My Seven-Year Battle With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cardiac arrest, lesions, thinning hair, life-threatening hypotension, increased appetite and weight gain, loss of muscle mass, depression, convulsions, vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds, emotional instability and irritability, hallucinations, long-term memory loss, schizophrenia, blurred vision, and decreased resistance to infection.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of reported side effects for the drugs I was presented with in the fall of 2005. I sat in the doctor’s office, with my mom, stunned at the news I had received. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis – an incurable auto-immune disease, in which one’s body attacks itself, causing severe joint pain, deformation and chronic inflammation.

I was only 16 years old and it seemed I had one of two choices: take the immune-suppressing drugs – whose side effects seemed worse than the disease itself – or refuse the drugs, while my body continued to attack itself, eventually leading to complete deterioration. 

My mom was hesitant to put her 16-year-old son on drugs with the side effects comparable to those of chemotherapy, so she questioned the doctor, asking if there were any alternative treatments of the disease. His response: “Nope. I’m a doctor; you’re going to have to trust me.” And that’s where my seven-year journey began. 

In 2005, I was a typical teenage boy. I was a sophomore in high school, listened to rap music, secretly enjoyed romantic comedies, and was obsessed with sports. I experienced a massive growth spurt and fresh off my two-year stint with braces, my confidence was sky-high. I had my first real girlfriend, running three miles a day, playing pick-up basketball multiple times a week, and just started a weight-lifting program. I felt like I was finally becoming a man, and well on my way to becoming an absolute stud.

Unfortunately, my unhealthy lifestyle was also typical of a 16-year-old boy. Although I was exhaustingly active and in amazing shape, I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning playing video games and ate fast food every day – sometimes multiple times. On the outside, I was perfectly healthy and in the self-proclaimed best shape of my life, but I had no idea of the destruction going on inside my body. 

On a random August day, I woke up with a unfamiliar pain in my right wrist. I didn’t remember injuring it lifting weights or playing basketball, so I assumed I slept wrong. I applied Icy Hot throughout the day and by the next morning the pain had gone away. 

A few weeks later, I woke up with a similar pain in my left shoulder, assuming this was another instance of sleeping wrong. I applied Icy Hot and the pain subsided. Only a few days later, I woke up with pain and discomfort in both of my hands, as well as my fingers and wrists. The pain was so severe that I literally couldn’t squeeze my shampoo out of the bottle.

At that point I knew something was wrong. I visited various doctors and took countless blood tests. The common diagnosis was “Growing pains”. Eventually one doctor referred me to a Rheumatologist, where I was officially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. He insisted on prescribing Methotrexate and Prednisone immediately – both dangerous, immune-suppressing drugs.

My mom was adamant about finding an alternative way to treat the disease, because giving her son the near-equivalent of chemotherapy was simply not an option. Being a naive 16-year-old boy, I was not receptive to the idea of attempting to cure an incurable disease “the natural way”, by doing things like changing my diet and taking a few extra vitamins. My thinking was, “These guys went to school for eight years for a reason; they know what they’re talking about. I’m sure if there were an alternative treatment, they would know about it.” I asked my mom, “Why don’t you just give me the pill?!”. Luckily, she made the executive decision to attack the disease the natural way. 

The days and weeks following my diagnosis weren’t pretty. We visited a handful of natural doctors – most of whom I thought were complete lunatics. One visit in particular prompted my one and only mental breakdown. I sat in the office with my mom, listening to the doctor explain how she wants to put me on a diet consisting of only raw vegetables and nuts. I sat there in silence, watching my mom politely nod, while I thought to myself, “If anyone thinks I’m eating strictly nuts and vegetables in some off-the-wall attempt to cure a disease, they’ve lost their damn minds”.

