Overall, I like to think I have always been a healthy person but my early twenties, would disagree as they consisted of working in kitchens, smoking half a pack a day, and occasionally drinking more Jim Beam then I’d like to admit but those stories are for another day. I have always been interested in healthy foods, nutrition, and movement. I was diagnosed with my second autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in June 2014 (my fist autoimmune disease, Vitiligo was diagnosed when I was sixteen years old). Upon being diagnosed with Hashimoto's I knew something had to change, so I adopted a gluten-free and dairy-free diet in hopes of reducing inflammation in my body. Those two dietary changes impacted my healing drastically. Within two months, I was feeling the best I had felt in years. I no longer felt nauseous after eating dairy, my stomach bloat was minimal, I slept better, had more energy, and lost excess body weight. I truly did not realize how bad I felt until I made these changes.
Fast forward to 2019, I gave birth to my second child in February and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in June. At first, I thought my symptoms were simply related to the postpartum period. After the slow onset of my symptoms, my pain started to increase drastically while migrating to almost every joint in my body. I experienced stiffness, tenderness, loss of range of motion and some swelling. The moment I knew there was something more serious going on was when I went to pick up my son in the middle of the night to nurse him. As I was bending over his crib to pick him up, my right shoulder completely locked up almost causing me to drop him.
Upon being diagnosed with RA by my family physician, it was time to see a specialist. And like typical conventional medicine which focuses on fixing the symptoms, they wanted me to go on medicine which can have some very intense side effects. Being the holistic person I am, I wanted to take a different approach. I continued my gluten-free and dairy-free diet but kicked it up a notch. I have adopted a lifestyle that is not only gluten-free and dairy-free, but strives to be legume-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free as well. In addition, I focus on organic foods (aside from when I go out to eat) and avoid preservatives.
So, how do I feel today?
I am constantly telling people how much better I feel compared to when I was first diagnosed with both Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis. I do not take medication for my RA but I do for my Hashimoto’s. My fingers and my toes will have the occasional stiffness and pain. The mornings are the hardest but I gain more range of motion as the day moves on. By the end of the day, my feet start to stiffen up and sometimes swell. Although I don’t consider myself 100% healed, and there’s a bit of trial and error, I have a pretty good grasp what is helping me.