We discuss how:
– Before starting the Paddison Program Stacy was bed ridden
– She wasn’t able to dress herself, shower herself or walk
– After two weeks with the Paddison Program, she can get herself out of bed again
– After about a year on the program, she was able to trick or treat with her son for the first time in three years!
– Stacy and her husband were thinking about a nursing home, because it was becoming too difficult to take care of her at home
– She pulled away from a lot of friends and colleagues, but her husband gave support and took care of her
– After being diagnosed RA she was on Plaquenil and then on Prednisone for about 4 years
– After a first remission RA came back harder and she was on Plaquenil and Humira and started to have heavy side effects
– She stopped Humira and started taking very high doses of Prednisone
– In 11 months on the Paddison Program she went from 40 to 5mg of Prednisone
– Bikram yoga helped her greatly
Clint: Thanks for joining us today. I’ve got Stacy with me. She’s glowing on the other side of the camera here. She’s been part of our support group for some time and we have watched her transformation with her Rheumatoid arthritis. It’s been quite remarkable. Her little profile pic inside our support group has changed dramatically as she’s gone from. May I politely say sort of carrying a little bit of extra weight, to now your way right to now looking very beautiful, young and vibrant. So welcome, Stacy what a pleasure this is to have you.
Stacy: Thank you! It’s great to be here to be able to share my story and my journey with everyone.
Clint: Now inside our gang, inside our online group. You’re very well-known, very popular because as I mentioned your transformation has been enormous. Give everyone else who are listening or watching this snapshot. What will give us some bullet points. How do you feel now compared to how you were in the past?
Stacy: When I first started the program which was November of 2016, I was bed ridden. I was using voice activation software on my computer to continue to work from bed. I could no longer dress myself, shower myself I, couldn’t walk. My husband would carry me to the bathroom. I couldn’t Obviously go you know drive a car or go to any of my doctor appointments he would carry me and bring me in a wheelchair to all of those.
Stacy: And within two weeks of the program I was getting up out of bed myself. That’s how quickly I started to see changes. And here almost a year later I’m about two weeks shy of a year on the program. I am moving, I’m exercising, I’m walking. I was able to trick or treat with my son for the first time in three years. So that was very exciting. This past Halloween. It just has made a tremendous difference in my life.
Clint: Beautiful. Well that’s enough for anyone to want to get on board isn’t it?
Stacy: Yeah, I would think so.
Clint: What about your friends and family? Before we get into the detail of your of your whole story. how are your friend’s friends family and I want to also ask work colleagues responded with what they’ve seen?
Stacy: So. So as far as colleagues, I work from home anyway. So, my colleagues are all over the world. But the main difference is that I was not able to join a lot of the special task forces, a volunteer for four extra things at work that that got me involved with other people, so I had to pull out of everything. as well I could no longer travel for work which is one of the requirements of my job. So you know, it was definitely noticeable that something was wrong with Stacy and she has not been active and involved, so many people did reach out to find out what was going on. But but I do have to admit with friends, with workers, I was very private about this. I had a really hard time dealing with the fact that I was losing my life.
Stacy: And a week before I found the program I was needy about two weeks away from having the discussion with my husband about looking at a nursing home for me, because it was becoming so difficult to keep me here and to take care of me when he was trying to take care of our children and our home and everything, so I was really at the end of. I didn’t know what else to do so. So, for me it was very private. I pulled away from a lot of my friends, a lot of my colleagues. I didn’t tell a lot of them what was going on with me. But the one thing that truly was a great blessing is my husband throughout the whole thing. He he took care of me, gives me support. The moment that I found the program I started crying in bed and I called him up and you asked your TED talk together. And he said do it, do it today, order it, let’s do this, let’s figure it out. You know he helped me, you know I couldn’t do any of that prep myself in the beginning. Helped me with all of that just a tremendous support throughout the entire thing.
Clint: Wow. Absolutely. Gosh he was your Melissa, because Melissa was the same for me. I actually, you know sometimes I have guests on and I think well I was worse than that. But I cannot say that I was worse than what you’ve described. I was able to get out of bed, just to get to bikram yoga each day which then guaranteed me my ability to walk the next day. But if I had not have gone to Bikram every day, I would have also just ended up in bed because you know the knees just wouldn’t work. I mean my knee was just enormous and so excruciating.
