September 29

Christine Gets Off Plaquenil And Becomes Pain Free From Rheumatoid Arthritis

Christine was on Plaquenil (DMARD) and doing well on this drug for a few years. However, once her eyesight came into question because of the potential side effects of this drug she began to look for natural alternatives and found the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was able to get off Plaquenil in 6 short weeks and now lives a pain free life from RA without the drugs.



Disclaimer – This podcast does not constitute medical advice. All changes surrounding medications, diet and exercise should be made in consultation with a professional who can assess your unique health circumstances.

Clint: Welcome back to the Paddison Podcast. I’ve got a great guest with me today. Her name is Christine. She’s looking at me now on Skype. We’re about to kick this off. Christine has a wonderful story to share, and also has a little bit of guidance for me with the Paddison Program measurement system that we’ve got in place, and I can explain that a little bit more at the end of this call, when we go into that. But Christine’s story takes her from going to getting off Plaquenil and becoming pain free from a state of very serious pain with rheumatoid arthritis. So I’m looking forward to hearing it in full. So Christine, welcome to this episode.

Christine: Thank you so much.

Clint: Now I’ve given you a big intro there and a big rep, so why don’t you take us through from the moment you found out things went well in your body and what happened from that point on.

Christine: Okay. So I will speed up the early parts. It began in 2009 when I stood up and couldn’t walk, and went to the podiatrist and was just getting metatarsal support for a long time, maybe several years. My progression was really, really slow so it took a long time to onset. Some people, it just blows up immediately. And then in July of 2012, everything went haywire in terms of not being able to walk with my knee and my feet, and also felt it in my hands. And so I was fortunate enough to get a diagnosis right away. I was one of those who kind of self-diagnosed and then I was able to go to lots of different doctors who would confirm. Some who would say, “Oh, no, no, no. You don’t have rheumatoid arthritis because that’s scary.” They can’t go there. And others who said, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” This is pretty much it.

And I was fortunate enough to get in right away through another family member who is a physician at the Cleveland Clinic got me in with a rheumatologist there right away. And we discussed the options and I went on Plaquenil, and so I’ve been happy camper since July 2012 until about this past January, because that completely took care of all my pain except for maybe a cortisone shot every once in a while in my foot. So, being on Plaquenil was great. I wasn’t stressed about having RA, it took care of the pain. And I was just a little nervous every time I went in for eye checks. And every time that I went into the rheumatologist, just to see what was next. But mostly I just stayed in denial because I was pain free, and I was figuring I was on the lightest drug there is so everything was good.

Clint: Okay. Now, how long in absolute terms were you on the Plaquenil then? Like was it a year?

Christine: July 2012 until February of 2015, of this year. Yep.

Clint: Okay. Like two and a half years, something like that.

Christine: Correct. Mm-hmm. Yes.

Clint: Okay. So for listeners who haven’t tried this drug or don’t know much about it, it’s a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug. It’s like a Methotrexate alternative.

Christine: Anti-malarial, isn’t it?

Clint: It’s an anti-malarial. Yeah. That’s what it’s original use was and they found that it was good for pain reduction for rheumatoid. Now, as you say, one of the more common dangers with taking Plaquenil is eye sight damage, and a lot of the good practice when you’re on that drug is to go for regular eye tests. And so you said you were going for those regularly?

Christine: Yes, and you’re supposed to do that every six months and they are getting better and better equipment and ways to detect the toxicity at its earliest stages, and then they would pull you off it. I’m a statistician, by the way, so these numbers…I think it’s something like 2% go blind from it. And to me 2%, two in a hundred is pretty high.

Clint: Yeah.

Christine: Specially if you’re one of those two. And they can catch it early, but the damage isn’t reversible. So that was pretty scary to me and of course I would probe when I would talk to the opthalmologist about it and they would say, “Hey, we usually don’t see those until someone’s been on it for about eight years.” And I would hear this because I would go to different opthalmologist in the same group and they would all say about the same thing. So I knew that my risk was pretty low until about after eight years, but then it also rang a bell for me, well, this stuff is obviously cumulative. And so I realized, I’m all happy going along on this Plaquenil. I’m getting my eye checks. They’ve got things to catch it early. I’m fine. I don’t have any side effects. And then I thought I’m coming up on three years, eight years is going to come up really quickly. And I started to get a little nervous about it.

