HELPING YOU FIND AN EXIT STRATEGY
My goal is to weed through the available peer-review and provide you with a synopsis — the pertinent information that you and your family should be aware of if you value your health / their health (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few examples of hundreds). And because the starting point for solving chronic health issues, getting out of pain, and getting your life back is essentially the same (only because the causes of most ARE THE SAME AS WELL, I have also provided you with A GENERIC BLUEPRINT for getting there — an “exit strategy” if you will.
Why is having an exit strategy so important when it comes to your healthcare? As the old cliche says, a failure to plan is planning to fail. If you follow the pack (i.e. do exactly what your doctor tells you to do), you’ll never be anything more than what Corporate America (the Pharmaceutical Industry included) sees you as —- a commodity —- a dollar sign —- a gold mine. To them, a chronically sick public is the goose that’s perpetually laying golden eggs.
Think about the importance of exit strategies in terms of our national involvement in the wars we’ve fought since the SECOND WORLD WAR. With today’s technology, it’s downright easy to go into a country, blow things up, kill people, and generally be destructive on every level. But having a valid / effective exit strategy — that’s much more difficult. It’s likewise true in the medical field. It’s easy to run lots of tests and chase symptoms by by prescribing drugs or performing unnecessary surgeries (HERE). But getting off the MEDICAL-MERRY-GO-ROUND; that’s the real challenge. And unfortunately, it’s not something your doctor can do for you. In fact, don’t be surprised if your doctor and your family / closest friends are against you even trying (HERE). The truth is, if you want to enjoy life as you get older (or for that matter, now), you’ll have to knuckle down and do it yourself.
Is it hard? For awhile it may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. But believe me when I tell you it gets easier. the following is an interview / testimonial from Carol. Carol saw her health and quality of life slipping away as she was diagnosed with SEVERAL AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, including RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, SCLERODERMA (an autoimmune disease that essentially causes your entire body, organs included, to turn to fibrosis / scar tissue) as well as am unnamed lupus-like disease. I have a vested interest in this case because Carol is my youngest sister. Pay close attention, because her story — at least the first part of it — is not unique. There are many of you out there who will read this and see yourself in her. I have added my links into her letter, which were her emailed answers to “interview” questions.
- WHAT ARE THE HEALTH PROBLEMS YOU’VE HAD? Scleroderma has made me deal with joint pain (whole body), muscle pain, CHRONIC FATIGUE, lack of energy, DEPRESSION, brain fog, Raynaud’s (in both hand and feet), swelling that has left me no longer able to totally straighten my fingers, etc. Taking lots of medications has led to GERD AND A STOMACH ULCER. Then I got put on more meds for that (HERE). Just a vicious cycle!
- HOW MUCH DO / DID THESE PROBLEMS AFFECT YOUR LIFE: My pain got so bad that I could hardly function anymore. In two years time I watched myself no longer be able to get on my knees, sit on the floor, do much climbing, etc. MY KNEES were so bad it prevented me from doing those kinds of things. There were some days I needed help getting out of bed, getting dressed, etc. I was not able to partake in outdoor activities when it’s cold. Raynaud’s makes it too painful…my hands become purple, numb, and sore [Raynaud’s is a form of vascular NEUROPATHY combined with SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE].
- WAS IT COSTING YOU ANYTHING TO HAVE THESE PROBLEMS? Absolutely!! I could no longer live a “normal” life. I couldn’t participate in activities my family did because I physically couldn’t handle it. It made basic things like walking, sitting, or even lying in bed painful. Very depressing to become a person who can no longer function without pain. I became very dependent on my husband and sons to help me on a daily basis. Financially it’s very expensive as well! Medications, Dr. visits, scopes, and lots of other tests are not cheap. Just this past week my rheumatologist ordered an EKG and breathing test. Scleroderma can affect your internal organs, and he wants to make sure they look okay. The whole cycle just never seems to end!
- DID YOU OR YOUR DOCTORS EVER TALK ABOUT AN EXIT STRATEGY? My rheumy basically made me feel like there was no hope. I could never be “cured” of my autoimmune diseases. His goal was just to keep them from progressing by throwing MORE AND MORE MEDS at me. I’m supposed to go to see him every 3 months, keep taking my meds, and do whatever testing he sees fit… for the rest of my life. Doesn’t sound like much of a life to me. The thought of an EXIT STRATEGY resonated with me.
- WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET OFF THE MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND? I’m still very much in the process. It all started when my brother, Dr. Russell Schierling, talked me into reading IT STARTS WITH FOOD and doing an ELIMINATION DIET. I guess I had finally reached a point in my life where I felt I couldn’t go on like I was any longer. I was sick of the pain and ready for a change. I completed a Whole62 and now strictly eat AIP paleo (AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL PALEO). It’s amazing how much better I feel when I’m no longer eating out or eating JUNK! I still have bad days, but they happen a lot less frequently. I’m also going to have food sensitivity testing done to see if I can eliminate more pain by finding out what healthy foods don’t agree with my body [suggestion: when joint pain is a major issue, take a hard look at NIGHTSHADES. FODMAPS are an issue for many people as well as GLUTEN-CROSS REACTORS].
- HOW HAVE THESE CHANGES AFFECTED YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE? I feel like there is hope again! My Dr. may be right in saying I will never be cured of my autoimmune diseases, but I am not going to let them ruin my life any longer (HERE). What I eat and how I take care of myself affects how I feel. I’m no longer going to sit back and do nothing. I’m going to keep moving forward with my new healthy lifestyle.
- DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR MOTIVATION FOR MY READERS? Find at least one person who is willing to make the journey with you. I have made it this far because of the love and support of my family and a couple good friends. Don’t give up on yourself. You are worth it!
Just to let you know, our original conversation was in May of 2015. I saw her on Jan 1 of 2016 for my PARENTS 50TH. Eight months after starting this program, Carol had lost almost 100 lbs and got off most of her meds — she looked and felt great! Her husband, who followed the same program, lost maybe as much weight, and started riding his bike to work in a town that is 11 miles away. Within a year and a half he has become a serious competitive long-distance bike racer (he just won a big race down in Austin), who is good enough he’s been sponsored by a riding team from Kansas City. Way to go guys!