LOU, rheumatoid arthritis

February 16, 1995 was my first episode with any type of Arthritis. I was diagnosed with pseudo gout. Only one finger was involved - it was very painful red and swollen. I was started on Naproxen for the inflammation. In June 1995 my general practitioner referred me to a Rheumatologist. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I was put on Oruvail. I did fairly well until March 1996 when I started a horrendous flair. I received a Celestone injection with the use of Darvocet which did little to reduce the pain. I felt good for three days after the injection then back to the terrible pain. The next month, April 1996, I was started on prednisone full time with little relief. In May 1996 I was given methotrexate and in June the methotrexate was increased. I was seeing hair loss and a red rash all over my lower legs as well as my stomach. By November 1996 my eye sight was involved and I was becoming incontinent.

By January of 1997 I was in a wheel chair 80% of the time as my hands were too weak to use a cane or crutches, my weight had increased 40 pounds and I was in terrible pain and miserable all the time. Nights were a nightmare. I could not lie down so I slept in a chair with my legs propped up in another chair. I had pillows under both arms as this helped relieve the pain in my shoulders. My digestive tract was all messed up because of all the medications I was taking. I was in such a depressed state I scared myself and my family. I could not remember much as the brain fog was intense.

In April 1997 the methotrexate was increased again with another Celestone injection. Nodules started showing up all over my wrists, elbows and hands. The nodules were quite painful on their own. When I asked my Rheumatologist about the nodules he said "I don't do nodules".

I asked my GP about the nodules and he said they were arthritis-related except for one on my right wrist which he said it was a ganglion cyst. June 1997 was the last time I saw that Rheumatologist. When I asked him if there was anything else he could do to help me, he told me "I will try and keep you as comfortable as I can as your disease progresses."

That was around the time I heard about the antibiotic protocol. It took me 4 months to find a doctor who was willing to treat me with antibiotics. I started on October 1, 1997 with minocycline, 200 mg Monday Wednesday and Friday and I haven't looked back. By the last of November I put my wheelchair in the closet.

In December I was still stiff in the mornings but feeling pretty good. By January 1998 the nodules were going away including the ganglion cyst. Here it is, April 1998, and I feel great. I have been riding my bicycle, practicing my golf swing, still can't play golf, but never could (grin) and working in the garden. I still have arthritis - my left hand is still swollen in the mornings and I have a bad time with the reflux, but, all in all, I feel like a person who has come back to this wonderful life.

I want to thank Chris, Steve, Ethel, Lisbeth, Dr. Chiu and most of all Dr Brown, who was the man who went against the medical establishment and has helped us all.

Lou Strout

You can reach me at l.strout@mchsi.com

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