And the reason partially that it’s so threatening is not just because maybe they’ve been given the wrong information, or not the wrong but only half of the information they should be receiving from the medical profession. But the other side of that, potentially, even though the greatest, most threatening side is that they realize, “Oh my gosh, I have to be 100% responsible for my condition.” That doesn’t mean to neglect medical profession, not at all. It means that you should be tracking your progress with monthly blood markers, you should be trying to measure in any possible way the progress of your condition and take every step possible to minimize it.
Cherie: Yeah, it’s a very empowering process. And if you’re in the depths of this illness, you’ve got no energy, your mood is flat, you don’t…it’s hard to find that motivation and to be positive. And it’s a lot of hard work and you need 110% commitment. Not everyone’s ready for that. And partly I think it’s our reliance on, you know, quick fix. We’re fed this lie that if you have A, you take B. You know, it’s allopathic medicine, which is great for certain things, but it’s not well-suited for this kind of conditions that develop in each person differently, so you kind of have to look at your own story and look at what your body needs. And it’s a very lengthy and sometimes expensive process which if you’re very, very sick and unwell, that can be almost…that can be too overwhelming to contemplate for some.
Clint: I know, I know. And when you wake up each morning and, you know, the pain’s worse or at least it’s not better, and you’ve spent the last week being as aggressive as you can with your diet and exercise regimes, sometimes, you know, it’s everything you have just to get out of bed, let alone think, “Oh, how else can I troubleshoot this situation and what else can I do?” But look, I just think that there’s no…nothing more important than getting rid of a chronic illness, is there? I mean, if we’re going to wake up in the morning and think, “Well, what’s on my agenda today?” I used to sit down and my job for a long time has been performing, and I used to sit down to try to write some jokes but my fingers were so sore, it hurt me to open the laptop, let alone type, right? And I’m trying to type jokes and all I can think is my knee is so sore and my elbows are killing me, like it was impossible. And so really what else should I have been doing than trying to get rid of this chronic situation? Yeah.
Cherie: I think if you ignore it, it will get to the point where you can’t do the things that make life worth living because then you have to take notice. And really for me, I mean, it’s been…I feel like it’s been one of my greatest achievements because now I’m living life to the full and I’m there for my kids. And that’s what it was all about really.
Clint: Me too. It was all about reclaiming my, I’d say my, you know, God-given right to be healthy, I would tell myself, but also to have kids and to be able to now spend time with the kids and run around chasing Angelina who turned three yesterday. I mean, it’s just…yeah, it’s just a great, wonderful thing. So I want to dig into your brain a little more. When I read your book, what struck me is you are extremely determined and you have a never give up attitude that reminds me very much so of myself. Can I dig a little bit and say, what were some of the thought processes that you had, in addition to what you’ve already mentioned, that helped you get through these tough times? What other things were going through your mind and driving you to push through the toughest times?
Cherie: Oh, gosh. That faith in my own body and in its ability to heal, that was a huge one. And I just kept imagining my life, you know, without AS. I kind of did that as the end point. Of course, there were times when I didn’t have the energy for it and I had to take a daily anti-inflammatory just to give myself a break because as you would know when you have a very inquiring and persistent mind, you can actually pull yourself out really easily. And I know now that’s part of who I am and it’s what makes me vulnerable to actually developing something like AS. So it’s a double-edged sword. So, you know, I had to kind of ease back a little on the research and just get some symptom relief for a while, while I gathered stock. It really just was unshakable belief. And what was the alternatives? There was no alternative. I couldn’t imagine a life where I had to live like this. It was not an option.
Cherie: That stubbornness, that, again, is a double-edged sword but at least this time it became good for me.
Clint: Yeah. Have you read a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl?
Clint: He talks about the prisoners who went through the prisoner of war camp, and I think it was during World War II. And these were, you know, people who were essentially just surviving to serve the enemy, right? They were prisoners of war being barely fed, getting little exercise, sleeping in atrocious conditions. And they were dying, all of them, right? And here is a psychologist, Dr. Frankl, and what he began to do is he began to study those who were surviving. And what he established, and is the cracks of his book as a sort of not necessarily a scientific publication but that kind of angle is that the people who survived and those who originally got out of the POW camp were those who created the most compelling future for themselves. Those people who talked about seeing their kids or family again when they got out of the camp, and those who talked about what they would do and the stories they would tell, people who were picturing a future that was compelling. And so when you said you were imagining life beyond that, yes, that’s what it reminded me of.
