We discuss how:
– When Debbie was diagnosed RA she stopped being the very active person she was
– She went on Methotrexate and found it very hard to take with mixed results
– She added Humira and found some temporary pain relief
– After one year she caught a cold and had to quit Humira and the pain was back
– She had to quit the job due to the pain
– Then she started looking for alternatives and found the Paddison Program
– The people in the community helped her greatly
– Her condition has improved to the point she got back to work
– She now works out three times a week
– Meditation also plays a big role in her program
Clint: Clint here. Here we go again with a wonderful story of recovery from crippling rheumatoid arthritis. Good day Debbie. Thanks for coming at us all the way from Chicago.
Debbie: Thank you for having me.
Clint: I was in Chicago recently. We just missed each other didn’t we? I went to a veggie fest and gave a talk there. But you said you were out of town for that. So on this platform we’ll get a chance to meet in person and to get to know each other because prior to this you know we haven’t really had much of a conversation other than you’ve jumped on a few of our social media platforms and said how well you’ve done. So why don’t you give us a snapshot of what we’re in for on this call.
Debbie: Well I I just wanted to let you know how inspiring you’ve been and I really appreciate all the podcast. I love hearing everyone’s story and everyone does have a story. So they’re all inspiring and I listen to every single one of them.
Clint: Awesome! Yeah great. Thank you.
Debbie: Thankfully my journey has been very short. I was diagnosed in 2014 and I went from being a very active person working, big social life kids, grand kids and just you not understanding what was happening to my body. You know I’ve always been well and you know thankfully for that. But then in 2014 I noticed my energy level just plummeted and I thought I was just working too hard and I went to a doctor and they referred me to a rheumatologist right away because I was having some changes in my hands after the description I gave her she said I think you need a rheumatologist. So I went and she was very nice like she really you know gave it to me straight like you have RA and this is going to be your life you’re going to… here’s the medications we’re going to start you on and then I’ll see you in three months and we’ll talk about if they’re working.
Clint: Yeah OK
Debbie: It was very shocking you know, I am a nurse so I am familiar with the medical field you know that you know for you to be in it personally is you know shocking. It was very disappointing. And the immediate changes I needed to make were shocking.
Debbie: You know coz you go from this active person to oh no now you have to slow down and you know I couldn’t I had to rest all the time I was so tired all the time I couldn’t even explain the exhaustion I was having and it was debilitating and stressful and depressing. You know at that time.
Debbie: So I got the on methotrexate right away and that didn’t work right away. But it was very hard to take. It was you know you had the drug hang over for at least two days. You know that you know it’s hard on your gastric system and then you feel like somebody is just you know it’s just you been hit by a truck you know basically. Yeah I deemed it my medication day. It was the medication day because then you knew I just knew I wasn’t going to be feeling well.
Debbie: And then the next day I didn’t feel great. So anyway methotrexate was very difficult. And then it did start to work. It did start to work and I noticed my pain was going away and my energy was coming back. But that didn’t last very long. So during this time I was doing some research myself. Like what can I do personally to help this,to help this along.
Clint: OK I see you started to do some research as we do a few months in as you’ve as you’re feeling the exhaustion just from your immune system being overactive. People call it an underactive what’s happening is that their body trying to eliminate all these foreign proteins in the blood and treating all of them as an enemy and the body just gets exhausted and then they throw Methotrexate on which has the number one side effect of fatigue. And you’ve got you know big negative on top a big negative and I call it the walking zombie effect. So. OK. And so you started to do some research. This is heading in now more of a positive direction.
Debbie: You don’t know of the treatment and the disease itself. Which one is which at this point you know like… And I have heard from sort of the medication. So it did start to work but then it started to wear off and I went back to the doctor about six months later and she wanted to start me on humira.
Debbie: So I put her off on that because if it was going to be anything like that Methotrexate I didn’t want anything to do with it so I put her out. And then finally after a year I said OK this methotrexate, I need to try to get off that. Can we try it with humira. She had me on both.
Clint: Yeah I’m curious here, curious here. A lot of countries they keep you on the methotrexate either because they believe that you’ll get more symptomatic relief or because in Australia for example if you’re going to go on one of those biologic drugs then you need to retain the methotrexate therapy.
Clint: So as for the government to cover the costs of the humira because it costs over 50000 Australian dollars per person per year to the government to cover the costs of the humira drug and so they I guess the government says well look you know we want this to be effective so we require the methotrexate to be involved as based on what the evidence seems to suggest to get the best possible results. Now that data is about a year old I don’t know if that’s still accurate but you know I’m curious. Were you able to then drop the methotrexate. Or did she insist then you actually just add the humira.
