By: Robyn Grow
I’d like to share what I have learned through my experience with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several years ago I began having soreness in my inner-thigh area. At first I thought that I had somehow pulled a muscle because I had been squatting down a lot as I was working with the first-graders that I teach. I decided that I was out of shape and that I should workout more to get rid of the soreness. The pain progressed to the extent that I had sharp pain radiating down my leg, sometimes both legs. I could not stand on one leg (like when I was putting on a shoe). I went to my regular physician’s assistant and was told that nothing was wrong and that people have aches and pains.
Later I noticed that my hands and feet began to feel as if they had been slammed in a door. I went to a rheumatologist and found that I had both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The x-rays also concluded that I had osteitis pubis (a side effect of RA and osteo attacking my pubic joint). I began needing to use a cane to walk on most days because the pain seemed to be weight bearing. I felt like I was walking around with some kind of fracture (or sciatic nerve down both legs). I had the pain all of the time. I could no longer teach, and I began to feel like my quality of life was slipping away from me. I began visiting an endless succession of doctors and enduring the usual required MRI, X-rays and CAT scans. All the experts agreed that I had a problem, but they didn’t have any healing solutions for me. Instead, they only offered me drugs, mostly biologics (which is mild form chemo) like Methotrexate and steroid injections. Since I am in my early 50’s, these drugs were scary for me because of the long-term dangers associated with them. I chose to take a daily antibiotic (hydroxichloriquin) that kept the rheumatoid under better control and gave me more energy to focus on walking normally again.
I spoke with a physiologist, and she told me that every pound that I lose would take 6-8 pounds of pressure off of my joints. I thought to myself, “That sounds like an easy way to lift some of the immense pain that I am feeling.” So, I began a journey to feel better by losing 30 pounds. Losing 30 pounds is equivalent to 180 pounds of pressure off of my aching joints. The weight-loss did lift some of the pain, however I was still in jeopardy of losing my ability to walk as the pain was still there every time I stood, walked or tried to lift anything.
I went the full route in using homeopathic remedies. Each time I tried a new combination, I stuck to it for 2-3 months. I never really felt like there was any cure or relief in using any of them. I also used several of the miracle cures, drinks, and concoctions. Most didn’t help, and some of them even made me very ill. Through research I learned that if you have a serious condition, some homeopathics can actually block your prescribed medications, so natural remedies should be run by the prescribing doctor first. After about a year and a half of this, the only natural remedies that proved helpful to me were turmeric and ginger.