On the car-ride home my mom pitched the idea of eating only nuts and vegetables to me. I sat in the backseat, without saying a word, but as soon as we walked in the door, I exploded – screaming, crying, throwing stuff. I had a lot of anger built up, which manifested in a complete meltdown. My mom – who felt horrible – decided to scrap the nuts and vegetables diet, vowing to find another way. That’s the singular moment I agreed to bypass the drugs, and trusted that between my mom and I, we’d figure it out.

We continued to visit natural doctors until we found one we both liked. The one we settled on freaked me out at first, because he was so intense, but I was sold when he said with the utmost confidence, “Oh, you have Arthritis? We can fix that.” I thought, “Either this dude is a lunatic like the rest of them, just one with supreme confidence” or “Hmm, if somebody else besides my mom seems to think we can do this, let’s do it.” 

My treatment consisted of a food sensitivity test – accompanied by a specialized diet avoiding all the foods my body was “sensitive” to – various acupuncture sessions, dozens of vitamins and supplements, homeopathic medicine, joint massages, joint creams, etc. 

My life got worse before it got better. In the months following my diagnosis: I broke up with my girlfriend, had no energy, quietly suffered from anxiety and depression, woke up every morning in pain, and was on a diet of plain chicken, brown rice, applesauce, green vegetables and soy ice cream. Among the simple tasks I was unable to do because of my condition included: running, opening a milk carton, squeezing shampoo out of the bottle, playing video games, shooting a basketball, and looking over my shoulder to change lanes, while driving. Every movement hurt – from walking to class, to putting on my backpack.

But as the days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months, I saw significant changes in my health. The pain wasn’t nearly as severe. My mom got the hang of cooking, so my diet improved drastically. And I started doing things I was doing before Arthritis. (I’ll never forgot the first time I shot a basketball again – something I thought I’d never do).

It took ample time for my body to heal itself of all the damage I had done 16 years, but two years of natural, drug-free treatment later, my blood tests came back normal, no permanent damage had been done and I was “95 percent” healthy. Instead of simply treating the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis with drugs that could’ve caused heart problems, skin problems, memory problems, immune system problem, and the vomiting coffee grains (!), my blood tests showed that I no longer had the disease, nor the side effects accompanied by the drugs. The only long-term sacrifices I made were: take a few extra vitamins every day and alter my diet to avoid certain foods – like gluten and dairy. But I wasn’t out of the woods just yet. 

Fast forward to the summer 2010. I was a few months removed from my 21st birthday. Since I was still feeling 95 percent healthy and RA-free, I began to neglect my diet. I was finally legal, so I drank once in a while. I’d also eat fast food a few times a month and hang out in hookah bars. I continued to feel healthy, despite falling back into old habits, so there was no incentive to remain strict on my diet. 

At the end of May, I flew to Boston to live with my extended family to complete a three-month internship at Kronos. Feeling as good as I have in a long time –  and fresh off a year and a half working at UNLV, doing manuel labor (of all things) – I was also the biggest and strongest I had ever been. 

During my first month in Boston, I half-heartily followed my diet, but my last two months consisted of nothing but pizza, McDonalds, beer, hot wings, banana splits and more beer. I was still feeling good, all things considered.

Then, two weeks before my internship ended, I came home from work on a random Thursday night. I posted up on the couch to watch the latest episode of Jersey Shore and indulge on some gluten-free donuts, when I felt my lower lip beginning to swell up. With my lip continuing to swell up, I turned off Jersey Shore and decided to go to bed. I assumed the swelling in my lip would be gone in the morning.

A few hours later, I woke up and headed to the bathroom. I turned on the light, looked in the mirror and was blown away with how swollen my lip had become. I kid you not when I say my lower lip was as thick as bratwurst sausage (picture). 

I was staying in my aunt and uncle’s house, alone, while they were in Connecticut. It was three o’clock in the morning and not only was my lip not getting better, but the swelling felt like it was spreading to my throat area. To die with a swollen lip would’ve been bad enough, but it would’ve been absolutely tragic if my last memories were a plate of gluten-free donuts and an episode of Jersey Shore.