Clint: And when you can’t push yourself out of the bed because my elbows, or my wrists, or my fingers, I mean everything seems to be needed when you’re trying to move up out of o lying position. And boy yeah, I can you know appreciate all that you were going through. OK. So What medications were you on? What plan did the doctors have you on? and so on. Give us an insight into that medication sort of roll out.
Stacy: So, I was diagnosed in 2003, when I had gone to work yala. It’s sort of like a prom for work. And my husband and I had danced all night, and we were used to dancing all night but the next day I had a shoulder that was locked, had some numbness in my feet. I had like these weird pains that I’d never had from dancing before. And when you go to the doctor and they said congratulations you’ve got rheumatoid. And they started me very simply with Plaquenil, tried that first. And I did very well with it for a long time. And it’s a pretty easy drug to take and does it have a lot of side effects, so I was very lucky with that. And then they gave me my good friend prednisone, I take if I had a flare. that worked relatively well until about 2007.
Clint: OK, can we just for people. I like to hear more about the drugs. When we got when we you know something like methotrexate there’s just endless discussions about methotrexate. Christine in a previous podcast guest got off Plaquenil using our program, and this is a good episode for people to listen to there. But can you just go into a little bit more about the Plaquenil experience. Did you have to get your eyes tested regularly? and were the concerns is real? Yeah. Just give us a bit more info.
Stacy: You know the interesting part is that the ophthalmologist that I’ve seen, has told me that I’m with the amount Plaquenil I take. And I’m sorry. I don’t know the dosage but, he said the amount that I take I would have to take it for about 100 years before he would expect to see anything wrong with my eyes. So he’s not super concerned about it but I go every six months, I get the exam done, I never had an issue.
Stacy: What I do have is inflammation in one of my eyes from the RA it’s attacked to the eye. So I used to be a contact lens wearer, I can no longer wear them I have the glasses. but the Plaquenil really hasn’t been a concern. It never bothered my stomach, it never gave me headaches, it never… I don’t even feel like I take anything.
Clint: OK, so you really did well on that particular medication right from the start. OK. All right so then you were on that combo of Plaquenil and the occasional tablet of prednisone until 2007. So, let me hand back over to you from that point.
Stacy: So then in 2007 I got pregnant with my second child James, and the rheumatoid went completely into remission. and it lasted that way three and a half years. And then in 2011, it came back harder than it had been before. So, they started me back up with Plaquenil and add a Humira.
Clint: OK. Now so did you go off drugs to have your child?
Stacy: Yup, I was off of everything for those three and a half years.
Clint: OK. So, a lot of sort of surprises there. First of all, that there’s no surprise that you went symptom free during the pregnancy because you know maybe half of females experienced that the lucky half. But a big surprise that it didn’t come back straight after you gave birth so many people. The pain comes back like crazy in about two to five six weeks after giving birth. So that’s that was great.
Stacy: Very lucky. I’m really lucky.
Clint: And the not so lucky that it just delayed itself till 2011 OK so then. OK.
Stacy: So, we add the Humira. And this was my first go with Humira. And yet the Plaquenil just wasn’t cutting it so. So, they added Humira. And at that time, my hair loss gotten really bad where I had huge patches of hair just falling out over and I had to wear different hats, and wigs, and things, like that kind of cover it up. Then I decided to stop the Humira, I just told the doctor I can’t do this anymore you know. And at that time RA wasn’t super bad so we stopped the Humira and I continued just with the Plaquenil again. And that seemed to do the trick.
Clint: Do you think that the Humira was the culprit for the hair loss?
Stacy: I do. I do. And my reason for it you know I called the company and give me a little report because it isn’t one of the side effects of Humira as far as I’m concerned. I was like I’m going to get my you know I’m going to tell them this happened to me. Maybe eventually they will warn people. The reason I think that is because I am now on Humira again and I have the same hair loss happening again. So, you know it seems like too much of a coincidence, that every time I’m on Humira my hair starts falling out.
Clint: Well I mean yeah. I mean that’s direct relationship so it’s hard. Hard to say it’s anything else.
