I am fighting back against Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) with natural foods, stress reduction, and by embracing my inner flower child (making everything from scratch, and eating all those yummy natural foods)in addition to my medications. All of this is carefully balanced with my busy life as a homeschooling single mom of 2 boys, the exhaustion that RA brings, and a very limited budget. I would like to share my journey with you, so that it may benefit you as well, or give you a better understanding of what it is to fight this disease.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Victory!

After beginning this new approach nearly 2 months ago, I am beginning to see some very encouraging results, which is so very exciting!  After finally feeling like my "normal" self for a full week, yesterday I lowered my prednisone dose by 25%.  So far, I am feeling a little more pain, but it might be caused by the weather change we are seeing here today.  It is still a vast improvement from the last several months.  Both my back and my RA pain are under control enough that I can walk like a normal person, rather than looking like I am 100 years old.  I can climb a flight of stairs without stopping, and without having to drag myself up using the railing.  I am able to sleep a full night without waking up because of the pain after just a few hours, and I feel rested when I wake up.  I made it through the whole week without having to take naps to get through the day.  I can stand up without help, and I am able to think without the pain being in the forefront of my mind.  Yes, I am still in constant pain, but It is at a manageable level. I still have to be careful not to overdo it, to not get stressed out, and keep following my plan, or else I do notice the pain creeping back up, but I am so thankful to be feeling so much better!

This last flare-up of pain and inflammation has lasted a long time and made my life very difficult.  In October, my rheumatologist doubled my dose of prednisone (10mg/day up from 5).  At the time, she said if I didn't see improvement in a week, I would have to add Celebrex.  I am very hesitant to try yet another anti-inflammatory, especially one that has gotten some bad press in recent years.  The rheumatologist visit happened that same day (but before) my sit down discussion with the chiropractor, and helped me make the decision to try to treat this with lifestyle changes rather than just more medications.  I was not feeling better after a week, but by 2 weeks, I was starting to improve very slowly.  When I called, she told me to continue taking the higher dose of prednisone until I felt "like myself", and then to gradually taper the dose over a month.  It took longer than I had hoped, and the improvement was very gradual, with several setbacks, but I am on my way to better health and am convinced I am on the right path.

I didn't change everything at once.  I don't hold myself to perfection, and I am not setting impossible goals. With each change, I take the time to evaluate if I am noticing any changes, and I am giving myself permission to fail, as long as I get back up again afterward.  I am not following a plan created by someone else, I am finding my own way, and so far I have to say it is a success.

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