Clint: Okay. Your experience on Plaquenil sounds pretty good, actually. Obviously we’ve got a lot of people in our online community forum that communicate on a daily basis, and share best practices with how to get off different drugs and how to reduce pain, and so forth. I just did a two second look before we went online here and made this call just to check what a couple of our forum members have said about their experiences before they were able to get off the Plaquenil. Ellen said, “I couldn’t handle Plaquenil either. It made me have giant heart beats at night when I was sleeping. I would wake up every hour in terror.” So that’s obviously a bad side effect so she had to get off that drug.

And Andrea wrote, “My moods are outrageous. My mind is fuzzy. I can’t get motivated to do anything. I’m a bit depressed. My ovaries are sore and have cysts. My eyes are blurry. My skin burns in the sun. I’m generally a very positive person but this drug is bloody awful.” All right. So there’s some of the other, just a small sample of other experiences of people who’ve been on that drug. I’m pleased to say both of those ladies are now doing great and they’re off their medications for that. So that’s just a little interlude for people who are thinking about being on this drug or how on this drug. So, your mindset regarding making lifestyle changes was driven by a concern about your eyes on that drug. Is that fair to say?

Christine: My drive for the lifestyle changes has been on going. That’s been for decades. And I’ve always been into health and fitness, eating well, and so forth. And so that’s always something that’s a huge interest in the forefront of my mind. I’m always trying to find what’s the best. So I had been probably juicing every day for a year, prior to even the onset of this. But always again then now I thought I had such a healthy diet, but then again so many people who do…we’re still learning, and we realize how much there is out there that we’re still learning. And so that was just part of something that when I would visit the rheumatologist, I would bring up all the time. I would say…they would be concerned that I was on 400 milligrams and weighing 110 pounds they said, “Well, this is a high dose.” And I say “they” because I have two separate rheumatologists. And they would be concerned, saying it’s a high dose for my weight and maybe try to taper it at 300. And every time I tried to taper it to 300 I would feel shooting pain in my foot or my hand. But I was determined to taper to 300, because I knew that I had a great diet and I was fine, but I knew it had something to do with my gut and my diet. So this was not related to the concern about my eyes. It was just, I knew that I could get off this drug because there was something with my diet and with my gut that if I could fix that, I knew that I would be better. That was just my intuitive feeling.

Clint: Just intuitive. Okay.

Christine: Yes.

Clint: Okay. Let’s have a look at that diet, then. Let’s tell us what you are eating because you say that it was a good diet but I think that, you know, as you say, one thing we think is good may not necessarily be as good as we think. So, tell us what was that. What was it?

Christine: Well, it was a horrible diet looking back on it, because it wasn’t plant-based. I was on a modified version of the South Beach Diet for ten years.

Clint: Okay. And just explain that diet for a lot of people who don’t know that is.

Christine: The South Beach Diet isn’t as strict as Atkins, but it’s a low carbohydrate diet. And so I would eat a lot of cheese and almonds would be my snacks in the afternoon and then in the morning I would have juice and some different shakes and so forth. But mostly fish and meats and cheese and almonds and vegetables and no junk food, no sweets whatsoever, so I thought it was a great diet. It was way, way too much protein and cheese and dairy.

Clint: Okay. So tell us then about your motivated for getting off the Plaquenil because of the eye damage potential, and also because you’re starting to realize that maybe diet was playing a role. So what happened next?

Christine: What happened was what usually happens is when someone brings up a new idea about a diet, and then you pursue that and then you learn more and more and more. And so I’m always open to new diet things. My parents were bugging me about the whole gluten thing and wheat belly, and, “Please, please read that because there’s something to do with RA in there,” and as I started to read about that, then I started to expand and realize that was the tip of the iceberg, and read more and more and more. That took me into…I finally sat down for the first time in two and a half years, and Googled rheumatoid arthritis and diet. And that’s where I came up with that there were a handful of clinical studies that a vegan diet seemed promising, even though they were small sample sizes, but I want to get my hands on that original research. And I started looking further, and then I found your podcast.

Clint: Wonderful. And now you’re on it.