Stacy: Right, so I stopped the Humira. Like I said you know later in 2011 and then I had a lot of stress going on in 2012. So, my mother got cancer. I was taking care of her while working full time. We decided to do a home renovation, and due to the fact that I needed an office at home because I was changing my job. Then we decided to scrap that, and we decided to sell the house and get another house. So, we had all this stuff going on at the same time. A lot of stress and the arthritis started getting worse. Not horrible but worse not to know where I was what I described as the beginning of the podcast, definitely getting worse. Then in the summer of 2015, I found sailing, and I fell in love with and it was the first time I had ever done it. And that summer I joined a boating team and I was racing sailboats on Saratoga lake.
Stacy: And the RA started creeping in, you know each month it was getting a little worse so I was just popping my prednisone, popping my prednisone, because that’s what you know that my sort my fall back.
Clint: Ok, and here’s where it really starts to get ugly.
Stacy: Here is where everything went down.
Stacy: Big warning, warning, warning, to everyone listening, this isn’t the approach that we recommend.
Stacy: This is not the right approach, this is not. You do not self-medicate with prednisone. So, by August of 2015 I was up to 60 mg of prednisone a day.
Clint: Oh my gosh. t the studies where they talk about leaky gut occurs with high dosages of prednisone. They talk about 5 milligrams as being high daily dose.
Stacy: I know I. Yes. And so. So, at that point I was starting to get paranoia, and a little bit of like hallucination things. because you know those high doses of prednisone are not good, mentally and physically. So finally, my husband said to me you know I think something’s wrong, I think you need to go into your rheumatologist. You know you’re medicating yourself with this prednisone but you’re not you. You’re changing.
Stacy: So, I went in a right way. He said What do you doing? You know he shouldn’t have done this, know I wasn’t doing this on his directive I was just taking what I needed to get through the pain. So, he started me well ring it but you know lowering your down I got to about 40 milligrams with him and…
Stacy: 40, from 60 to 40. With his help.
Clint: Before I thought you said you were on 16 a day not 60.
Stacy: No no, 60.
Clint: My gosh. Okay. It’s a whole different level. Wow.
Stacy: So, he got me down to about 40. And from there that’s when I just started spiraling down into just you know being bedridden. And I think when I started your program I started at 40 mg. I was at 40 mg of prednisone.
Clint: Sorry 11 months, after 11 months. How much are you’re on now?
Stacy: Now I’m down to five.
Clint: Five. OK. Not a bad result.
Stacy: No. No. It is. It is amazing. The problem the problem that I do have is when I do have to travel for work, I find it messes me up again and I lose time. What usually happens is this last trip that I went on I travelled. You know I’m very good about my food I bring my rice cooker I do everything in my room. You know if I eat out it’s just my cucumber sushi that’s it. But I found that no matter how good I am it messes my gut up. And when I come home I’m definitely much worse. I usually have to do like a two-week run of the prednisone again. I take it to get the inflammation back down and then I’m back to 5 again in about two weeks.
Stacy: I don’t want that crutch anymore. But you know you always say it’s a fine balance between keeping the inflammation down and keeping the medication down and it you know finding that balance is hard for me sometimes.
Clint: Oh, most definitely. Hard for everyone. I think that that’s why we keep making these interviews with people like yourself have got a lot of experience with finding that balance, so we can help others. So, you know we’ve only been working together for 12 months. And if you look at how far you’ve come from 40 mg down to 5 mg, and you look at the history of the use of this. I see people deteriorate with their progress on prednisone and only after a few months. And so, it becomes harder, and harder, and harder, maintain progress whilst just having prednisone as you know, a primary medication option. I see it as you know, one of the worst possible and this is not actually referring to your strategy. It’s just a general statement, that if someone’s listening and their only approach is to treat their pain with prednisone or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. You know unfortunately I’ve never seen someone turn the disease around become pain free and drug free. With that strategy. SO
Stacy: I don’t recommend it either. And I do not recommend it.
Clint: Yes. And so, you know I think. Well let let’s talk about the big win. First though the big win is how far you’ve come in the last 12 months? It’s a phenomenal turnaround given what you described at the at the start is conversation. Now, from here It’s an interesting little balance now let’s go into a little bit of a let’s have a bit of fun with some kind of what I would do if I were you. Kind of scenario. Give me your say are you still on a Plaquenil and the Humira?.
Stacy: Yes, I am.