Cherie: Sometimes I had to look back to remember what that life might be like but I think that the power of visualization and, you know, your thoughts create your reality. I mean, that visualization and nice thoughts gave me the energy to keep looking for what was ultimately the answer. So without that I wouldn’t have got here. So that, you know, your mind sort of drives your actions. And that’s how I think thoughts create your reality.
Clint: Yeah. I mean, this aspect of trying to heal is profound and that’s why I wanted to pick your brain a little more on that. What about the mechanics of it and the physical side of it? What foods did you try, what exercises were you doing and what didn’t work before we get into what did work, especially things that didn’t work that people might think should?
Cherie: Yeah. Which is not to mean they might not work for them because some of them, I believe, other people have recovered from things using, but whether I was at the wrong stage of my gut healing to cut some of those things or it was just not right for me, I’m not sure, but the kefir was…I drank a lot of kefir.
Cherie: Made with raw milk.
Clint: Raw milk.
Cherie: Raw dairy. And that was just diabolical for me. I’m sure it hastened my illness.
Clint: Right, it hastened it.
Cherie: I have been sick because I was doing even more Googling. So, you know, I think [inaudible 00:18:16] what not…what didn’t work so I could tick that off the list.
Clint: That’s right.
Cherie: But for many people they find it’s very healing to their gut, but it’s very individual.
Clint: No one I’ve met, but anyway that’s okay.
Cherie: [inaudible 00:18:28]. So some other fermented foods as well, kimchi and I made sourdough through capturing stuff floating in the air. You know that method that you use?
Clint: I’ve only heard of that. Before we let kimchi get off the hook, kimchi normally if it’s just, you know, non-starchy vegetables that are then fermented, normally that’s typically a good…but you found that no…
Cherie: I didn’t have any real problems with that…
Clint: No problem, right.
Cherie: …and I was drinking lots of other stuff at the time so…
Clint: Yeah, it could have been playing a good role.
Cherie: …it definitely didn’t make me worse and it probably did me good but the kefir was a no harm, yeah. I did fly interstate with a friend, and we did the overdose antibiotic therapy.
Clint: Ooh, okay. Dr. Brown kind of protocol.
Cherie: Oh, is that his? The [inaudible 00:19:21] Antibiotic Protocol, isn’t it the vitamin D deficiency, let’s all go into severe vitamin D deficiency to clean the immune system?
Clint: No, it’s just low dose antibiotics for an endless time period.
Cherie: So I tried that and did not really…I think it calms the condition a little bit but definitely did not…not worth continuing with that.
Clint: It’s lucky that it didn’t do you more harm.
Clint: Most of my clients who’ve come from that in the past are more difficult to work with than those who haven’t been on long-term antibiotics. And so, you know, my personal view on that is that it’s a very dangerous strategy even if you are mega-dosing on probiotics to try and offset the obvious detrimental effects of antibiotics over long-term.
Cherie: I agree. If I knew back then what I knew now, I would have been one of those ones going, “No, that’s definitely not gonna…” But, you know, I was desperate, really desperate.
Clint: Oh, yeah. The things I’ve done. I was at one point drinking throat cartilage from cows. I mean, I was getting…
Cherie: That does not even surprise me.
Clint: I was getting electric currents put through my body by one naturopath running it through my toes to my head and telling me that it was eliminating certain microbes at certain frequencies. And like, I spent thousands on that person trying to…I mean, don’t…I’ve done a lot.
Cherie: It’s worth a shot.
Clint: Everything is worth a shot until you know…
Cherie: It doesn’t [inaudible 00:20:49].
Clint: Yeah, until you know better.
Cherie: But the antibiotic therapy that’s definitely, you know, a downside.
Clint: Yeah. Okay, what else did you try?
Cherie: I nearly tried fecal transplant.
Clint: Good, because I want someone to do that and tell me how…
Cherie: The throat cartilage story, I mean I didn’t quite…I didn’t get to that. But there has been the odd person that’s recovered from MS after that. So I think there’s probably something in it, but there’s probably other ways of achieving the same thing just through [inaudible 00:21:21] and stuff.
Clint: Yeah. I’m curious as to hear feedback from others about that. At this point very little, even anecdotal evidence from any…anyone that has been in contact with me about that. Prohibitively expensive in some locations.