I panicked and called my mom. She suggested we iChat, and upon seeing my lip her reaction went something like, “Oh my gosh, Jordan. You need to go to the emergency room now!”  Reluctantly, I called my cousin – who lived 30 minutes away – who I also iChated with. After making fun of the size of my lip for a few minutes, him and his fiance took me to the emergency room. The nurse asked me ‘what brought me in tonight’ (seriously?!), they pumped me full of antihistamines and kept me there overnight. 

Following my internship, I flew back to Vegas, and was diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome – a condition where pin-sized holes in your intestines allow food particles to enter your blood stream, causing various reactions. My reaction came in the form of chronic hives. 

For the next six or seven months, I was in worse shape than I was in 2005. Not only did my joints hurt again, but now I was breaking out in hives every day – face included. Again, the doctors provided no hope, saying I’d have to take an antihistamine every day, for the rest of the my life.

I carried a Benadryl everywhere, for fear of swelling up. I went without a haircut for nine months (picture) and rarely shaved. I went weeks without leaving my house and lost all contact with friends, as my social skills slowly diminished. I ate nothing but plain chicken, rice and apples, because no one could figure out what foods were causing my hives. I was so malnourished, that I lost 30 pounds and my testosterone plummeted to dangerously low levels.

My life consisted of nothing but school and watching movies, by myself – I was rotting away. I was desperate to work out, but my elbow was so inflamed, and deformed, that I didn’t even have the range of motion to wash my hair left-handed, let alone lift, even a two pound weight.

After re-testing my food sensitivities and taking a stool test, my trio of natural doctors – along with my mom – helped me figure out a plan of attack. It took a seven months, a ridiculously strict diet, along with various vitamins and supplements, but I finally stopped breaking out in hives and my blood tests returned to normal. I cut my hair for the first time in almost a year, shaved, slowly re-gained confidence and re-kindled friendships. 

Despite still being somewhat limited, I dragged myself to the gym. All I could do last summer (June 2011) was run, sit-ups, curl two pound weights and pull-ups on the assisted pull-up machine. I was disgustingly skinny and malnourished, but the hard part was over with. Leaky Gut Syndrome and chronic hives were a thing of the past, as was Rheumatoid Arthritis – again. As time went on, I steadily became healthier, and eventually surpassed the “95 percent” healthy that I was before Boston. 

Over the past seven years, I’ve been to hell and back. But now I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, and the happiest I’ve ever been.

That said, I remain unsatisfied with the status quo. The first week of January 2012 I set two new goals for myself. 1) Pack on 25 pounds of muscle and 2) Trim down to six percent body fat. I was ready to make up for seven years of lost time. In four and a half months, I’ve put on nearly 10 pounds of muscle and cut down from 18 percent body fat, to 11. (Here’s a before and after picture). I’m still a ways away from reaching my goals, but continue to take it one day at a time.

I can now say with complete conviction, that I feel normal for the first time since my freshman year in high school. I’m still on a strict diet, and although I cheat every once in a while (Doritos Taco!), I learned my lesson from my days in Boston. I lift weights at least five days a week, play in an adult basketball league on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a flag football league on Sundays. Not only am I not on any medications, I don’t even take over-the-counter stuff, like Tylenol. Looking at me, you’d never know what I’ve been through.

The other day I was asked if I’d do it all over again. My answer is absolutely. Not only am I healthier than I ever could’ve imagined, but my mom is healthy, and my kids/family will most definitely be healthy as a result of my experience. The process has also made me an incredibly strong person, both mentally and physically, and I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. 

Being legitimately healthy changes your outlook on life, and I sincerely hope that everyone has the privilege of complete and total health some day. 

Whether or not the ailment is as small as ‘trouble sleeping’, or as large as an auto-immune disease, there’s an alternative to the pills the doctors prescribe, which only treat the symptoms, not the condition. Your body has the amazing ability to heal itself, if you’re willing to put in the effort. I’m living proof. 