Christine: Yes.

Clint: Great. Okay. So, continue. So you found the podcast. You obviously listened to some of the early episodes. In episode one I described my story in a short version, then I started interviewing Rowena and talked about Bikram yoga and raw foods, and all that sort of stuff. At which point did you say, “Okay. I’m going to do this,” because I admit, none of it sounds easy. It all sounds like a challenge. So at which point did you say, “Okay. I’m going for it.”

Christine: That’s right. So actually it was the Ted Talk, and it was immediately after hearing the Ted Talk, because I was already so poised and ready for that. I was ready for, “Okay, so vegan diet.” Yes, I tried vegan before here and there, but not really tied in with the purpose and an understanding of step-by-step and some goals, and what I was expecting to find at each stage. So then I bought your program right away. People keep food diaries and all kinds of things. I never do, but I did back then, and I still have that from February through April of tapering, and what I was eating and going through that, and it wasn’t that difficult, by that time. At first it was because the sweet potatoes and the raw salads made me sick the first two days. I thought they were awful, and then I just fell in love with them and found different variations and I still prefer that over other things.

Clint: You were able to taper off in a fairly short period of time, I remember you saying it on an email.

Christine: Right.

Clint: This is the Plaquenil, you were able to get off that completely?

Christine: Yes. Yes, within about six weeks. And I know that you have a much more conservative recommendation in your program, and of course you would. But I knew that the worst that was going to happen to me is if I tapered off a little too much, that my foot might be sore.

Clint: Yeah.

Christine: And then I could go back. And that both rheumatologists that I was seeing both completely and my family physician all said, “Hey, taper if you can.” So none of them wanted anything to do with talking about diet. And then every time I brought it up, the subject was changed. And I even had one rheumatologist tell me that RA does not go into remission until it’s done eating all of your joints. So I’m glad she’s left the practice.

Clint: Yes. Yes. So is everyone else with the disease. Maybe you ought to chase ’em down and say, “Hey, there’s a guy you ought to Google. His name is Clint Paddison. You have to speak to him. You could get an education.”

Christine: Yes. When I said I have a friend who has it in remission and she said, “Wow. I never heard of that, until all your joints are eaten. Oh, lovely.”

Clint: You know I don’t even like that word, remission. Remission is a word that I feel serves the medical community really well because it adds more fear to the public who have the disease. If you feel like you’re in remission, all that means is you feel like it’s going to come back at any time. I’m coming on four years, not a sign, not a single sign. And that doesn’t feel like remission. That feels like pain free, drug free, and back to maximum energy. Right?

Christine: Right. I have a girlfriend who’s very interested in diet and who works through all this with me and she says to me, “So, what would you say? Would you say you’re in remission?” And I said, “Yes.” She said, “No. I’d say it’s gone.”

Clint: Love it. Love it. Well, I no longer ever use the word cure, and I’m cautious about talking about my future without conditions. I say, “Look, if I wanted to get this disease back, I reckon if I went out there and I ate cheese pizzas every night for the next year and I lived off Coca Cola, and I ate as much cheese, and I had steaks for breakfast and lunch, I think that I probably have a good chance of trying to get it going again in my body.”

Christine: Oh, absolutely.

Clint: Yeah. But because I have no interest in doing any of those things, and because I feel like the healthiest person my age of anyone I know…sure, I’m carrying some joint damage from the days that I had the high inflammation levels, and I’ve got lots of joint damage in my left knee and left elbow. But am I going to get it again? I feel with 100% confidence that it will never rise again in my body, because of my lifestyle.

Christine: And then I don’t even see it as a ‘have it, don’t have it’ because we all know that now that we learn more about the gut and about diseases, that everybody’s got something going on, brewing inside of them with their level of inflammation, and it manifests itself in different ways and different people and at different times and to different degrees. So to me, it’s not a matter of, “I have RA right now,” or “I don’t have RA,” it’s what’s going on, and what’s the inflammation triggering in my body. And I think this is one of the things that you and I talked about first, was that what I think that your program gave me the fundamentals to be able to go off the medicine, and then to be able to maintain diet as I see it, according to your guidelines, and then if I want to incorporate meat here or there and see what happens, or have a cheese pizza one night and see what happens. But I see the diet, the Paddison Program, and at least the major principles of it in a plant-based diet as a thermostat.

