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Battling Rheumatoid Arthritis To Win

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When I woke up one morning in November nearly three years ago, I felt intolerable pain if I tried to move my left arm, even a little

When I woke up one morning in November nearly three years ago, I felt intolerable pain if I tried to move my left arm, even a little. Some years ago when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the rheumatologist had told me the symptoms were mild and I might, in time, even get a remission. But this new turn of events alarmed me. The symptoms weren't mild anymore. Furthermore, I already had appreciable pain in my upper body, joints and toes as well as considerable swelling and stiffness of fingers, some of which I had for sometime. After a few days, normalcy would return to my arm, for a while.

In a short month, I again experienced a similar flare-up, this time involving my right leg, which began to stiffen one day while I was walking. Soon it become too stiff and too painful to walk. That too subsided after a few days. I visited my current rheumatologist, who prescribed a medication but cautioned that it could affect my eyesight.

I hadn't forgotten the serious problem I experienced after using the medication prescribed when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. That time I wasn't warned about side effects. In about six months after its use, I got a rash on my tongue, which cracked and started bleeding. About that time I read a book by a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer, himself a doctor. He wrote that the doctors he consulted weren't of much help and he suggested avoiding some offending foods to eliminate symptoms. The most notable item was cow's milk, which I stopped drinking. While the rheumatoid arthritis still remained in my system, most of my symptoms disappeared within 48 hours.

Before I risked my eyesight, I therefore concluded, I should explore alternative therapies. But I couldn't locate any rheumatologist offering such services. The only option I had was to set out on my own and educate myself as best as possible about alternative treatments of rheumatoid arthritis. And this is what I did.

My research attracted me to a doctor-authored book which gave information, in some detail, on the treatment prescribed for a real life patients and the results achieved. The prescription included several therapies, but I was ill equipped to locate dependable facilities offering many of these services. The encouraging part was that I could, without delay, easily get started with at least one the prescribed diet.

For the first week, it consisted of watermelon only and for the next two weeks only fruits and vegetable salads all raw. That was to be followed for the next three months by a diet which consisted of 70 percent raw foods. The diet prohibited milk and milk products, sugar, red meat, wheat. caffeine and food additives. After the first three weeks were over, there was a dramatic change. The swelling, stiffness and pain were nearly 50 percent gone.

However, after this exciting improvement, I found no change as the three-month period progressed. In fact, it was getting exceedingly tough to dislodge the residual symptoms. This led me to begin acupuncture treatment. I did make some progress, but after 33 sessions I felt that the treatment had exhausted its potential. Some symptoms still remained. Meanwhile I attended a seminar where I learned that reflexology could help. When I took some treatments, it did bring considerable results. So now, after nearly two years of these self-directed treatments, I have no symptoms anywhere else in the body except some swelling and stiffness in a few fingers.

All of this, of course, meant that I had to change my life style. The unmistakable lesson I learned from the three weeks plus three months of dieting was that in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, food played a crucial role. I have, accordingly, changed my food habits. I aim to eat 50 to 60 per cent raw food daily. I don't eat sugar nor drink tea or coffee. And no processed foods except occasionally some marmalade for breakfast. I work out on a treadmill at home five days a week. Additionally, I do breathing as well as some arthritic, isometric and weight lifting exercises. And I am starting to play tennis again.

I am now 80 percent better and trying to get better still. While it isn't gone yet, the rheumatoid arthritis is at least under control. I can carry on with normal life without the fear of incapacitation which I've, temporarily, unexpectedly experienced before. The sudden incapacitating flare-ups, thankfully, are now history.

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