October 27

Winning Against RA Challenges – An Interview With Ana

Ana, in El Salvador, is a great story of progress with her rheumatoid arthritis. After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, methotrexate for arthritis was prescribed. She has been able to reduce her dosage following time on the Paddison Program diet.

Ana is still on her journey with arthritis. However, she shares the most important aspects of her experience on the Paddison program and how she achieved the results so far.

​Ana’s Initial Diagnosis

Ana’s symptoms began in her knees and she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. A couple of months later, Ana began getting pain and swelling in her wrist.

Her Doctor arranged further tests that confirmed rheumatoid arthritis. Ana was shocked and was initially reluctant to begin methotrexate for arthritis. She ‘wanted to fight it in a natural way’.

After finding the Paddison Program, Ana started it with no medicine, not even pain medication. She faced challenges at this time by being in Finland while her doctors were in El Salvador. She couldn’t move her wrist. Cold weather made it worse. So after waiting about three months, she began the treatment of methotrexate.

Many rheumatoid arthritis suffers experience high inflammation shortly after a diagnosis. This is because the disease is still trying to find its place and the condition tends to snowball. Although natural interventions are well researched and have worked for others, sometimes it can be still too hard to pull back the systematic cascade of inflammation.

One of the non-negotiables of the Paddison Program is to have low pain levels all the time and low inflammation. So in those scenarios, medication may be necessary to provide inflammation reduction.

When inflammation calms down and pain subsides, then its time to focus efforts on healing the inside and building a habit around positive lifestyle changes.

For Ana, it was important for her to have people understand the pain she was in. She found the Paddison program support community ‘to be fabulous in that way’. She was able to share her experiences and concerns with people who are going through the same processes.

​Workouts at the gym or at home for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ana was already working out a lot before her diagnosis. But she had to cut this down due to the pain. Since being on methotrexate and also the Paddison Program, Ana has been able to exercise more. She currently finds walking and stationary bike at the gym to work well for her.

There are lots of great options for exercise for rheumatoid arthritis at the gym, such as stationary bike or elliptical or rowing machine. Lifting weights can help build muscle, to work the connective tissue where the muscles connect to the joints and to increase blood flow.

Resistance bands and elastic tubes are also great for exercising at home.

​Normalised Anti-CCP marker and Reducing Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis

A year following her diagnosis, Ana’s rheumatologist sadly passed away. However, on her three monthly review, she had the wonderful news that her test results had come back negative and clear. Her anti-CCP came back normal, antibodies were normal. This is a phenomenal outcome!

Ana had her dose for methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis reduced. Ana feels that the changes made to her diet have helped with her fibromyalgia.

​Eating Out at Restaurants and When Travelling

For the first few months it can be a good idea to eat at home. This avoids oils that are commonly used in cafes and restaurants.

Ana recommends taking oat crackers when traveling (or eating out) as an option for when there are no suitable alternatives. Pack a salad for lunch, take small bottles of supplements you regularly use. Take alternative milks, home-made muffins and biscuits with no additives. Keeping these items in ziploc bags or tubs can keep them fresh.

Ana finds no real problems with eating her own food alongside others in catering outlets, as long as someone is ordering something else and you’ve perhaps ordered a drink. Most places are quite accommodating.

It’s important to keep going with, and not stop having, those completely necessary social connections with friends and family.

​Eating and Exercise for Weight Gain

Ana had some problems gaining weight, despite eating healthy meals such as oatmeal and fruit in the morning. She began eating plantains and these have helped her gain some extra muscle mass in conjunction with her workouts.

Workouts can be effective at building muscle. To achieve this with RA, a combination of excess daily calories and resistance exercise creates results.

​Side Effects of Methotrexate for Arthritis

When taking methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis Ana lost a lot of her hair. This has had an emotional effect on her. Methotrexate is a low-dose-cancer drug; it is chemotherapy. Despite the low dose, about 29.4% of those on the drug lose their hair, the majority of which are women. [1]

Ana would like to be medication free. But her doctor has explained that even if tests are negative, it doesn’t mean you don’t have RA, it’s like it is asleep. Ana wants to be pain free, to enable her to stop taking methotrexate for arthritis, and get her hair back.

Another impact of methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions is that skin needs to be protected from the sun so this means wearing a 50 sunblock.

​Managing Pain and Staying Positive

Ana is very positive in how she sees pain. She tries not to get discouraged because pain will happen and there are ups and downs. Instead, she tries tries to do some activity, or something positive as a distraction. For Ana, it’s enjoying photography out in nature.

This also enables her to stay active, whilst she moves about throughout the day scouting out locations and taking pictures.

On the Paddison Program, it is recommended to make lifestyle changes to create daily habits. By making helpful changes to a diet and to exercise, it is possible to achieve a better body and better outlook, just like Ana.

​Final Word

Thanks to Ana for sharing her story with us. Ana thanks Clint and the Paddison team for the help and benefits it has brought her.

[1] Łukasik A, Kozicka K, Wojas-Pelc A. The influence of methotrexate on hair loss while using immunomodulatory doses. Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2019 Feb 28;46(272):77-79. PMID: 30830893.


Diet, Methotrexate, Paddison Program, Rheumatoid Arthritis

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