The title of this post is an inside joke in our house.
A long time ago, Jim and I drove from Kansas City to see my family in Springfield, Mo. We wanted to go to our old favorite Chinese restaurant and we had not been there in years. We drove to the site and it was … a bowling alley. We then went to look for another favorite restaurant and it was closed. He turned to me and shrugged, “Oh well. Things change.” It seemed hysterically funny at the time. And so we now say that whenever huge upheaval happens. We work through our fear and say, “Things change.” It still makes us laugh even in the worst situations because it is such a low-key thing to say amid high drama.
Anyway, things have DEFINITELY changed in our house. In early February, I got sick. And I firmly believed it was medication that I took for RA that made me sick. I looked up the side effects of the drug and I was having the majority of them, with the website grimly warning to “call your doctor if you experience any of these side effects.” So I did. In the meantime the symptoms started feeling more viral than drug-induced. My doctor agreed it was probably viral. I went to my primary care doctor (actually a substitute because my doc had called in sick that day … really.) and that doctor also said it was probably viral since I was still sick days later. I was given some codeine cough syrup and an inhaler to ease wheezing and sent on my way. (Note: I have scarring from a previous lung condition that when I get sick causes wheezing. And I tend to panic when I get a respiratory infection because of this. Yay, me).
Anyway, I went home and decided to read more about RA. Mind you, I was diagnosed with this condition in 2008, and I can tell you the ins and outs of any and all medication associated with rheumatoid arthritis. And I’m not in my 70s. I am in my mid-40s with this condition. I also am a breast cancer survivor, with that diagnosis occurring at age 36. Clearly, I’ve got an inflammatory thing happening in my body. Never once did I give any consideration to what my diet meant to any of this, outside of salmon, which I thought was good for me, and not drinking alcohol (I quit that June 19, 2011). In my world, though, pills prescribed by my doctors still existed to solve problems. And that was my firm belief for decades.
I went to Dr. Google to learn more information about my condition. Buried in the search was a link to a woman talking about her rheumatoid arthritis and changing her diet under a plan devised by Dr. John McDougall, whose work focuses on how food affects health.
So I emailed Dr. McDougall. It was a Saturday afternoon. I received an email back a few hours later from him with links to more information for my own research. It felt like I had opened a window to let in fresh air for the first time in my life. So much started to make sense about my pain, the issues I had, and how my medications might not be working for me in the long term.
So I’m now on the plant-based, whole foods diet bandwagon. No meat, fish, dairy, processed foods or added oils of any kind. What’s left? A whole assortment of fantastic food, which you can read about here, here and here. This is not any kind of paid endorsement for any of these people, and I’m not saying all medicine is bad. This is simply something I’m doing on my own, and I want to see whether I can live pain free and medication free. That’s the goal. So far, so good.
There are many sites that are way more knowledgeable than this one about health and nutrition, and if you have medical issues, then I suggest you research and even reach out to the experts. They really will write you back and help you learn a lot more. I will post about my progress and also write about new things I learn as I go along.
Finally, here’s a video you may be interested in for a good overview of what I’m talking about. It’s about an hour, but I highly recommend it for good insight into how to start rethinking your diet.