Meanwhile, my mom has gone on to become a certified Health Coach, while still working 40+ hours at her day job. When co-workers became aware of my story, they inquired about natural treatments for various ailments, so she decided to go back to school and make a post-retirement career out of her new-found passion – natural health. (Her website recently went live, which you can visit at NutritionInspired.com).

So, that’s the story of my seven year (winning) battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

All the thanks goes to God – a lot of prayer went into the healing process. Many thanks goes to the friends and family, who supported me every step of the way – also my natural doctors. More thanks goes to everyone from my old church, and the hundreds of people I had praying for me. A special thanks goes to my crew at Liberty Ballers, who unknowingly served as a getaway for me, during the of worst times.

I also want to shout out to my long-time friend, Alex, for being the first one to accept my diet for what it was. He’d come to my house and chow down on gluten-free/dairy-free food with me, without hesitation, when everyone else treated me like an alien.

Thanks to everyone who ever doubted me, including the original doctor who advised my mom and I to “trust him”. 

But the biggest thanks of all goes to my wonderful mother. Not only has she managed to raise a dope kid, but her relentless determination not to give me those medicines changed my life, her life, and the rest of our family’s lives forever. Because of her, I’ll be able to enjoy a long, heathy, happy life, free of joint pain and/or the nasty side effects of the drugs. 

This story still has plenty of chapters to be written, but not many people can say they’ve overcome an incurable disease. I’ve done it twice.

– Written by Jordan Sams (@samsjordan)

Comments

  1. Danny says:

    awesome story. most people would not have done what you did.

  2. Denise Pebworth says:

    Jordan – your mom is an amazing person and I’m happy to call her my friend! She loves you like none other.

  3. Leah Thomson says:

    Wow. I had no idea. So proud of you Jordan! Very inspiring story!

  4. Frank says:

    Way to go Jordan. That’s an incredible story about determination and the will to not back down in the face of an ailment. Totally admire that.

  5. Audrey says:

    This is an amazing story. I’m 23 and was diagnosed with RA when I was 16, just like you. It’s crazy to read your story and how you describe the beginning of your battle with Rheimatoid Arthritis because it is so similar to mine. One of the things I always tell people when they ask is how I couldn’t squeeze my shampoo bottle or put toothpaste on the toothbrush. Anyway, I chose to take my Rheimatologist’s advice and I’ve been taking those medications with the awful side effects for 7 years now. I’ve been seriously considering starting to treat it naturally for a few months. I’d love to talk to you about it a little more. Thanks!

  6. Audrey says:

    Love misspelling things. Rheumatoid*

  7. Steven Burrill says:

    Hey, awesome story. My wife was just diagnosed with Lupus, my mother in law has the same, and my daughter has itp. I am thinking about doing this diet thing for my whole house hold. I am a big fan of both liberty ballers and bleeding green nation. It is inspiring to read that someone can do this with work. I hear so many bad stories from these auto immune diseases, it worries me. I’m glad there are positive stories. Another place to get good first hand stories, info, and contribute to donations is lupus.org. Thanks Jordan

  8. Thelma Frazier says:

    Hey Jordan,
    I loved your story. Isn’t it strange how Mom’s always seem to know best?
    Congratulations on your good health, wisdom and recovery. Sticking
    w/it is the hardest thing to do and you’ve done it. Just keep hangin’ in there.
    Good job, Nina.

  9. nina says:

    Thanks for the support! I can’t say it was easy, but so worth it!

  10. LeQuan Glover says:

    Damn, I’m glad everything turned out for the better. While, as basketball fans we may have had different opinions, Humanity should have a common appreciation for each other and I’d like to think I extend that to everyone, so I’m very happy that things turned out for the better.