So I feel now in control that I can dial up or dial down my inflammation by deciding what I’m going to eat, and what I’m not going to eat. And so if it’s been a month, and my husband makes tortellini, with pesto with cheese, and I can’t resist it, I have that and I’m fine, but I’ve had that once in a month instead of every week. But I don’t feel anything from that, but still obviously it’s doing something. It’s not ideal. But I feel I have more control, and it was very panicky at the first few months. It was scary going off that, not having a doctor watching me, not having anybody who says, “This is okay to just manage this with diet.”

Clint: Yes. Yes.

Christine: And being afraid that when a shooting pain would come in the middle of the night and I wouldn’t be on any drug. And to go from being afraid to feeling empowered and relaxed about it is great, and that’s in a matter of just a handful of months.

Clint: That’s a great sentence. Going from afraid to empowered. Having the power to be able to even influence it like that is phenomenal. And for a lot of people who don’t listen to this podcast and don’t know what I teach don’t believe it’s even possible. So that’s one of the reasons I wanted to get you on this episode and just to show people, again, what’s possible.

Christine: And what I had just read in the last week was that book, The Good Gut. And that was fantastic. It’s just completely mind-blowing. And it’s just amazing how the functional medicine, when using food as medicine and how that’s just booming, and so is the understanding of the gut and its role in health, but how it hasn’t completely coincided with the doctor who we go see at the office visit, or with anybody who we normally speak with in our social circles. So I’ve become an odd ball where I’m thinking, “Wow. Now it’s something that’s absolutely critical to health and this and this and this and this.” And spend hours shopping and shopping and cooking and prepping certain meals, and other people it’s either boring to them, or they think you’re crazy, or they think, “Wow. You must be really sick, if you’re spending all this time doing it.” So it’s hard to do, if you don’t have a supportive environment for that, too.

Clint: Well, that’s right.

Christine: Let me think about it. I live in the Midwest. You know? [laughs]

Clint: [laughs] Yeah. You’re not exactly in the most…what’s the right phrase?

Christine: Progressive.

Clint: Yeah. Yeah. But you’ve made it happen which is more of a credit to you. Look, we all have people who are skeptical. Because the masses are sick, right? If you look around you, how few people are not carrying some kind of problem, some kind of health condition, or at the very least on their way to developing one, something that’s brewing inside them. It’s virtually impossible with western kind of living to not develop some kind of ailment, because we are only given options that are harmful to our body when we go to restaurants, or if you go to the local supermarket here, there’s like 14 aisles of food and one of them is called the health food aisle. One. There’s 13 other aisles of crap. And in that one aisle, if you just only ate from that one aisle and the fruit and vegetable department, and eliminated the other 13 aisles, then we’d have a different society.

Christine: You’re like I am. Where you travel a lot, right?

Clint: Yes, I do.

Christine: And so isn’t your suitcase getting weirder and weirder with some of the things that you pack? I mean my family…we’re taking a trip to Disney World pretty soon. Can you imagine? There’s nothing you can eat at Disney World that is…

Clint: Correct. Nothing.

Christine: …right. So I’m going to have a suitcase full of just the most bizarre snacks to be bringing around in a backpack, so that I’m not eating a hamburger and fries.

Clint: Right. Well ring ahead for the airplane, because they can do the meals that you want. But if you don’t ring ahead they get upset when you demand something on the plane. I normally pack stuff for the plane if it’s more than a three hour flight. And for Disney, you’ve just got to eat beforehand, because that thing’s an atrocity. So let’s get back now to our train of thought, our original train of thought. Thanks for sharing your story. How are you feeling now, just to close on how you are? Are you carrying any joint pains or…right at the start of the call, you said that you weren’t able to walk, your hands, your knees were massively inflamed. How are things today?

Christine: Absolutely none. Absolutely no pain. Haven’t had any for months and months and months.

Clint: So what would you say to someone who wake up, like you did, in pain, their joints are killing them, they’re finding it hard to walk. What would you suggest if they were sitting next to you now and asked for your help? What would you tell them to do?