Cherie: Expensive. They do have to be locally because it’s a series of treatments so if you’re from interstate, you have to be there for a certain period of time.
Clint: Yeah, it’s a big commitment.
Cherie: I’m told there’s a little bit more evidence and more stories about that. I mean, it’s on the maybe list.
Clint: Yeah. You know, I think so.
Cherie: But if you’re just gonna do that and not address everything else, it would be kind of be waste of money.
Clint: That’s right because we know that it can be a matter of days to weeks before you can completely change your microbiome based on what you eat. And so, you know, even if you were to, you know, do a fecal transfer and then go ahead and continue to eat fast food and cheese pizzas, then it won’t be long until things are back to what they were.
Cherie: You’ll be in the same mode. Exactly, yeah. Waste of someone else’s poop.
Clint: Yeah, exactly. It should be fertilizer on the grass. Okay. Anything else before we talk about then your transition to improvements?
Cherie: Well, I did try lots of raw juicing and things but I just found they’re too harsh on my system. Like it was just upsetting my gut.
Clint: Straight through?
Cherie: And I imagine it’s because… Yeah, my gut was not good. And high protein, protein powders. But as I know now, my body probably had trouble breaking protein down anyway. I was just loading more in and the protein powders definitely made me worse.
Clint: I went through that phase as well. I went through that phase. I bought container after container of Pea Protein Powder, which is a good product, a good product if you’re looking for that but, you know… I’ve done a separate video about that, if people are interested in that, then I can link to. But for me, you know, I was worried about my weight, and so protein for me wasn’t because I felt like I wasn’t getting enough protein. And I was thinking that…you know, I was coming at it from like the most basic knowledge of dietary stuff. I hadn’t given diet a thought in my whole life until I was struck with the condition. And so then, you know, I’m thinking, “Oh, protein for muscle, you know, as simple as you like,” that sort of level. But yeah, I took Pea Protein after I went through a heap of whey protein. Of course, a cow milk derivative, which is a disaster. So I improved a little bit to head into the right direction, but ultimately dropped all protein powders as well in the process just…
Cherie: We don’t need that much protein, full stop.
Cherie: And if you’re not very good at metabolizing it because of lack of enzymes or your genetics, you’re just setting fuel to the fire.
Clint: Exactly. Well said. Okay, so let’s talk turning points. How did things turn around?
Cherie: Well, I started…I took the magic pills, and yes, I had symptom relief but I thought, “Now I have to start thinking a little bit outside the box,” because I knew it wasn’t just a physical…and I’ve tried everything physical that I kind of was exposed to, so I thought I’d go and see an energy healer, and just see if I can, you know, get any relief that way. So I had a session with a man, Chiu Chi in Mosman Park in here. And he did the energy and he did a big, long meditation with me. There was lots of tears and that sort of thing, but it wasn’t too wacky, it was very mundane. And I felt sort of nearly kind of energized, I felt a little bit more positive. But then a few days after that, I actually came across a newspaper article about you. So the serendipity there is not lost on me. Maybe I was then open to receiving something…
But by then I knew that autoimmune was the same kind of basic process no matter how it manifests in people. And you were the first person who I’d come across that had actually healed themselves from a condition like that. And I thought, “Well, if you can do it, 100% I can do it. And if it works for RA, it’s probably gonna work for AS.” So I paid the $49, best $49 that I ever spent. And literally, I mean, I took a little time reading through everything and preparing myself mentally because this literally was my last shot I was having at anything to do with dietary intervention. And I knew I was gonna be 100% committed from day one because I couldn’t judge if it was gonna work or not on a half-baked attempt. So I was really ready.
And literally by the second day of starting that the 10-day…initial 10-day thing, I was like symptoms gone. You know, my neck was swiveling, in fact I couldn’t keep swiveling my neck. I just couldn’t…I had to pinch myself [inaudible 00:26:34]. And just haven’t looked back. I had actually had to stop with that, that hardcore part after about eight or nine days because I have had an eating disorder in the past, many years ago, and I was starting to feel like my urge, my hunger urge obviously dropped away, which is normal, but it actually scared me a little bit because I didn’t wanna be in that place where I was ignoring my hunger because that was a bad pattern to me. So I then eased my way out of it as most people would do after the 10 days. But I stopped a day or two earlier. I mean, I had…I had the results I needed and then I followed, you know, the reintroduction and all of that.