  11. Amy Arnaz says:

    Jordan~
    Excellent story! Well written too. Your little mother is your Angel. May I borrow her please?
    xoxo Amy Arnaz

  12. Tamie Suemnick says:

    Jordan….what an amazing story!!!
    It made me cry! What amazes me is that all those years you hung out with Lacie I never new anything was wrong. You sure didn’t show it!!! You were always the one that was making everyone Laugh! You and your big smile!!! I am so glad your doing better and your mother is amazing! I would love to meet her some day! I know what it’s like to completely change your eating habits because I had to do that for my asthma and being allergic to everything. Take care of yourself and stay heathy! Lots of hugs to you!!
    Lacie’s mom

  13. Bob says:

    Hey Jordan,
    Just got the card!
    BIG smile on my face accompanied by laughter!
    BEST phone conversation I have had since ’91, by far!
    MUCH RESPECT AND ADMIRATION GO OUT TO YOUR MOM, FOR RAISING YOU TO BE WHO YOU ARE, AND SAVING YOU!
    As you so brilliantly said, “thinking outside the box”
    SO WELL PUT, DUDE!
    Also, much respect and goodwill to your moms current undertaking!
    MAY THE WIND OF GOD ALWAYS BE AT YOUR BACKS!
    I really feel you should rethink, your off the mark, opinion as it pertains to KOBE vs. jordan, if for no other reason than I can tell your mom taught you mad respect for your elders (which, by the way I agree with) and, the fact, thatKOBE bought the wife a $4,000,000.00 pink/purple diamond

    • Bob says:

      Where was jordan on that one?
      I think he gave his wife a pair of Pumas!
      I DID ENJOY YOUR CARD/TEXT DRAWING BYTHE WAY, EXCEPT IT WAS THE WRONG LOGO SOMEHOW!
      THE BIG ONE WAS YOUR COMMENT ABOUT CONTINUING TO BE ME!
      KEEP ON KEEPING ON!
      THAT IS MORE THAN GIGANTIC, TO MY EYES AND PSYCHE, THAN I CAN TELL YOU, I CAN ASSURE YOU OF THAT!
      MY CONFIDENCE LEVEL ON THAT SUBJECT WAS LESS THAN ZERO! BELIEVE ME!
      I WANTED TO FIX THE SPELLING, GRAMMATICAL, PUNCTUATION, etc. ERRORS, EDIT, AS IT WERE, ON THE FIRST TEXT (AND THIS ONE), BUT, IT JUST STOPPED OUT OF NOWHERE AND TOOK ME TO ANOTHER REPLY! I MAKE SURE I SAY THIS BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ASPIRING WRITER!

      Peace-out, to you and mom, for now, bro’
      I NEED AN EDITOR BADLY, DUDE!

    • nina says:

      Hey, thanks for the comments and kind words! I will make sure Jordan gets your comments :)
      Nina~ Jordan’s Mom!

  14. Netta W says:

    Hello, talk about twins…I too was diagnosed with RA at the age of 16 but did not have such a knowledgeable mother when it came to alternative medicine because my mom is a nurse so her and my doctor both agreed on the medications despite my reluctance to take them. I first neglected to take my meds but experienced even more pain so I began to take them. I have be on Methotrexate, Humira, on and off on predinisone for the past 7 years and a knee surgery and I am really looking for a healthier treatment of my illness. This story really inspired me. Can you assist me on what I may do to become healthier? I am currently practicing vegan but i don’t know what to do really and my RA is getting worse so I really feel like my medications are not working. I hope you can please help me, look forward to hearing from you.

    Signed ready for a change!!!

    • nina says:

      Hi Netta! Yes, not everyone is a believer the natural way. Once you really dig in you will find many people who have done similar “all natural” protocols and rave about what it has done for them. I was not a believer either, until I actually watched day, by day my son getting better and better. Netta, you may want to consider having your doctor check for food sensitivities, sometimes that is once of many underlying causes of diseases. Some of the first foods eliminated to reduce inflammation for most people are gluten and diary. Other underlying causes of RA are toxins, infection, leaky gut, sometimes lyme too. There are a number anti-inflammatory supplements. Consider finding a good Naturopathic doctor in your area. Some of the first foods eliminated to reduce inflammation for most people are gluten and diary.