Christine: Let me make you this glass of juice and sit you down and talk to you about some hard choices that you have in front of you. [laughs] I was already juicing, so it was easy for me. I was already even on a juice fast when I found your Ted Talks. So, you know, “Oh, okay.” So it was a little bit easier transition for me.

Clint: Right. But you would…

Christine: But my daughter who’s had nausea and stomach aches for months and months finally said to me, a teenage daughter said to me last week…because a month ago she said, “I know you’re a vegan. Please don’t make me be a vegan.” And I said, “I won’t make you be a vegan.” And then last week sent me a text, “Please can I be a vegan? I’m so tired of my stomach hurting.”

Clint: There you go. Pain is a great motivator, isn’t it?

Christine: Yes. Well, I mean, that’s so true, and with so many people, that you have to kind of hit the bottom.

Clint: You do. You’ve actually have to bounce off the bottom and re-strike it eight times and then finally you’ll say, “You know what, I’m going to happily eat that salad.”

Christine: And when I talked to friends and family members about things that they’re doing and they say, “But I’m fine”. And I think, you know what they’re right, they are fine. They’re fine until they’re not and that’s up to them. And once they’re not, you know, like people who have heart attacks and then they change their lifestyle, same thing. And I actually feel grateful that I got the RA diagnosis, because I’m able to then change my diet, and then do this for all the other diseases that I’m preventing now.

Clint: Absolutely.

Christine: So I feel lucky that I could just be getting slowly sick in all kinds of different ways, with fatigue and just mild joint pain, and all the different headaches and all the different issues that people have. But mine was just so bad that wow, you have to do something about it.

Clint: Absolutely. Well, we certainly think the same way about that. Now let’s talk about how you have made suggestions to the way that we measure the progress of people who’ve been on our program. So there’s a total change of direction on the call here, because you’ll sort it. You’re fine. We don’t need to talk about you anymore. You’re living the dream now. You’re heart attack-proof, you’re type II diabetes-proof, you’ve got a low risk of cancer, you’ve got an elongated life because you’re off the drugs, and you’re in no pain. So, Christine, well done. Round of applause, insert ca-shhh. [laughs] Okay.

Let’s talk about what you now do for a career. You mentioned you’re a statistician and we got chatting about the importance for a credibility point of view for what we do, for helping people with RA naturally, to be able to go to rheumatologists with more hard data or quantifiable data to show how people improve. And I told you about our current system. And for the people who don’t know, this is what we currently do. When people first join, I ask people to go and get blood tests done, because I want people to have a before measurement of their C-reactive proteins sed rate, and ideally their vitamin D levels as well, because vitamin D levels are so influential with regards to the progress of an autoimmune disease. So I like having that data done before people start.

And then after three months’ time, I send out an automatic email to everyone who has purchased the program, and they get an email called Can I Ask You A Favor? And in that email, there are four questions and it’s just a mini questionnaire, and it just asks people, “Why did you want to get started on this program in the first place?” or, “What was the number one reason? On a scale of one to ten with one being very disappointed and ten extremely satisfied, how satisfied are you with the content and the presentation?” And then thirdly, “What successes have you had?” Basically give us some feedback. And then fourthly, “Could we share this result as a testimonial also, if you feel comfortable with that.” So I’ve printed out the last three and I am being completely honest and transparent here. The last three we’ve had ten, ten and ten, out of ten…for our, “Give us a rating out of ten,” which is great.

Over the past few years I’ve found that our average is 8.5. Some people score a little lower because it’s not a physical book and that’s actually the one reason that we get a lower score sometimes is because people want it in a physical book, and I am printing this, the present program will be a printed book available on Amazon in the coming months. I’m working on that at the moment. I know a lot of people will happy about that. But let me just read out, if you don’t mind, Christine, some of these feedback. The latest one we’ve got was from Cherie [SP], it’s very brief. Number one reason she said, “To get off the meds and improve my overall health and return to work.” Gives it a ten. Now she’s down to one med, “Walking again, feel great, and working.” Right. I couldn’t ask better with that.