Clint: OK. So we like the Plaquenil, we know because you’ve been on that in the past on its own that that drug is compatible with you. The Humira how much pain relief does that give you compared to when you were taking only Plaquenil?
Stacy: I never felt like Humira did anything for me. It’s hard for me to me that I really need now to the doctor because I’m on your program and your program has made a big difference for me. it’s hard to make that argument to them.
Clint: Yes. And it’s also it’s hard to make the argument. And it’s also makes me uncomfortable to say well let’s stop it until you get off the prednisone, Because that’s the first thing. So, in my checklist that you have inside our support group, there we have a checklist of all the things that we need to hit. One by one by one by one and getting off nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, prednisone, and proton pump inhibitors, are the first three of the collection of meds that we’ve got to be off before we can do some really hard core serious long-term healing.
Clint: So, you’ve managed to do all of what you’ve achieved while still being sort of in that that you know some of that tricky early stages. You know like in terms of our healing path together, working together, we’re still only in that first one or two stages of our 10-step process. However, once you get out of those first, that first couple of stages and getting off that prednisone eventually. then the following stages are you know although they take time, There’s no sort of major hurdles in there. No big things like trying to get off the prednisone equivalent. So, everything you’re doing is right now you’ve, I want to add this as well because I’ve been encouraging you for some time to go to Bikram yoga, and you finally you know took upon that advice and you’ve done well at it. Can you talk about that?
Stacy: Yes. bickram is absolutely amazing. And I had to be sold on it. The truth is, Clint wrote in my journal and said Stacy some is going to hit a wall it’s going to be stuck in a joint or in joints. And the only thing you can do is bikram yoga. Promise me you’ll do it. And so, I wrote yeah, I’ll do it. And then sure enough there I was with my ankles. I just couldn’t get the inflammation out of my ankles. And I said Yes, I’ve got to do it. So begrudgingly I went, and it was hard for me to stand, a lot of the class I just sat on the mat and did breathing, and watched everybody else and then I would stand up when I could, and I did the floor stuff. But now I go seven days a week.
Clint: Wow. Seven days a week. Yeah. Yeah that was my plan to.
Stacy: You know I just decided I was going to take two months and dedicate seven days a week. You know I know I can’t do that forever, it’s just not sustainable you know with life, and having everything that’s going.
Stacy: But I took two months to do that, and it has made an incredible difference in the ankles. Getting the inflammation out, you know I noticed really weird things like on a day that I’m having extra inflammation I sweat more. You know what it is it’s like it’s coming out of me, you know just my movement is better, everything it has been it’s incredible. And I was not sold on it to begin with. I was not someone who was looking forward to it or wanted to do it. And it took me probably a good 20 classes before I could say but I liked it.
Clint: OK. Well I can’t say yet that I like it, I’ve done 800 or something. So, but I like the results and that’s what matters more. If I’ve got anything going for me it’s an ability to deploy discipline and I actually hated going so many times. I absolutely would come up with every, possible distraction in my mind as to why I should not go. But I would drag myself there drag, and walk in there, and put myself through it over and over and over and over and over again and always be glad that I did afterwards. But you know, it’s not easy for people who have perfect physical abilities, let alone folks like us who were going there during terrible, terrible joint problems.
Stacy: And you know you stand there in the classes that I attend most of the people are young, and in good shape, and healthy, and you know they do the poses and they look fantastic. Know I’m you know crooked and (inaudible) stumbling and falling. You know but that’s Okay, you know the instructors where I go were very encouraging, and they always say you know even just one per cent of the pose, you’re getting all the benefit. So just do what you can. You know it’s it’s a great practice, and you know I do recommend it. And like I said I did it and it starts so give it a try.
Clint: Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. All right so I’m keen to get from you. I want to also make some comments because I said I would about maybe the next steps for you. So, I want to talk about that, and then I also want to get some tips from you. You’ve been through working closely with me and other members in our group, and also you know developing a lot of your own ideas. I just want to get from you as well. As we close out the rest of this call, some tips and some insights some advice, things that you’ve experienced that has helped you. So, we’ll do that in a minute. First of all, let’s just troubleshoot your situation just briefly. I think that you’re going to the Bikram yoga every single day, and that’s one of the most powerful ways to reduce your prednisone requirement because Bikram is just so anti-inflammatory. And so that’s one massive feather in your bow. and you’re able to reset back to the baseline foods as necessary when you want to eliminate lots of pain, That’s always available to you. Something that I am pushing more and more recently is that we need to get our potassium levels as high as possible, our intake of potassium when we’re coming off prednisone, because prednisone I guess replaces our own natural cortisol. And so, as we’re coming off it our own ability to generate pain relief on our own internally feels like it’s not working or it isn’t working.
