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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Path to Wellness with Rheumatoid Arthritis - Natural Path Day




My Path To Wellness - Initial Visit with Natural Path

I decided to see a Natural Path for an alternative to traditional western medication. I found that Enbrel worked wonders to mask the symptoms of RA, but not to cure. I've already been on Enbrel for 10 years and I really hope one day I can be medication free!  

Here's the recommended treatment plan for those who are curious:

AR-ENCAP 
a) Glucosamine sulfate - the primary substrate for the biosynthesis of proteoglycans which provide the framework for collagen and give tissue its flexibility and resilience. It also plays a role in the formation of articular surfaces, tendons, ligaments, synovial fluid, skin, bones, nails, heart valves, etc.
b) Boswellia Serrata - an herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. It causes total inhibition of the total complement pathway, and blocks formation of leukotrienes (potent pro-inflammatory substances which also cause bronchoconstriction and increased vascular permeability). 
c) Devils Claw used traditionally as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Studies have reported both anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. 
d) Prickly Ash - reported to stimulate the circulation and lymphatic system and to be effective in helping rheumatic diseases.

Vitamin D Liquid

Tumeric Capsules

ProBiotics


I'm sad to report that I kept this up for 2 months and didn't see any significant changes or improvements to my RA. 

I'm wondering if anyone else has had taken natural supplements recommended by a natural path and had better results?






Friday, March 25, 2016

Living with RA for over a Decade - Update


It's certainly been a long while since I've posted. In fact, I de-listed this blog for over a year due to hmmm... shame.  I was shameful that perhaps my potential employers would find out that I have been living with RA and preference would be given to more healthier candidates if they found my blog.

Well, the truth is - It's been over a DECADE and I'm fine ~  In fact, I'm proud.
Through this journey I've had 2 kids, am an accountant with steady employment, and volunteer to advocate for a very vulnerable sector in my community. So.. what's there to be ashamed I tell myself and am writing again tonight.

Update on RA
I've learnt that Enbrel is my best friend. It has done me no apparent harm so far and has allowed me to function and do the things I love. Though I can still find myself researching on the possible damage this drug can do, it works for me today, and has been for over a decade. So... why scare myself when I can just be at peace knowing it's the right drug that works for me.  I haven't given up on a cure though and do believe our bodies can cure itself with the right combination of diet, exercise, frame of mind, and faith. However, its easier said than done. I must admit, other priorities such as my children have taken away from my own search for this wonder cure.

RA Remission 
What I find fascinating is that my RA symptoms went away during 2 events in my life:
1. During Pregnancy
2. During Stomach Flu

During these times, I chose not to take Enbrel when due, and normally, if I miss a dose, I start feeling sore. However, both during majority of my pregnancy and other times during the stomach flu, a missed dose didn't end up with any flare ups. Its as if my anitbodies were doing what they were meant to do. Fight the flu, and subside to protect the baby. This gives me hope that my anti-bodies do know what they are doing.

Update on Kids 
If you've read my prior posts, you would know that I had conceived both of my children while on Enbrel. My kids are 5 and 3 years old this year and both are healthy.  My eldest does show more allergies than my youngest and the obvious difference I found was that I ate whatever I wanted with my second and was very cautious with my first.  - interesting....


That's it for now folks - Will write more next time. :) Keeping Shining Everyone.













Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Work Life Balance - Children, Career, Marriage, Finances, Social Life



Here I am blogging about "Work Life Balance" when its been over 5 months since my last post!

As you see, I've been consumed with the demands of life especially with my 2 young children, career, finances, social life, and marriage.  My health has been good. No complaints here. Enbrel is still working and I've decreased my dosage to twice month and quarterly check ins with my specialist.  

However, some recent economic changes has led me to ask whether to decrease or increase my work load. I think this is a question, many mothers face these days. 