And then next one, Govinda [SP] says he purchased it because of joint pains and RA. He gives it a ten out of ten. He says what successes have you had, he just wrote, “Incredible,” but didn’t elaborate at all and then said yeah, I can share that if I want, as a testimony. Imagine that. Govinda says, “Incredible.” Okay. And then Marco writes a lot more, so let me just read this out briefly and then you can tell me how I can improve upon this and get more quantifiable data. So he says he bought the program. His wife had a very active lifestyle, a lot of outdoor activity and then suddenly pain appeared at her right Achilles tendon, left knee, sometimes shoulder, wrist. One day it was so bad she had to go to the emergency room. They sent her to a rheumatologist, and that is where the story starts. “She was in hospital for a few days on huge amounts of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and steroids. It just all happened so quickly. And this is when she first realized that rheumatoid arthritis was related to food, when she was in hospital. She sometimes had small amounts of blood in the feces, and doctor decided to take a look. So she had to fast for two days because they did her colonoscopy.”

Christine: She felt great, right?

Clint: They did not find anything, but unusual thing happened in this two days. Pain almost completely disappeared. All right. Then we were looking for answers how food is related to RA on the internet. We found out interesting things and she changed her diet completely. First, she stopped eating milk, and after a while all dairy. The next thing on daily menu was drinking fresh squeezed juice. Hallelujah. In the spring, we made juice from celery, nettle tips, pine sprigs, cucumber and ginger which sounds perfect. I don’t know what a pine sprig is. [laughs]

Christine: [laughs] Pine sprig, I know.

Clint: But it sounds like it was good. Since she was also diagnosed for Helicobacter Pylori at the same time for RA, she stopped eating pork and beef, and blood in feces has completely disappeared. [laughs]

Christine: Go figure.

Clint: Go figure. I love how we think this is funny. But this is no disrespect for anyone. This is just, we’re laughing because we’ve been through all this ourselves, we know this stuff. It’s so funny to hear it time and time and time again. And you think…I’m reading out one of the…we’ve got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these.

Christine: I don’t know if you remember this, when I was Skyping with you about this research project this summer and I said I’ve been feeling awful this summer. I’ve got acid reflux really bad and you said, “Well, that’s an easy fix.” And you laughed and you went to the next topic and I was thinking, because my family was cooking meat and fish every night. We’re on the ocean and I was having fish and meat every single night, and I said to you I had bad reflux, and you’re just like, well…you don’t feel sorry for me. Like duh, you know what to do.

Clint: I don’t. I don’t feel sorry.

Christine: Don’t eat meat and fish for dinner.

Clint: That’s it. It’s so simple. It’s like…it is. It requires, it’s a waste of my time to have to comment on that again.

Christine: Sorry I brought it up.

Clint: Morning stiffness, joint swelling and pain went from eight down to two, on a scale of up to ten, and she stopped taking her medications. And then he adds, very wisely, that, “This disease is very hard and the healing process somehow stopped at some point and we were looking for more answers, so we decided to buy your book. That was another milestone on the journey to her health. Since there are now days when she is completely without pain in the morning and during the day.” All right. So I honestly receive that sort of stuff every single day, but it’s not really data. It’s just feedback. So tell me, please, educate me and then…

Christine: Okay.

Clint: Yes. What do we have to do from here?

Christine: So I teach doctoral students about survey design, research design, how to construct measures, how to do statistical analyses and how to collect data that are really going to solve your problem. And when I heard you talk about your average satisfaction, which is pretty high, that’s great. And one of the things I always teach them is everybody goes to satisfaction, and that’s usually not what you want. That’s nice if people are satisfied, but that’s not going to be helpful to tell you for example how to improve the program if that is important.

But what’s more important is for this community to convince rheumatologists and other physicians that this program works in reducing pain. What’s really going to speak to them is, is there less joint pain? Is the blood work improving over time? They need to see those medical factors. So it’s not…okay, we’re having testimonials which are fantastic, rich, qualitative data. And we have a rating of satisfaction with the program, but let’s measure the reduction in joint pain, the increase in quality of life. And the decrease in those inflammatory markers. And if we can do that, then that’s much more evidence that’s going to convince more people, that’s going to ultimately help more people.