Debbie: Yes so they overlapped for a few months and then I was able to start the methotrexate. After the humira started to work and so that was helpful. The humira wasn’t quite as debilitating to take as the methotrexate was. And so I did start feeling better.
Debbie: I took that for about a year. And then during December I caught a cold. And it was bad, it was bad. And so I had to stop the humira.
Clint: Oh my gosh. This is the problem.
So you go back you know, to zero you know. And yeah. And that was frightening in itself because I had never been really that sick before and you know something.
Clint: OK. So let me get this straight. You just got the common cold that you might get every once a year or every other year or something depending on your immune system. But this time when you got it because you’re on humira it was so severe your body couldn’t fight it and you had to be taken off the drug.
Debbie: Well I ended up going into the ER one day because I was having chest issues. Like I was more of a bronchitis and they said that I actually had pneumonia.
Clint: There you go. Yeah. I was going to use that word yeah.
Debbie: So then that was frightening and you know stopped humira. So then you’re off of that so then your symptoms start coming back.
Clint: What a mess.
Debbie: I had to quit my job because I couldn’t go.
Clint: Oh my God.
Debbie: So it was very stressful and you know sad. But yeah you have to keep ploughing forward you know.
Debbie: So at that time I started really researching and that’s how I found you. I found a great community, people, I found Chris work who’s you know treating helping cancer patients and they’re very similar community you know so the community is amazing and very helpful.
Debbie: And so I got your program and started listening to your podcast and I kept thinking that I could do it my way. So I had to stop everything that I could like sugar, processed foods, dairy. I’d stopped dairy a year before. But then I was still a carnivore.
Debbie: And so because you know I have to cook for the family and I just kept thinking well I’ll do it my way. See if this works for me. And then I watch one of your podcasts and that the client said you know you have to do it 100 percent, you can’t do it your way.
Debbie: And it was like he was talking to me and I was like OK, alright. So I said instead of I’ve devoted so much time and effort to keep making changes I might as well just go for it. I just didn’t do the fasting part because I had dropped a lot of weight. And so I had actually gone to a nutritionist or a dietitian, it was. The doctor sent me to dietitian and she wanted she couldn’t talk to me about food at all. She wanted me the best advice she gave me was to get on my fitness path which it helped me a lot because I’d never counted calories before.
Debbie: And so I was able to put in everything I was eating and making sure that I was getting enough calories. That was the only thing she gave me that I walked out of her office because she she wanted to put me on calcium supplements because I wasn’t eating dairy anymore.
Clint: And this was actually someone who has been educated as a nutritionist.
Debbie: Yes, Has a big big hospital here. Yes. And so I left there until my doctor told me to.
Clint: To get a new preferred supplier for a nutritionist. Yes.
Debbie: So then once I stopped and it was November of last year that I stopped the meat and so I was totally on the program.
Clint: And so what’s a…for people listening in the future. That is just on 12 months ago. So 11 months ago. OK.
Debbie: And that’s when about a month into it I noticed that my energy level just went through the roof. And by then I was off the humira. So my energy level went up and the pain went up and my clarity.
Clint: Hang on, you said pain went up, you mean pain went down?
Debbie: You know it was the foggy brain I think people describe it that had lifted and it was just amazing. And they said you know I’m just going to keep going keep going. And it was difficult in the beginning.
Debbie: And still it’s you know it’s a challenge but you know my mantra is nothing tastes as good as feeling good. That’s I just, every time I want to eat, I’d tell myself I’m feeling great. I’m not going to you know I want to keep going. So.
Clint: Fantastic. So just to bullet point it then so you’re on the methotrexate. That didn’t work you went on to the humira that was giving you more pain relief. But then when you got sick it turned in a humira quickly and dangerously so you had to get off the humira and then you were off the humira and in pain while searching for solutions. And you took upon our program in your own variation but when you decided to do it the way that it’s laid out then your energy levels flew up and everything improved quickly.
Debbie: Everything improved everything.
Clint: Right. So what’s the situation now compared to before with regards to your pain and so forth.
Debbie: Well in April I had that I had been feeling so good I was able to start looking for a job again. I was so excited to be feeling good. I put my resume online and I was contacted right away. I was so excited. I was nervous but excited and I feel you know it was scary because you know I hadn’t held a schedule in a while and you know it was all about treating my illness and trying to get better and feeling good. So I actually had been working since June and I worked 30 hours a week. I’m excited to be. And I thought I’d never work again.
