My name is Dave, I've lived in Japan for the last 12 years, I've had symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for the last three years. When the disease was at it's worst it seemed as if I could get injured from walking quite easily. I say injured because that's the way it seemed, I'd walk a little more than usual and my ankle or knee would swell so that the next day I couldn't walk on it. I also had swelling in my wrists, shoulders and elbows but these didn't prevent me from going places and weren't the more painful joints. I spent a lot of nights awake because pain wouldn't let me sleep and swelling was always worst at night. In despair, I associated my RA with every flaky reason imaginable.
Waking up was miserable; my body seemed to punish me for sleeping. Everyday that achy feeling was depressing. My young, 40-year-old body didn't seem like it was going to make it much longer. It was really hard for me to face my kids. I went to a rheumatologist and got the medicines that they usually prescribe for RA. From the first time I read the disclaimers on the bottles of Sulfalazine, Celebrex and Predisone that I got from a rheumatologist I knew the conventional treatment wasn't a road that I was willing to go down. I didn't want to die one night because of the drugs lowered my immune system's ability to fight infections and disease. THANK GOD FOR THAT INSPIRATION.
I read a lot of books on health and arthritis and tried fasting. Fasting is still one of the best painkillers that I've found in my fight against rheumatoid arthritis. By the third day, my swelling always subsided. People always asked me "isn't fasting difficult?" and I never found it to be. Reintroducing the body to food is excruciating if you don't do it right, because you really have to go against your inclination to gorge yourself and make up for all the food you didn't eat and rather very slowly eat small amounts of fruit and other foods that are agreeable to the body.
I spent a year unable to work because I didn't feel that I could guarantee to any employer that I would be able to consistently go to work. During this time I fasted regularly and my weight dropped to the same as it was in high school. I also had the depression that commonly is associated with RA.
Detoxification is a major theme in fasting and healing. A detoxifying diet has also helped me a lot in my recovery. I don't think I would have had the success that I had so far if I hadn't done a lot of work with my diet. My condition improved with a steady vegetarian diet that also didn't include bread or any flour products and I was able to work again but it was stressful because I'd still have the odd day where I my ankle would swell and I couldn't walk. On one of these nights where sleep wouldn't come, I found on the Internet information about the Antibiotic Protocol (AP) and how it has helped others with the same symptoms that I had.
I immediately became obsessed with wanting to try this method of treating my RA. I found a doctor who was reluctant to prescribe minocycline and almost immediately had positive results. Soon after starting the treatment with a doctor he informed me that Japanese law prevented him from prescribing the small amount of minocycline that I needed on a regular basis. I again turned to the Internet and found alternate sources for the minocycline and continued to treat myself.
I really feared losing my job because of my occasional flares of swelling but my feet are reliable again. I'm not out of the woods yet but I have had days of complete remission, and I've also been able to return to working out which I enjoy immensely. I can go hiking with my kids and they no longer see me crawling around the house. Crawling around the house - yes, that used to be an all too regular thing. I think I have a life ahead of me, I used to think of a really miserable future for myself before. I remember trying to figure out how I could get on some disability program.
I now feel as if I can keep my RA at bay with minocycline and diet. I haven't suffered from the depression. I have been able to return to the gym and do things that I thought I'd never do again. I can swim a kilometer and ride my bike 30 kilometers - I never felt like walking around the block when RA was rampant in my body. I still don't have the range of motion that I'd like to have in my knees and elbows but I hope to continue improving.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who have posted their experiences on the internet. Doctors and rheumatologist don't seem to be interested in solving the problem; they like to see their patients regularly. Pharmaceuticals seemed diametrically opposed to a solution like AP; it has no place in their bottom line.
What keeps it at bay for me:
Minocycline 100 mg MWF (From 6/2001)
Moducare, 3 times daily and more when necessary
More green leafy vegetables, less red meat
Good multivitamins, daily
Salmon Oil, daily
SAMe (for PMA or mood elevation), daily
Psyllium husk powder with Hydrated Bentonite in banana juice every morning: www.transformyourhealth.com
Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM
Lots of sliced ginger (easy to find in Japan or sushi bars)
Only fruit in the morning to help the digestive system rest
No raw fish
Sauna, steam or hot baths
(Natural hot springs when available have a very positive effect for me due to the minerals)
Massage administered by a loving wife really helps detoxify the body
One 200 mg Ibuprofen when everything else fails
You can reach me at DaveTKO@eos.ocn.ne.jp