But on day, was it three or four? I had some pretty pronounced stomach cramping overnight, intestinal cramping. So to me that indicated that something in there was starved and died, something that probably shouldn’t have been in there. And I think that was part of the gut healing process. But other than that it just…I mean, it was hard mentally. But in many ways it was also easy because I was…it was all or nothing. So I had motivation.
Clint: And with the reintroduction process, can you tell us what did you start with? Did you start with some of the fruits or did you get the miso paste in quickly and just give us an idea of how you went about that. I know it’s going back a little bit, but do you recall?
Cherie: It was a long time ago. I did start with a few more different…a variety of vegetables and things and some more fruits. It was more the variety that I was craving. And some starchy things that were more filling, some more sweet potatoes and things like that. Yeah, because I just wanted more nourishment.
Clint: And you’ve moved on from then obviously a lot. So what does your diet look like these days? What are some of the foods that you get most of your energy from and so forth?
Cherie: So, I mean, today I started just with some…I think I just nibbled on some fruit while I was making the kids’ lunches. I used to get up and I would be starving hungry from the minute…before my eyes were even open I used to be like, “I have to eat breakfast otherwise I’ll die.” Now I can go 11:00 or something before I feel hungry. I’ll have a cup of tea, you know, and some detox liquid that I take each morning for my liver from the naturopath. And just liquids early on, but a little bit of fruit this morning. I might have some oats or even [inaudible 0029:26] with some soy milk, or I’ll have a smoothie with some spinach and coconut water and that sort of thing. Lunch could be leftovers from the night before or like a smoked salmon and salad sort of, you know, with capers, something like that, lots of raw vegetables but also lots of cooked veggies with dinner. And I do now eat some meat, not every day. And if I start feeling a little bit sort of like I’m more stiff than normal in the morning, which is like…I wouldn’t even say stiff, but if I’m conscious of my…the way my body feels in the morning, I might ease off the meat for a few days and just kind of reset a little bit. So it’s very much I play it by ear.
And, you know, a couple of …once a month maybe if I’m out with girlfriends, I’ll have a champagne, I’ll eat chocolate every now and then. But it’s very much driven by how I’m feeling. And if I drink a glass of champagne, the next day I’m super clean, very basic eating and, you know, all those sorts of things.
Clint: You’ve got the whole thing on a string.
Cherie: But that’s years away from…I mean, for a long time I did have to maintain quite strict…Every now and then I’ll even have a slice of white bread, but I’m talking maybe once every two months or…you know, and I get away with it.
Clint: Yeah, that’s right. You’ve got it by…you know, you’ve got your whole condition on a string now. You are your own puppeteer.
Cherie: It’s a trial, isn’t it?
Clint: That’s it. So what’s happening, right, is you know that if you can take that puppet over into a location where you know is a little bit cheeky, a little bit dangerous, and then it starts to get…doesn’t start to like it too much, you know how to pull the strings and bring it right back to where you want it again. Because over in the perimeters of sort of naughty is sometimes where we want to test things, you know. So for me that might be, you know, obviously I’m 100% plant-based but for me that’s like hot chips, right? So I got into this trouble a long time ago. I just love hot chips, okay? So for me sometimes I’ll go and like eat some hot chips but then the kind of super hardcore me says, “Oh, but you better have some spinach leaves with that,” right?
Cherie: That’s okay. It’s all right.
Clint: Because I just don’t wanna go pressing the wrong buttons because I’m so happy having this situation as it is.
Cherie: Oh, you don’t wanna go back to be obese.
Clint: No, I don’t wanna…
Cherie: No one wants to go back there. It’s not good.
Cherie: No hot chip is worth it.
Clint: That’s right, no hot chip is worth it. So sometimes I’ll do it and feel guilty and then I’ll go and grab a bag and I’ll yum, yum, yum. And I know that I’m feeding all my good guys after they’ve just taken a blow.
Cherie: I do the same thing. If I have a chocolate then, you know, a few hours later I’m wanting a green juice.
Clint: Yeah, yeah, that’s it.
Cherie: So in my mind it balances out.
