LOCATION: North Ryde, NSW
"It was miraculous"
I am sixty years old and a rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis sufferer. Three and a half years ago, the pain of arthritis was in all my joints, my back, my toes, just everywhere. This meant I was taking the strongest painkillers available, but I was still in pain, just zombie-like. Every month I filled up to 10 prescriptions for depression (obviously); for pain; for high blood pressure for the arthritis etc. I was stooped and hunched up, my legs would give way, and often I could not walk at all. Trying to sleep was a nightmare as my legs screamed in pain and if I got to sleep, I'd often wake up unable to move due to my body being locked in a spasm.
During the day, my hands would spasm into claws. I found my specialist particularly unsympathetic: I was old, I was overweight and I had lost the genetic lottery. I should just shut up and accept it. One day, as I struggled to dress and was in tears about the fact that going to the lavatory unaided was not going to be a reality for too much longer, as well as the promised wheel chair was in the wings, I realised that I didn't want to live any more. I didn't want to keep putting the poisons into my body that medicine dictated and I didn't want any more injections into my joints. I wanted to be able to walk upright and be able to just walk every day. I hated being in pain. I hated being old. And strangely I got angry. Really angry.
That anger motivated me to do some research into alternative ways of treating arthritis. The thing I kept coming up against was exercise, but how could I do that? I couldn't even walk some days. I discovered the local hospital had aqua aerobics for people with my condition. I was assessed and began going. Things slowly improved. Then I discovered that cutting out foods that are inflammatory helped me too - things like sugar and yeast, and I began to lose weight.
began to move more easily. My research told me that building up the muscles around my joints would help me function. After a year of water exercise, I joined a gym and began lifting weights. I was still stooped over and in pain, but getting better. I got a trainer who understood the restrictions I had with movement. She wrote programs around my disabilities and I trained 5 days a week.
After 6 months I was off ALL medication, and my pain was all but gone. My blood pressure normal, my depression gone, my weight normal. I still train 5 days a week, but now I call myself an athlete. I stand straight and tall. And just to show off... bench press 55kgs, dead lift 75kg and (lat) pull down 110kgs. I am strong, and fit. I no longer consider myself disabled. I recently read the blog of one of the guys I train with (yes, I work out with the men in the gym) and he described the old woman bent over the weights bench. That WAS me in the beginning.
BUT - and there is always a but. Six months ago my hands started to go bad again. They were not spasming like before, but they were constantly very painful. The slightest touch was agony. It is like having red hot needles drilling into your joints every minute. My sleep was bad again and I was waking constantly with the pain. I thought maybe it was lifting weights damaging the already very damaged joints.but I could not, and would not, stop lifting weights.
Then one day recently, I saw a display for Rose-Hip Vital. What the hell. I bought the jar and started. It was miraculous - but then I should be getting used to miracles in my life! My hands are OK. They are a bit stiff still and they will always be deformed, but the pain has gone. I'm finding it hard to believe, but it is what it is. I am sleeping through the night again, not waking with pain.
I did the Farmers walk at the gym this morning (carrying a 25kg weight in each hand while walking up and down) and I did not feel like crying at the end. I had no hand pain at the end. I have not changed anything (because what I am doing for my health is so right for me) apart from adding the Rose-Hip Vital. I think it is the final tool in my fight against this disease that three years ago was ending my life. And I no longer see doctors.