      Nina :)

  15. Olivia says:

    Dear Jordan,

    It is so inspiring to read your story because there are two many negative stories about RA online. I am a girl who was also diagnosed with RA since I was 19(I am 26 now). unfortunately, my mom was also diagnosed with this disease this year. I am managing myself very well so far, but taking Methotrexate continuously. The side effect bothered me a lot, like losing hairs(I used to have very thick hair) and gaining weights. Despite of this disease, I have a husband who loves me very much, who makes my life so blessing and joyful. My families are also very supportive. I am so motivated by your story that I decide to search for a good natural doctor. But I am not a U.S citizen, I don’t know how to find a good natural doctor in Syracuse, NY. Do you have any good suggestions and recommendations? What kinds of tests I should do when I see the doctor? Also, I wonder if you can also offer some diet suggestions to me. Thank you very much. Congratulations to your recovery and healthy life. You have such a fabulous mom!

    • nina says:

      Thank you for your comment! I would Google or look for ND’s in your area. Make sure they are from an accredited school, such as:

      Bastyr University (Kenmore, Washington)
      Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (New Westminister, British Columbia)
      Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, Ontario)
      National College of Natural Medicine (Portland, Oregon)
      Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Tempe, Arizona)
      University of Bridgeport—College of Naturopathic Medicine (Bridgeport, Connecticut)

      Most of these types of doctors unfortunately, are not covered by most insurance. A good naturopath will know what tests you would need. They might check for leaky gut, parasites, underlying infections, and food sensitivities. It often takes time to find the underlying causes, kind of like peeling away at the skin of an onion, but you have got time! My son’s doctor is totally awesome and he is in the Connecticut area. A great book to read is: “Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Arthritis: Reverse Underlying Causes of Arthritis With Clinically Proven Alternative Therapies, by Dr. Eugene Zampieron. I would consider trying a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, as they are both very inflammatory. It is not as bad or as hard as you might think!
      Olivia, blessings and much improved health for you this new year!
      Nina

  16. Faith van Dam says:

    GLUTEN FREE DIET with multi vitamin supplements and you will stay healthy for the rest of your life

  17. Ilien says:

    I am much older than you however I had some “bumps” on my hand and just got a biopsy done. Well it is RA! I was mad as hell, sad as hell and scared as hell. Reading your story has inspired me as I have been thinking about this gluten free book. Well guess what it is on order! I have no idea of what is in store for me but you give me courage and I have decided to enjoy the good days and deal with the bad ones.

  18. Melissa says:

    Jordan,

    Reading this story just gave me a bunch of hope. I am 20 and just got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 2 months ago. I have also had an another auto-immune disorder (hypothyroidsim) since I was 16. I have been taking medication for my thyroid and, although skeptical, began taking plaquenil for my RA. However I began seeing a nutritionist 3 months ago, before I got the diagnosis and have been eating gluten free since.

    I am curious, what food sensitivity tests have you taken? I just took a food sensitivity test called MRT (Mediator release test) and am following the LEAP diet plan that has come with it. I have found that some days I feel really great, but there is still something that I am eating that is just killing the entire plan. Not sure what it is yet.

    I know that I still have a long road to go. I some days feel relief from all of my symptoms and other days feel horrible, not even able to squeeze shampoo like you. However I know that if you could go through all of that, I will make it as well.

    If you could give me any feedback as to what test you have taken and what you felt helped the most, that would be awesome!
    Thanks a bunch for the inspiration to stay strict on my diet.