Clint: So recently in our online forum and our support forum, there was a discussion that one of our members, Andy created, who was on a recent podcast. And he was talking about this whole concept of remission and what remission means. So I actually think that the word “remission” is a redundant phrase that no one needs to use ever. It should be absolutely…
Cherie: Remission means it can come back at any minute.
Cherie: It takes the control away again.
Clint: The definition for remission…
Cherie: It’s not the disease, it’s us.
Cherie: We have…
Cherie: It’s a continuous from well to unwell. You can be unwell and then suddenly well and then unwell again. Once you’re well, it doesn’t work like that. If you’re still on meds, they can put you into remission. That’s where, I think, the word “remission” is appropriate.
Cherie: Because you just suppress something momentarily. That’s what remission means, isn’t it?
Cherie: In this context.
Clint: Exactly. You and I the precise overlap of definition around that. It is a medical phrase that simply means that we have dumped enough drugs on you so that we now can’t test your symptoms in your blood, or we can’t see them in your physical expression or an MRI, or whatever it might be anymore. But remission does not serve the patient, it does not serve anyone who’s got the condition because if you type it into a definition, as Andy did, and posted the response, it means…the word “temporary” is in there. The word “temporary” is the difference between feeling like your future is awesome and your future is scary. That one word, that definition, right? And so I’ve recently been using the phrase “completely and confidently controlled.”
Cherie: Yeah, that’s the control because I could look at, you know, if I woke up feeling a little bit achy I could say, “That’s it, the disease is back.” But that’s just a signal from my body to ease off some of the things that make it unhappy. And that’s within my control.
Clint: That’s right.
Cherie: I had a number of people accuse me of not in fact being the author of my own recovery, but I’ve just been in a spontaneous remission. You know, it just suddenly disappeared for three years, under no control of my own. Well, if that’s how they wanna think, I doubt they’ll ever get there either.
Clint: That’s right, that’s right.
Cherie: So it’s all about your attitude towards…
Clint: We have all had that and it’s nice to share that. I mean, I’ve had the only sort of grasping at straws, comments that other rheumatologists say to patients who go in to see their rheumatologists and talk about me and my situation. Those rheumatologists sometimes say, “Well, he must have been misdiagnosed,” or, “He mustn’t have had a severe case.” In fact many years ago, I attended an event to, you know, perform standup at and sat on a table with doctors in a very regional part of Australia right out there at Cunnamulla, which I’d never been to before. Anyway, at that event, I told them why I was eating the way I was, which was plant-based here in the middle the outback, right? And they sort of were ridiculing me until I got to the point where I said, “Look, this is why I’m doing this, because I had this and this and I couldn’t walk, and I was on all these drugs and I wasn’t able to have kids, and I was virtually, you know, on the brink of just ending everything.” And so I pulled out pictures on my phone of my joints and all of the agonies and stuff. And then it just wasn’t even like, “Oh well, you really did this.” It was like, “No, fair enough.”
Cherie: It’s just an anomaly.
Clint: Yeah, you’re an anomaly. Yeah. So anyway, I can relate to that.
Cherie: I mean, you’d like to hope that if someone’s interested in really helping their patients, they’d be interested in what you did to get well and might look into it, but that’s not always the case. In fact I was unfortunately diagnosed before. We took out life insurance and there’s a whole other can of worms there about, “Do you really want or need an official medical diagnosis?” Because once the AS diagnosed, they would never consider that you don’t have it. And in fact now if I went to the doctor they would never diagnose me with it. So my insurance will not pay for anything that happens to me later that relates to the condition.
So I went back to my rheumatologist and I said to him, “Look, you know, all my bloods are normal,” and he knows that I’ve recovered, but he was unable to write on a piece of paper that I no longer had AS, or he would write was that I had this very mild form of the disease. So now they’re happy to cover me at least for most things. But the medical world does not acknowledge that you can recover. He called it a mild form. Well, he wasn’t there when my husband had to piggybank me through the streets of Singapore because I literally could not walk and I was in agony. It didn’t feel very mild to me. So I had a severe form of the disease, now I have a mild form. That’s medical speak for you, “You’ve recovered.” I can’t acknowledge that [inaudible 00:38:07]. But I was happy for the letter that he did write, but that’s, you know, they just is not a recognition that it’s a disease that you can recover from, it’s lifelong.