Clint: And there’s that link that Dr. Gregor highlighted in his nutritionfacts.org video, where he talks about the relationship between prednisone sorry that cortisol in the body and potassium. and people with high inflammation have low potassium levels and so, you know we got to get our potassium levels really high and in that video, he talks about 6000 mg a day was taken by people with rheumatoid arthritis. Now 6000 milligrams is 6 grams. Ok, it’s not a lot, if you look at it like a teaspoon right of potassium. So, I would look at getting potassium levels really high, via supplementation or look at foods, and raise them through that way. The other thing we want to do is, make sure our vitamin D really high because prednisone depletes our vitamin D levels. And so, we want to make sure vitamin D hasn’t been driven right down to the ground. because with low vitamin D then that is interfering like a spanner in the works of our whole immune system. So, we need to have high vitamin D levels in your smiling as if yours might be really low. Is it really low?
Stacy: Yeah. And I have supplementation for that now.
Clint: OK. How bad did it get? How low did it get?
Stacy: I have to look back at my blood work I’m not sure. I had gone to a naturopath, because none of my other doctors seemed very concerned with any of the, you know nutrition or where you know what else is going on with my body. So, I went to one he did a full work up and vitamin d was one of the things they found.
Clint: Okay. Excellent. Excellent for those people who worried about taking vitamin D because it’s suspended in a drop of oil, a little bit of oil has to be because of the way that it actually is activated. You know the answer to that that I give is, just a tiny little bit a drop of oil that comes with the your required need to raise your vitamin D levels is nothing compared and the need to get up the vitamin D. So, we got to the vitamin D levels right up, and then you know you’ve probably listened recently to that podcast I did with Richard Matthews where he talked about the oats. so what I like to do is to try and get people to even if they are eating just one tablespoon of oats to start with just one tablespoon.
Stacy: I’m so afraid. I am. you know I still I’m very close to baseline foods. I have branched out much I mean, you know even after a year because of the prednisone. So. So any new food is like a big adventure for me.
Clint: Yes. I totally understand. So, let’s try let’s try and make it so that it so that there almost can’t be an argument. And I want you to do this experiment, right? So, let’s switch across from like, try and just buy some oats and cook up you know the amount that makes sense like half a cup or something that you’re not even going to eat it all. prepare it as if you’re about to eat it. And then just get one teaspoon of it, and just eat a teaspoon and crack open a probiotic that is predominantly acidophilus strains and mix it in with the oatmeal and just Stir it in together. It’s not going to taste great. But what you what you’re doing there is your you’re getting the oats which you offer all of the benefits that we heard about in the in the other podcast on top of that. But what I want to highlight is one the most important aspects of that is that it can help with the mucosal lining. And so, I believe that prednisone strips our mucosal lining. And the reason is that I believe that is because it’s anti-mucosal. It’s used for people with asthma problems to clear their mucus in their body. And so you know I ran this past Dr. Klapper and he said he doesn’t have evidence to support that but he said that he likes my train of thought. And so he certainly said you know it’s possible right? And we know that oats can re-establish the mucosal lining, as well as tremendously repopulate the gut bacteria which in turn also can heal the leaky gut.
Clint: And so yeah let’s try and get a probiotic mix of acidophilus strains in with just one teaspoon of oatmeal. Now if you can do one teaspoon for a couple of days then do two teaspoons, and then three teaspoons. And we might just be operating just below that threshold where your body has a reaction to that little bit of oats. And if then you can keep sneaking it up you might be able to find that after a couple of weeks you might be able to tolerate that half a cup that you’re prepared. And our main like.
Stacy: I’ll try.
Clint: Yeah let’s give it a go. I’d love to hear how that goes and we can keep in touch online about that. Awesome. So, let let’s talk about your. Any tips or lessons that come to mind that you think. Well this is worth sharing or people should realize this or and so on. Some helpful hints to people who are following along and doing this process at home.