    Yours in Health,
    Melissa Godowski

    • nina says:

      Hi Melissa! Sounds like you are on the right track! Gluten, diary and sugar are definite game changers for most people. My son had many types of allergy tests, and but NAET seemed to work the best for him. If you are able to see a Naturopathic Doctor, you may find that “leaky gut” / “candida” is often involved. There are simple tests for both. Anyway, most often, once the gut is healed, a lot of food allergies disappear. At one point my son had so, so many food sensitivities, allergies and hives, it was just terrible. Once his gut was healed he can eat just about anything, but as a standard no gluten and no dairy. One of the keys to getting better is determining what the underlying causes are of the RA? Food sensitivities, infection, leaky gut, etc. can all play a part. If you can find a good N.D. in your area to work with your Rheumatologist, that might be very helpful. There are actually natural/herbal immune suppressants. :) We have a totally awesome N.D. whose area of expertise is in arthritis. We love, love, love him! Check out this book, An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide Arthritis Reverse the Underlying Causes of Arthritis with Clinically Proven Alternative Therapies, by Dr. Eugene Zampieron, N.D.

      Keep me posted on your progress!

      Nina

  19. Rose says:

    Jordan. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy that you found your healing. I too was diagnosed with this awful disease, but at age 14. I am now a very YOUNG fifty-one, and in the past few years things have started getting pretty unbearable. Doctors seem to have a one-tracked mind, and are hell-bent on pushing those dangerous meds. So I have resolved to never used the prescribed meds, but to seek natural healing and healthy nutritional solutions. Although, I am in need of an inexpensive, experienced coach. I pray you well, and hope that you will continue to thrive and live in good health.

    • nina says:

      Rose, thank you so much for the kind words! Jordan does continue to thrive and live in great health! He is very blessed! The body can do wonders, once it is given the chance!

  20. Drew Purvis says:

    Awesome story, and a great inspiration. I’m 26, and have had RA for 7 years, and the onset was very much like yours, just started in a knuckle, then spread some, then suddenly exploded all over after a few weeks. I tried the medication route first, mostly out of fear and ignorance, (methotrexate, Enbrel, Humira, Cymzia for a few weeks, then just quit). Finally, I heard of nutritional testing with the muscle test and such, and actually found someone in Jackson, Mississippi that did it, which was kind of a miracle in itself. They found that I was sensitive to wheat and dairy, and maybe oats, corn and rye. I’ve been staying off those for about a week and taking the supplements they said my body wanted, and waiting for the results. :) I’m so glad your story worked out, I and I feel inspired that it worked for you, maybe that means it’ll work for me. Something about the 7 year mark maybe haha It certainly is a transformative journey, and I hope that I am nearing the end of this phase of it and going into the healthier phase now! I’m 5’9 120 lbs and once I get my hands, wrists and foot back in order I hope to put on the muscle too finally! haha These things maybe do happen for a reason. I hope I have a story to tell kinda like yours someday. Thanks again for posting, and God bless. –Drew

    • nina says:

      Drew, I am sure you will have a great story too! It sounds like you are on the right track. Sometimes an “underlying infection” is a big cause of RA too, along with tummy problems such as “leaky gut”. It is very empowering to find out the cause, rather than just treat a symptom!
      Nina :)

  21. Ivy says:

    This really encouraged me. I’m eighteen and just recently have been dealing with rheumatoid arthritis for three months now…
    I haven’t been checked by a doctor yet but I have all of those symptoms and struggles you mentioned. I can barely get up in the mornings and I walk like I’m 80.
    Living on my own has been a real problem with eating because we’ve been so broke. I never had a bad eating habit and I always ate healthy. It just runs in my family. I’ve been going through alot of depression too because I’m an artist and drawing is my passion. but even that hurts my hands and wrists now. :(
    I think its just time to quit the dairy stuff. its wrecking my body severely… </3
    Thank you for this article though. It gave me some perspective on my situation.

  22. Sean says:

    Glad you found your answers! I’ve felt the pain too and my story echoes your own -

    http://www.arthritisforum.org.uk/stories/storysean.html

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