Clint: Absolutely, absolutely. And in a way that I overlap with their way of thinking is that I’ve dropped from my vocabulary also, just like I’ve dropped remission, also dropped the word “cure.” My CCP antibodies and rheumatoid factor are still elevated now five years after I’ve been off…six years or something after I’ve been off methotrexate and have no symptoms. Those are still elevated in my blood. And so that to me tells me that, “Look, there is a presence that exists.” Like something is asleep but I don’t wanna wake it up, right?
Cherie: There’s a genetic predisposition there that if provoked could rear up.
Clint: That’s it.
Cherie: But it’s a different language. It’s not a disease then, it’s just this is who I am and I need to be careful with certain things because this is my little Achilles heel.
Clint: Exactly. That’s right.
Cherie: Yeah, it’s a different way of thinking.
Clint: That’s right. And it is a different category. It doesn’t fall into any kind of medical standard, because what is someone who has a condition but doesn’t really have the condition? It’s a weird sort of situation.
Cherie: I would not be diagnosed with it if I went to the doctor.
Clint: That’s right.
Cherie: It’s this whole allopathic medicine approach where you have to label something in order to say which medication to match it with. So the label is not always helpful or adequate in many…and it can be harmful. The only benefit of having a diagnosis for me was that I knew what I was dealing with. In many ways, even without the diagnosis I possibly would have kind of got there anyway. For me I needed it, but then looking back I’m almost it’s a shame that it’s on my medical record.
Clint: I know, I know. Yeah. When you’ve got insurance involved and that diagnosis is there. I’m in the exact same position as yourself, by the way. We haven’t got life insurance but I have spoken to a…one of my good friends from university who’s now a financial planner. And he had some quotes done and, you know, I haven’t followed them up with him but I know he’s sitting on some quotes for me for some life insurance for myself and my wife. And he said, “Yeah, once you’ve got that label, it can’t be removed.” He said, “So they don’t care whether or not, you know, you’re in a wheelchair or whether or not you’re in the situation you are. It’s the same, the same thing applies.”
Cherie: Probably healthier than someone that doesn’t have. I’m healthier than I was before I had the condition, to be honest.
Clint: Yes, before they insured you in the first place, yes. So let’s now sort of start towards the end of our chat. Tell us about your book. I want people to go and buy your book.
Cherie: You know, it’s free today on Amazon.
Clint: Is that right?
Cherie: I think it’s free for five days every month, and I know yesterday and today it’s free.
Clint: Right. Well, we’re not gonna be able to get this up into iTunes for probably another few days, so by the time…
Cherie: Oh, that’s all right. I think it’s $2.99 or something like that.
Clint: I paid something trivial for it. Yes, you should up the price because it’s a lot of value.
Cherie: It’s not a moneymaking thing. You know, the more stories that get out there, the more people will have the belief, and that can also…I mean, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
Clint: That’s right, that’s right.
Cherie: I want them to be better.
Clint: It depends on what your…you know, sometimes people question why our program isn’t free, and I think it’s worth just touching on that for a second. First of all, it’s not whether or not it’s free as to whether or not someone will do it or not. Everyone can find $49. And if you can’t find $49, people email me and say, “I haven’t got $49.” And I reply and say, “Here’s a free copy.” It’s that simple, right? It’s whether or not they want to do it or not. They’re having a small financial hurdle to overcome is a way of someone deciding are they ready to take a leap of faith? And also…
Cherie: Does anyone question whether they pay their rheumatologist?
Clint: Well, that’s right.
Cherie: Who devotes his life to…I mean, you know, I’m happy you’re devoting your life to helping people and you need an income to do that.
Clint: That’s precisely that.
Cherie: I have no issue with that.
Clint: That’s exactly right. And now if you look at charities and how they’re set up, and some people say, “Why isn’t it a charity structure.” And I thought about it. Every charity, and I’ve worked for a lot, I’ve performed at a lot of charity events, I know a lot of people involved in that business. Charity is run like a business. People get paid salaries. When you donate to a charity, money first and foremost goes to paying the salaries of the people at the charity. What’s left over after all the advertising cost, the marketing cost, the cost of the rent for the office that they all sit in, all of the stuff then ends up going to the individual, all the people or the group of people who they advertise, right? And so it’s a very, very low conversion rate dollar to help with this, with the revenue that’s made for us. I can spend the time and allocate the time talking with people like yourself, creating YouTube videos, you know, putting out new blog posts, emailing my mailing list, putting up new Facebook information. It’s endless how much stuff that I can then create by being able to everyone just contributing a small amount to then be able to undergo the life-changing experiences. So that’s why.