Stacy: I guess the most important thing is to just keep at it. And you know that diet part of it has not been a struggle for me because the alternative is pain that puts me in bed and I can’t move. So, you know I hear a lot of people struggle with you know cheating, or you know being tempted. I have never had any of that because I will never go back to what I was. You know I have a life now and I want to keep it that way. But for people are struggling with that. You know if you make a mistake don’t beat yourself, up just go back to the program just keep at it. You know it’s a cumulative program so every day you put in. You get a result the next day you get a result you know it and it’s cumulative. You know the longer you do it, the better the results. So just keep at it, that’s all it’s you know one day at a time and don’t beat yourself up and keep going.
Clint: Awesome. OK. Well you know what’s next for you? we talked about getting of prednisone. But like what I was sort of like non-druggie, non-rheumatoid things have you got planned for the future now that you’ve got an ability to use your body again?
Stacy: Yes. So, as I mentioned earlier, I kind of pulled away from a lot of friends, and colleagues, and things, and this year for work, I’m going to be joining more groups, and being able to get back out there working get my name out there. I also just completed my Master’s degree. I was going through those programs so that was a big accomplishment. And you know who knows what that will lead to.
Stacy: Thank you. I also really look forward to a time when I can do travel again, without having a setback. because I’ve always enjoyed travelling and was one of the things about my job that I always felt that really fortunate to have a job that allowed me to travel to places and see different things. And now I really can’t enjoy that. So. being able to get to a point where my gut doesn’t get completely messed up by Travel would be a really nice place to be. And of course, having a full summer with my family again would be great. We used to be hikers, and walkers, and do things together. And it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been a part of that. So those are some of the things I’m looking forward to.
Clint: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, very exciting things. We share a lot of the same set of ideals for our values for our lives. Spending time with the family and travelling there two of the most important things to me as well. So, I can totally relate to that. I can just reassure you that with a couple of tweaks here and there that we’ve just talked about just in this short time together and ongoing discussions online, you know you get there, you’ll get there. and not just wishful thinking this is just this is how things play out. And you’ve got determination levels through the roof. You’ve got the plan in place. You’ve got a support group around you online and also with your husband. You’ve dedicated your life making this your mission. I mean, you’ve got all of these big why you want to get well desires that are going to motivate you during the tough times. Yeah, I expect it. If we were to set one of these up for 12 months’ time and go over this again we would be able to hear many of those goals realized.
Stacy: yeah if I think come from you know being bed ridden, to doing what I’m doing now in less than a year. I imagine what I’m going to do over the next year.
Clint: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And what I think is cool, is because you know you and I both sort of suspect that the Humira not doing a whole bunch. Right? And you know you’re down to five mg which is a it is an exciting prospect With regards to prednisone right? I see a lot of people get off a 5 mg. When you talk in the 40s and 60s that’s off the charts you know.
Clint: So you’re kind of getting close with the prednisone, and the Humira may be able to be turned off. Right? Not in everyone’s case. Yours is unique. But speaking specifically to you, the Humira might not be doing as much as what it normally does for people. Then you would be in a position where you’re only, and I use only adverted commas only on Plaquenil. And they help people get off that drug. So you know when I start the like the finish line is ….
Stacy: I can see it.
Clint: And it’s not you know we’re not in a fantasy land here. We absolutely are not in a fantasy land. This is like you know give me my chips. I’m going to go all in. We’re going to get Stacey where she wants to be.
Stacy: I’m ready. I’m ready.
Clint: So, thank you very much. I think that’s a good place for us to wrap up. I know you’re very busy and you’ve given us your time on a what are we on a Wednesday afternoon. So I really appreciate your wonderful inspiration that you’re sharing. And if I may I’d love to share your sort of before and after photo on this.
Clint: Yeah. And if you’re if you’re not looking at this recording on the blog post if you’re watching this online or you’re listening to this on a download on a podcast on your phone, definitely go to the blog. What I’ll do is it’ll be paddiosnprogram.com/Stacy go there. Check it out. And you got to check out the pictures of Stacy. They will blow your mind. So thanks so much Stacey, and I look forward to chatting to you more online.
Stacy: OK. Thank you.