Debbie: You know I’m just. And so I’m feeling great. I work out about three times a week now. And I’m doing a lot of yoga and it’s just been it’s been wonderful. Yeah I have to be mindful I always have to put myself in check if I’m starting to feel ill, some twinges or any kind of ache or pain. I have to reconsider what I’m doing. You know I think you call it a reset. Yeah. And that’s what I do. I change things up a little bit more and start again. And it always works. It always does. You know I know you know there’s plenty of opportunity to cheat you know. But when I’m on the path of goodness I know that you know that’s going to serve me better, then it always does! So I can’t deny you know that it doesn’t work. Yes it definitely works!
Clint: So you’re in this situation now the complete confidence and control situation where you are your own puppeteer and as you see things start to you know like if you’re driving your car and you start to veer off the road just a little bit you know how to bring it back safely onto the road again. And then with time it becomes one of these unconscious competencies where we like you can have a conversation and you can with someone a passenger next to you and you can listen to music and sometimes you’ve been driving for ages and you thought I don’t even remember making those turns and doing all this stuff it’s all happening unconsciously. In the same way you can keep your body on track. Your behaviours are consistent with success and it all seems to flow effortlessly in your life and especially as you expand your food base and exercise becomes a habit as opposed to a chore. And then as all self-supportive you know then you’ve got this lifestyle that continues to support your gut health and when you have a healthy gut you have a healthy body and that’s it. So our our goal is simply make our gut healthy and everything else is fine.
Debbie: Yes. Yes.
Clint: So well done and congratulations! This is superb. Now before we move on to getting some tips from you and I want you to share some of your little advanced strategies that you might have developed yourself going through this that other people can learn from.
Clint: Can you just tell me what your rheumatologist has said since your last visit and just I always like to hear I predict this I call this like my palm slap to the face moment where you hear the rheumatologist say Oh oh well you are lucky or oh well look in some cases this happens. But don’t worry it’s going to come back any second. So let’s hear what yours say.
Debbie: He’s been around a while and when I first saw him, because I changed rheumatologist because the original one was out of my area. So I got one closer to me when I went to see him originally. He said well what can I do for you. And I told him my plan. I said this is what I want to do and I’m going to do this program and I need you to be there to order my meds, order x rays.
Clint: Good for you. This is awesome. Yeah.
Debbie: Any little pieces I can do that you know. Wow what a great rheumatologist, great. He’s Yeah. And so then he said well you know if you want to try a new medication. I have one that I think could help you, Azelexi or something.
Clint: Yeah. It’s a tablet biologic.
Debbie: Yes. And I said well I hope I never have to take that you know. I said can you tell me anything about you know can you give me any advice on diet or other things that I can do to help myself.
Debbie: And he said no you’re on the right path.
Clint: Oh good! Good, good, good.
Debbie: God bless him. He is willing to try and you know I haven’t seen him since.
Clint: Oh you haven’t, you haven’t. All right. Well I might have to cover the cost of your next visit so you can go in and tell him what you’ve done and.
Debbie: I have an appointment with him in the next month. I just thought I would go get my x rays and blood work because my blood work wasn’t bad in the beginning. The only thing that was abnormal was my RF, it’s elevated and everything else is OK. So I thought well I’ll try. You know testing them again and then seeing how much they’ve improved.
Clint: Yeah definitely. So even if your C reactive protein and your sed rate weren’t bad when you started there’s still a lot of improvements that can be measured. Your levels might not be reflective of your symptoms and that’s quite common. But relative to your own previous tests there can be information to be gathered. So if you were to go and get your C reactive protein done again and your sed rate make sure you ask for high sensitivity CRP because if last time let’s say when you were diagnose it might have only been a five milligram per liter, you know you might find it now it’s a one point one or something. But if you only get the regular CRP test it might say less than five. All right or less than four. And that’s not very informative because less than four could be three point nine. Or it could be zero. And they are vastly different figures.
Clint: All right. Make sure you do that.
Clint: All right. Awesome. So let’s move on and talk about have you got anything that you’ve learned through this process. And I’m putting you on the spot here because I didn’t prep you for this but are there anything that jump out for people who are going through the process and who are kind of projecting and hoping that they can get to the kind of results that you’re at.
Clint: What would you say, is there just some things that come to mind for encouragement or tips or strategies that really helped you?
