It all started for me mid-1988. I was doing a lot of running (training for a marathon), and I started to get a lot of swelling and soreness behind my right knee. After an arthroscopy and subsequent tests, I was initially diagnosed with inflammatory mono-arthritis. I'd also had a couple of very painful attacks in my shoulders. After more tests which revealed a relatively high rheumatoid factor and an elevated sedimentation rate, my diagnosis was upgraded to rheumatoid arthritis. At that stage I knew very little about the disease and what I was in for - I would find out soon enough.
My rheumatologist started me off taking some NSAIDS, and after a cortisone injection, my knee eventually cleared up. By this time it had spread to my fingers, wrists and, to a lesser extent, my feet. I can remember some mornings having to soak my hands in hot water to help straighten out my fingers and get them mobile. As the realization set in that this disease was robbing me of more and more of my life, depression and constant mood swings became the norm. I was unable to pursue most of my sport/leisure activities, and playing my guitar became virtually impossible.
I then went on to stronger drugs like plaquenil, then methotrexate. X-rays showed deterioration in some hand and toe joints, and it became fairly obvious to me that the drugs I'd been taking were not really doing anything to improve my overall condition. In fact, if anything, it was getting worse.
I've always believed in natural alternative medicine, so over the years I've tried just about everything going with a small amount of success. I found acupuncture did relieve the pain quite a bit.
In September 1994, I wasn't happy taking the stronger drugs, so I took myself off all medication apart from aspirin. At this stage I'd lost faith in what my rheumatologist had to offer me (more drugs and no hope), so I haven't been back to him since. Instead, with the support of my holistic doctor, I pursued a healthy lifestyle which included a radical change of diet (virtually vegetarian), plenty of exercise (mainly swimming), and no alcohol. I lost about 22 Kgs. over about seven months, which concerned my friends and family. I was very single minded about taking responsibility for my own health because at that state, I realized no one else could help me.
It was almost as if fate had stepped in because in March 1995, whilst browsing through a bookstore, I stumbled across the book which has changed my life - Dr. Brown's The Arthritis Breakthrough. As soon as I read the book, I knew that this was the treatment that would get me well. It was a very emotional and exciting time because at last there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I immediately rang The Road Back Foundation and received all the protocols and relevant information, then traveled to Melbourne to see one of the doctors in Australia who was practicing this therapy at that time. I started treatment in May 1995.
The results speak for themselves. My overall discomfort/pain levels from all the affected joints (about 12 when I started therapy) have improved - I'd say 70%. The only medication I take now is one 200 mg. tablet of Nutrofen per day in conjunction with fish oils, vitamins E and C, acidophilus powder and antioxidants. My last lot of test results showed the rheumatoid factor within normal limits and all other results indicating that, clinically, I'm in remission. I still have some discomfort in about five joints, but it is slowly but surely dissipating. Psychologically I'm feeling the best I can remember for many years. What Dr. Brown says in his book about depression and mood swings being symptoms of the disease rings very true. There have been times when it had been pretty tough, but my discipline and patience have never faltered because I know what the reward will be at the end - freedom from this insidious disease - and to know what the alternative is, made it a pretty easy choice as to which path to follow.
This treatment has given me a new lease on life and a different attitude towards a lot of things. I'm starting to participate in activities like tennis I haven't been able to in years. One of the most important factors about getting well is that I feel good about myself again. RA is the "Grand Thief" - it will rob you of your self-esteem, dignity, pride and life's energy. I implore anybody who has any doubts about whether to embark on this antibiotic treatment or not for their RA to "Just Do It" - it works! I get quite angry when I think that the original book, The Road Back, was published about the same time as the onset of my RA (1988) - that's eight years ago! And then it was only good fortune that I found the book, The Arthritis Breakthrough. Why couldn't I have found out about it earlier? It's unfortunate that so many people have to suffer because of, what appears to me, to be a lack of support and acknowledgement (by a self- serving medical establishment) for a treatment which has proved beyond any doubt to address and even eradicate the infectious cause of rheumatoid arthritis. We all owe Dr. Brown our deepest gratitude for his courageous work, and our thanks and support to The Road Back Foundation for continuing to spread his gospel.
Phone: Western Australia 61 (08) 9841 3516
You can also contact me at Kimlofts@fullcomp.com.au