On one hand lies the opportunity to advance my career objectives, gain more experience, and of course more MONEY! and yet on the other hand lies the opportunity to be present with my children to nurture, teach, and lay the foundation of their lives for their future. Many women would argue that being a SAHM would be best, while others argue that financial stability would better the family's future.  There is no right answer, but I hope some of the following articles will shed some light for you as it did for me. 

Career and Motherhood - Panel Interview
I found this video very intriguing and hopeful as it shows 4 career women balancing the life of motherhood and advancing their careers. Its no doubt though that these women all have chosen and created their own environment that works for them. Career and motherhood does not have to be mutually exclusive but can be synergistic and rewarding.

Forbes Article: Why I Have Regrets About Being a Stay At Home Mom
This article reinforced my decision to continue pursuing my career, finding quality opportunities over quantity. 

Here's a summary of some tips I have found helpful

1. Be Mindful and Present  - No matter what you are doing, whether work or play, be present. Its easy to get side tracked thinking about the "got tos", or checking emails on your smart phone. Rather make each moment count by being fully present to capture each moment with your children, friends and loved ones and the same goes with work. Blocking out time to be fully present at work will lead to better productivity and efficiency. 

2. Schedule Time to Nurture and Work on Marriage - I am no expert here, but we plan date nights once a week to nurture our marriage as well as counselling once a week to work on our marriage. I believe the best thing we can provide for our children is a good model of a healthy marriage. Also a healthy marriage will be the catalyst for healthy parenting. 

3. Take Daily Time-Outs - I thought time outs were only for kids, but we need them too! Pay attention to your mood and body. If you are getting cranky or tired, best to take a time out whether it be 2 mins or 2 hours to rejuvenate. 

4. Connect with Your Friends - With both work, marriage, and children, its easy to isolate in the busyness of life without socializing with your friends. Plan a night out with just you and your friends and have some fun! If the week is too busy, even a phone call will do wonders for your soul. 

5. Use your Village - It takes a village to raise a child! Use your resources if they are available and don't be shy to ask, whether it be parents, inlaws, siblings, or even hired help. 

6. Create a Budget - It's easy to loose sight of finances especially with all the "needs" we have raising children.  Creating a budget it self is the start to controlling finances.  

7. Connect with God - Whether you believe or not, I think God is with us, guiding our circumstances, performing miracles, and blessing us along our journey.  Taking time outs to pray and/or connecting in your special way with God brings peace, guidance, assurance, and hope. 

8. Connect with Yourself - Its easy to get consumed with the demands of work, children, spouse, and leave yourself out. Your needs are just as valid and important.  Take time to nurture your own body, mind and spirit.  


I'd love to hear more, leave me your thoughts.....

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Health Update - Maternity

Just noticed I've been so busy with the kids I haven't even had time to post!

My RA overall has been under control with Enbrel and thank God it still works. However, My rheumatologist suggested during my last visit that we add on another medication since I complained of neck stiffness but I declined as I know  I would be fine if I had taken my Enbrel dose. It's just I'm breast feeding and though my specialist suggested that Erika is old enough to digest the medication and not be affected by it; my gut just tells me the less is better.  Of course she and my 3 year old need a mobile healthy mom, so it's a fine balancing act.  As for yoga and excersize, I haven't made time to go and regret not taking these steps of self care more seriously.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Spot Light on Rheumatoid Arthritis Research for Cause and Treatment and Cure






Recently there seems to be more exposure and spotlight on Rheumatoid Arthritis Research.

1. In June of this year, more than 14,000 people from over 110 countries gathered in Madrid, Spain to attend the largest rheumatology event in Europe, the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR 2013). 

2.  New York Times featured a  Three Part Q & A on Rheumatoid Arthritis

Both articles seem to highlight the importance of taking our medications and the effectiveness of biologics. Many RA patients also commented on Diet and Exercise as crucial steps to better health and maintaining the disease. 


PTSD & Rheumatoid Arthritis

What I failed to see but am quite positive is that there is a positive correlation between PTSD and RA.

