Well folks I regaled you with my story of getting MRI scans done about a month ago and promised to fill you in on what the outcomes were. But before I get there, let’s back up a little and do a quick recap.
I was diagnosed with RA back in January of 2008 (? I am so bad with dates) and the rheumatologist I went to gave me a prescription for three types of drugs and a “welcome to your life” type of speech about how this doesn’t just go away and I will have to deal with this for pretty much ever. Under the supportive guidance of my sister and the rest of my family I started doing research about alternative therapies. I saw naturopaths, Ayurvedic doctors, herbalists, the whole mess. Basically, although the treatments would be different they all had the same message; I was far too young to start taking such high doses of medication. The alternative medical field said to keep the faith, make some changes, and that change was possible. In a month I went back to the rheumatologist and asked her why she was even sure that I had RA, what did she think about diet and lifestyle choices and how they could have influenced my health. She did not have many good answers. She basically said that RA is diagnosed based on a list of symptoms, once you have x out of x amount, you have RA. I told her that I was not ready to take the medication and she said that although she did not agree with my decision I could still come to her for monitoring. I never went back.
Time passed. I made some changes, for a while I was trying to eat only raw food. I stopped drinking alcohol. I was going to hot yoga classes every day. A naturopath entered the picture. Things were seemingly improving and then everything just kind of fell apart. I graduated from university, I moved to Toronto, I had to work two jobs to pay the rent and I started to hurt. A lot! I had frequent flare ups (the kind when putting on clothes takes about 30 minutes and some tears), night sweats, crazy irritability, etc. I remedied this with continuing to work two extremely physically demanding jobs and drinking a lot. It was pretty bad.
In April of 2009 I got hired at the nine to five I have now and things again started to get better. I did not have as much physical or emotional stress. After three months I had benefits and again started to see a naturopath (I really need to write a post about my experiences with naturopaths at some point because I have a lot to say about them). I also received a rather large tax refund and spent most of that money on alternative therapies, organic food, and an Ayurvedic doctor. But I just could not commit to anything. I tried elimination diets, and supplements, and chants (seriously), and I just did not have the will power to really take it all on. So for about 6 months or so nothing was really going on. I would get flare ups occasionally but they would go away in a day or two and most of the time the pain was manageable without any pain killers.
Things pretty much went up and down like that until about 6 months ago when I decided to go back to a rheumatologist I had already worked with for a few months previously and really figure out what the heck was going on. We worked together to do direct injections into the most painful joints (hot dog! Do those ever work!) and she recommended a battery of tests to really see what is going on. We did blood work at least three times, ultrasounds, MRIs and finally three weeks ago we had a picture of what was going on inside.
This has turned out to be much longer than expected so tune in tomorrow for the exciting conlusion of “Xenia vs. RA: The Battle Continues”