Cherie: But in many ways, you know, every person that purchases the program, if you look at it this way, it’s also potentially helping other people who through your marketing and your social media efforts is then exposed to these ideas because it’s the awareness that’s lacking. So their money is in essence helping other people here, that they can get well. That’s just the way I think.
Clint: I like to think so. Obviously not everyone is gonna agree, but that’s why things are like they are and I feel that, you know, it enables me to contribute a tremendous amount of free stuff back to everyone else. That’s how I think of it.
Cherie: And to think of all the money, you know, you’re saving by not taking medications.
Clint: There’s a lot there.
Cherie: Like not going to the rheumatologist, which I don’t have to do anymore. He said to me, “You know, I’ll probably never see you again.” I was like I certainly hope so. He’s lovely but I don’t wanna be back there. So, you know, how many hundreds and hundreds of dollars, you know, that $49 saved me.
Clint: Yeah, it’s wonderful. So tell us now, your book $2.99 on Amazon, free at the…free as we record this but probably won’t be…every time people go to Amazon because it’s only once a month, or I think you said. And what about a hard copy of the book if people want that?
Cherie: There is a hard copy. It’s a print-on-demand, so it’s about $13-odd.
Clint: Wonderful. Okay. So if someone is listening or watching this on YouTube and they have ankylosing spondylitis, get immediately online to go to “Freedom from Ankylosing Spondylitis” written by yourself, Cherie, your last name?
Clint: Okay, fabulous. So search that onto the Amazon platform and you’ll be able to get her book in either digital or print format. So Cherie, this has been fabulous. Any final words for someone… And you’ve got an audience, they’re all listening, looking for any last words. What would you say to someone who’s considering making big changes or in the middle of it, what are some parting thoughts?
Cherie: I was thinking about that this morning. And I would just say that, you know, it’s time to just possibly invest in yourself. Start listening to your body, give it what it needs and make the investment. And if you need to think of it in terms of other people, then you’re making an investment to be there for them and to be able to give them what they need, what you need to make that commitment to yourselves first. And it flows from there really.
Clint: Fantastic, great stuff. Well, what an inspiration you are. Thank you so much for sharing your story on our podcast, and I look forward to staying in touch. Do you have a blog or a website, or a social media presence that people can follow you on?
Cherie: I have a new Facebook page called “Ankylosing Spondylitis Recovery,” I think it’s called. And I mainly set that up because a lot of the Facebook groups, they’re obviously focused on people, you know, who’re still in the medical model, they’re taking medication. And I found that even when I was starting to look through the posts and stuff, I was getting drawn back into that way of thinking about my disease. And my Facebook page is just a place for people who want to take a different approach and attitude towards it and see that recovery is possible and how can we support each other to do that?
Clint: Well, that is fabulous.
Cherie: You know, don’t get really bogged down in the illness itself. So, yeah.
Clint: And I believe that that is now going to be possible and that’s gonna be very successful. When I first started our Facebook page, we had, you know, for every five positive comments, we’d have one or two that were very negative. This is going back maybe four or five years or something. And since then now, it’s become more like 40 to 1. You know, 40 positive comments to 1 negative. And that poor negative person who posts on our Facebook page looks like an idiot, you know, because suddenly, suddenly it’s the opposite. The claws come out.
Clint: You know, you need to do this, you need to do that, you know. So it’s wonderful. And the support on the Facebook page is amazing. And there’s another Facebook group that’s running for rheumatoid and it’s a positive healing rheumatoid arthritis naturally group that’s thriving as well. And so I can see that there’s already been in place, you know, examples that tell me that yours is gonna be a great success as well. And there is going to be a lot of positivity, a lot of positivity.
Cherie: I hope so. Well, I mean, when you’re in the depths of these illnesses you really…you need that, and you need to be amongst like-minded people who can lift you up and show you the way, just like you showed me the way and so many other people the way to heal.
Clint: Okay. Well, thank you very much. I’m gonna let you enjoy the rest of your day over there in Perth, and…
Cherie: Thank you.
Clint: …I’m going to make sure we expedite this episode so we can get it up for listeners as quickly as we can.
Cherie: Awesome. Thanks. Great talking to you.
Clint: You too. Bye, Cherie.