Clint: Yes. And I agree entirely with that. What we’ve spoken about so far is we’ve looked at the way that rheumatologists do measurements on the progress of their patients. Charles Huebner, a rheumatologist based out of Illinois in the US. He contacted me on Facebook and said he likes what we’re doing and he just wants to see exactly what you said. He wants to see more data, and he suggested the disease activity score. And so you and I looked into that, and it involves not just recording the number of inflamed joints within the body, but also applying a pressure test to those inflamed joints and then observing the degree of pain in each of those joints.

So although there is some interpretation associated with it, it does provide a score, a quantitative figure to represent the overall activity of the disease within the body, and I think added to that, it takes into account medications potentially, as well. So I’m not fully up-to-date with every aspect of it, but it’s easy to become fully educated with the whole aspect of it with some more research. And we’re looking at implementing this into the information gathering part of our program, aren’t we?

Christine: Yes. It would be pretty easy to gather that information and it would be really great to not only collect that, but also improve upon the data that are currently collected. But we can use a modified version of the rating scale. Still give rheumatologists the data and the gold standard numbers that they want, and still get even more refined information, in addition to that.

Clint: Yeah. And I think we can talk about this a lot more detail over the coming weeks, but I think what it’s going to look like is when people get started on the program, they can go to an online website where they just have to click and select little radio buttons all over a picture of a person with their joints enlarged in size so you can easily click on them and see them. And go across with the mouse and click all the parts that hurt, and then give them a rating. Select from a drop-down list of medications that you are currently taking and the dosages, and then also happiness sort of side of it as well. A non-physical side that we want to also get some data on, a score out of ten of how happy someone is, and their moods and so forth.

And then a person can just spend two minutes clicking through, selecting, and giving quantitative feedback of how they are before they begin the program, as well as entering current blood test results. And then three months, and maybe six months later through the same two minute exercise again. And with that information we’ll give a much better quantitative indicator of how much improvement has been made during the three month and then six month, and again if we want to put that in down the track. And it will only take two minutes, and it will be wonderfully satisfying for the person following the program to be able to see that quantitative improvement.

And also really powerful evidence that can be put forward to rheumatologists all around the world to say, “Look, if you follow this program on average, disease activity score improves on patients by this much. The happiness score improves by this much. The medications reduced by this much, and their blood test inflammation drops by this much on average.” That kind of data can change the entire whole way rheumatoid arthritis is treated, I believe, and it’s a worthwhile endeavor that you and I are going to go on.

Christine: And it’s necessary, and you’re emphasizing that it wouldn’t take very long for someone. It only take a couple of minutes. It would take less time than the time that people are taking to write paragraphs…and I don’t want to discourage people from doing that, but that’s nice that you write, “Now my pain is gone,” and they talk about their stories. And so if you can say, “Yes, it was three. It was extreme pain before and now it’s down to a one where it’s mild.” And you can choose that for specific joints, that goes along with your testimonial, then we can collect that on lots of people, then we can do some analyses with that and show the decrease in pain for different people at different levels of the program. And that’s something that can be more convincing.

Clint: Yeah. It’s very exciting. I really appreciate you reaching out and bringing this to my attention. It’s one of those things that is not sort of jumping into my mind at the time as being the first thing that needs to be done next, with all the things that are going on. I’ve got guests that I want to interview for the podcast. I want to publish the book. I’ve got another book I want to write. I’ve got a really growing community forum. I want to help as many people as possible, by encouraging everyone to be in there, which I think is the best place to heal RA on the planet.

And so there are all these different things going on. Sometimes you can feel that your priorities are in other areas, but I think this is very valuable. So I think it’s a good place to wrap up. We can talk a lot more about that over the coming weeks. Thank you very much for coming on the call. Congratulations on taking matters into your own hands so well with your health, and it’s just remarkable. You’re such a credit to and an inspiration to your family and all the listeners, I’m sure.

Christine: And thank you. Because remember when we were talking about this a lot this summer, and I was thinking about getting more ideas. I said, “When I was on the treadmill, I was getting more ideas,” and I said, “If it weren’t for you and your program, I wouldn’t be running on the treadmill.” [laughs] So thank you very much for continuing to do this, and I thought that would be the one way that I could…how could I possibly help? And then I realized, I can help build a body of evidence that will convince the people who can help more people. So I’m glad we’re working on this project.

Clint: Absolutely. All right. Well, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it, Christine.

Christine: Okay. Thank you.



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