Here are a couple of studies I found online:
A)  http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/72/5/481.short?rss=1
B)  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acr.21778/abstract


My Own Journey - Healing Process

I visited my Rheumatologist today to review my blood work. He was happy to see that my Rheumatoid Factor has decreased from 400 to 30!!! 

Currently I take my Enbrel on an as needed basis (1 - 2 / month), avoid foods that I'm apparently allergic too, but did not know (gluten, mushrooms, eggs), bikram yoga as my form of exercise and meditation.  In addition, I've been through multiple counselling sessions to heal my traumatic memories using EMDR, CBT, and grounding exercises.  - One of the keys to my healing I believe is calming my nerves literally, by practicing deep breathing, working through my triggers, and listening to my self better.  An area that is not yet spoken of in these recent discussions. Perhaps its still an area the light needs to shine on for most.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Product Review: Safety First Espresso Swing Gate - Terrible!


I bought the Safety First Espresso Swing Gate from Walmart for $74.88 thinking to spend a bit more and invest in something safe and esthetically nice for our home.

However, after drilling holes in my walls and banister, I realized that one of the bolts to the gate had a manufacturer defect and didn't fit properly causing the gate to warp.  - See below - I exchanged for another one.

My husband installed it this time and had the SAME problem.

The gate is quite flimsy and the hardware a terrible match - I wouldn't trust this product.

Frankly most items I've used from the brand Safety First has been quite disappointing other than their nail clipper.






Saturday, July 6, 2013

Finding Cause and Cure for RA (cont.) - Bikram Yoga ?


 


Back Ground: What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) is an autoimmune disease where a person's immune system attacks itself, specifically the synovial fluid in the joints, causing inflammation, stiffness, and in most severe cases immobility and deformity.

What is the Cause?

Research shows that the cause of RA is UNKNOWN.  However, I've done my own personal research, and have compared my findings to my own personal life events, environment, and triggers.  This is my own conclusion.

I believe RA roots from trauma. When we experience trauma, our nervous system automatically responds and tells our brain & body to either 1. Fight, 2. Flight or 3. Freeze. (further reading: Waking the Tiger, by Peter Levine, Phd)  However, unlike animals who shake out the trauma, most humans are left still traumatized inside. We can continue our life as if nothing happened, yet easily find ourselves living in a hyperactive life full of stress as if it is our norm (our own familiarity). This hyperactivity speeds up our immune system with it, combined with the excess stress, our immune system begins to attack itself. It also then begins to attack familiar objects as if they were foreign and can manifest itself into "allergies". 

A book titled "When the Body Says No" by Gabor Mate, suggests that internalized stress and repressed feelings, will manifest itself into illnesses, one of so called mentioned, Rheumatoid Arthritis. See: Pychoneuroimmunology Post

Steps to Healing...

I believe the key to healing involves integrating our mind, body and spirit, allowing God to breath "peace and stillness" into every living cell that still shouts  "HELP".   In addition, loving ourselves enough to eat healthy, sleep at least 8 hours a day, drink 6-8 glasses of water and recognizing our own limits. 

Since I've discovered my own allergies "gluten & eggs", (see: Natural Path Allergy Test Report Post), diet plays a huge roll, eliminating foods that causes further inflammation.

Finally I have been doing bikram yoga once a week for the past 5 weeks. In the heat, as my heart races, I am at the same time, STILL, telling myself that I am safe. My body becomes stronger, my joints more flexible and mobile, and best of all, my mind at peace.  During the savasna pose (rests), I lie in stillness, thanking God and myself for every breath I take.

It's been 5 weeks since I've taken my enbrel injection. Do I flare? .... Sure I do. I notice joint stiffness when I burn the candles on both ends, staying up late night and waking early to care for my toddler and my 5 month old baby. However, I feel better after a yoga class, and the joints that hurt the night before are better the next day.

I will keep you posted and if truly Bikram Yoga will help enough that I can be drug free and since I still breast feed, my baby drug free too.