Debbie: Well I have been a yoga teacher for a few years so the meditation I would start out right away because it’s a whole health thing it’s mind body. So you know while you’re on this journey of your physical health it helps to start the meditation as well. It’s huge. I can tell you it definitely helps everything a lot because your mind set you know is very encouraging then for yourself because you need that, you need an encouragement from within like I can do this. This is going to happen. You know I’m feeling a little bit better than I did yesterday. Because you know sometimes you feel like an island out there you know, you’re by yourself and you know you’re the one that’s on a plant based diet and everyone else in the places eating normally and you know. So the mindset that you have with that you know it gives you strength.
Debbie: It totally you know is so helpful.
Clint: Completely agree. And the lists of benefits for meditation are endless. I had a podcast with a meditation teacher I think about 10 episodes ago 10 or 15 episodes ago so listeners should definitely go back and listen to that because we cover a whole episode all on meditation and the benefits of that so definitely go back and watch or listen to that episode. That’s really really good to hear. And do you implement that for a one long session a day or a couple of short sessions. What’s your strategy with meditation.
Debbie: My strategy is two short sessions.
Clint: Two short sessions similar to one of our sort of much loved part members of our community called Hannah and she’s going to be coming on another podcast soon. She found that just doing three short and when I say short I mean like six minute, six minute little meditation session a day have dramatically lowered her pain levels. And so it’s good to get that reassurance from you two short ones a day. And you saw a great benefit for that which is great. So what other tips have you got for a step.
Debbie: Well I found that I was a vegetable eater before but I just….the vegetables, I need to be more creative with them. So I found if you like one vegetable a lot more than others. Just find 10 ways to make that, you know.
Debbie: You know and then I have got to shake, protein shake that I used for a plant based protein shakes. You know you just need that boost and good calories. So I would do that a couple of times a day and that was significant.
Clint: What was in that?
Debbie: When I was just starting out.
Clint: And what do you put in it?
Debbie: It has spinach and wallnuts, almond milk the plant based protein powder and frozen banana and that’s it.
Clint: OK. Yeah. So it’s a green smoothie right. It’s a green smoothie with some protein added so it still falls within the convention of you know our green smoothie recommendations. You had some advance things in there compared to a lot of people who are in extreme state. So you know that gives me an indicator that you had a relatively reasonable level of gut health even at that point in that relatively early stage because the nuts and the protein both can be a little bit problematic when you’re in the early stages. So you know I’ve just without having to get a stool sample. I can tell you that your gut health, your bacteria diversity and numbers were not as bad as the average person with rheumatoid at that point. So well done.
Debbie: I was very fortunate.
Clint: And if you had it if you had stayed on a bad path with your eating and just continued to deploy medication after medication then who knows where you know where your gut health would have went.
Clint: Any other tips for us?
Debbie: The juicing really helps.
Debbie: OK. This is the celery and cucumber?
Debbie: Yes the celery cucumber juice was amazing because you know like you’ve said you know there’s no way you would eat all of that you know. But to drink it is as easy. And you’re getting all those you know nutrient dense vitamins so it’s so important. It’s just you know people have to you know when you go into the program you really have to understand that you know this is going to be your new life and it’s going to be good.
Debbie: It’s going to be great. You know compared to where you were you know you’re going to have to get friendly with the kitchen. So there’s like you know it’s OK, get everybody else that is there and it’s time well spent. It really is.
Clint: It is isn’t it?
Debbie: It’s all I can yeah… It really is, once you’re moving forward and you feel that relief and you know you just want to keep on that train you know.
Clint: Progress is addictive isn’t it.
Debbie: It is. And you know, keep it simple as what I would say mostly, is just keep it simple. Because when you start to like some days I miss lasagna you know like oh I wish I had a big piece of lasagna right now you know. Well then I’ll get creative and I’ll try to find a plant based lasagna.
Debbie: Well that’s well and good you know. But you know usually it’s not the same. And yes it’s you know it’s satisfying in that instant but it’s like okay well I really didnt need that. You know if I keep it simple I stay on the good path and you know instead of worrying about what I’m not eating anymore.
Clint: Right sort of chasing this lasagna dream and creating an inferior kind of substitute. It’s unsatisfying and it’s disappointing right.
Clint: Yeah. I never went I never did that. I never tried to substitute anything that I left behind for an alternative. And you know even when we go out to places that are…vegan restaurants that have substitute meats in soy formats and all that. I never eat any of that. I just don’t even know to try and substitute and recreate something that I knew used to be bad for me bad for animals and bad for the environment. I mean I’d prefer to run the opposite direction. And it’s not healthy anyway either, that’s a processed thing so it’s not worth it.
Debbie: You realize it’s really not worth it. And if I keep it simple I feel much better.
Clint: It’s amazing and I even noticed that people when they’re trying to reintroduce say that they’re doing OK with rice then they’ll try and introduce rice crackers. And even though it’s derived from rice just the processing that’s involved and even with minimal preservatives and everything. That seems to be a problem with handling those slightly well I don’t know if you’d call it slightly but foods that have been processed from a healthy source into processed food. Again the body just seems to just not do so well on those foods. And we continually asked the question and we always get the same answer. Just eat whole foods and just eat plants and shut up brain just do it you know and people spend …
Debbie: I did find that the buckwheat (inaudible) mixed with quinoa, that is that’s a staple for me.
Debbie: Yeah I have it every week. I use it for everything I use it as my rice they put these on top and I put it in things. It’s just a staple. It’s they cook exactly the same so I make a big part of it on Monday and and I have it for a week and it’s great.
Clint: Yeah. Well that’s why you’ve done so well. That is why. Because that was my staple as well. That was my staple for months and months and months because every time I tried to test something else I just wouldn’t feel quite as right. And by staying on that for a very long period of time it’s just so so pain relieving and health promoting for your gut bacteria. It’s a complete protein both of those are complete proteins and both alkalizing and non- irritating because they’re not grains they’re actually you know pseudo grains or seeds. I mean they’re the miracle food for trying to find that narrow path through the mountain where you’re not eating meat and dairy but you’re eating something that’s healthy, alkalizing and all these wonderful things without triggering things with the cereal grains so you know that’s why I say it’s a narrow path through the mountain.
Debbie: Yes. Organizing the (inaudible) in a new way now is easier because you know you don’t have to go to all that other stuff now you have all these things that work for you. And so now it’s simple. You know it’s life is much simpler because you know you’re not going to you know feel good if you deviate from this norm you know.
Clint: Well in a funny way or you know in a convenient way the one thing we do have with Rheumatoid Arthritis is a wonderful alarm system, we have an alarm system that goes off every time we eat the wrong thing.
Clint: Now the things that we eat wrong once we’re at a stage that you’re at other things that other people are eating wrong without the alarm system.
Clint: So you know like it’s not like what’s healthy for someone with rheumatoid arthritis is different to what’s healthy for someone who has type 2 diabetes or is healthy for someone who’s trying to avoid you know increasing heart disease risk are low fat whole foods plant based diet is the answer for all of these problems. And so what we have with rheumatoid is this alarm system that says no that’s not low fat whole plant based diet and they’re like you know thank you.
Clint: Right. Because that’s what the body doesn’t react to as much. Right. And again when we were in the early stages of our healing we’ve got such a messed up digestive system that we need to give it really simple basic things for awhile and expand into our more diverse diet. But when you get to as I said where you’re at then you know you have the alarm system that’s helpful for the rest of your life really because it’s not gone crazy it’s just given your some little little warning.
Debbie: Yes. And they do. They definitely warn you.
Clint: Well thank you Deb. I wanted to make this one nice and punchy and an upbeat and you’ve really really helped in doing that and hearing your story makes me just feel so good. And knowing that your life has been improved so much and that you are in control and that’s what we’re after. We’re after this complete confidence and control. And from here you know you have the rest of your life just to uphold some discipline and then with that discipline you have ultimate freedom away from your foods with your ability to travel and your ability to go back to work which you’ve done, and your ability to be social again and get rid of that brain fog and be out of that extreme tiredness. I mean so much opens up when we simply just narrowed down our diet and keep our gut healthy and exercise regularly. Yes.
Debbie: Sure. And you’re doing great work and I’m helping you spread the word. I’m out there telling everybody find the community, find it, it’s there. It may not be in your circle but.
Clint: Yeah. Thanks a lot. Our community grows mostly through word of mouth and it’s helped along by having a media platform like this. But it’s when people do really well and they tell their family and friends and then those family and friends know someone with this condition and nothing is more powerful than having a personal connection with someone who’s has had tremendous improvements to their health. So thank you and anyone who’s listening who feels positive about the results they’ve achieved. Tell everyone you know and certainly reach out to me because I’m always looking for more people to interview and to help inspire other people so if that fits you, reach out to me. So thanks so much Deb and I hope you have a wonderful afternoon there in Chicago.
Debbie: Thank you for having me.
Clint: Thanks again.Alright, take care.