“You’re going to have to give yourself an injection to manage the pain”, she uttered. “I can call the script in now.” “For how long?”, I replied. “The rest of your life”, she answered. I don’t know about you, but giving myself an injection of medication on a regular basis, for the rest of my life, doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.
Her words sunk in as I sat there, staring at my test results. A sixty-seven on a scale of one hundred. This was my test “score”-and I failed. I had just been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis as a thirty something year old.
The pain began a little over 3 years ago, in December of 2013. I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a bus, and not because I was at a raging frat party the night before. So I went to the doctor, they ran some tests; all came back well and good. It was suggested that I had some sort of virus, and was perhaps feeling the aftermath. If the pain continued, I was to go see a Rheumatologist.
The pain disappeared for months, would show up again, then disappear. I wept in the morning while getting dressed. Blowing out my hair was excruciating. Door knobs? Forget it. So I mustered up the strength to make an appointment. And get my blood drawn, dozens of vials at a time. Have x-rays taken. Test results came back negative, I met with the doctor, had more tests taken (lather, rinse and repeat the obnoxious amount of blood drawn) etc., etc.
No one likes a sad story, so, don’t worry, there is about to be a plot twist.
I sat there in my Rheumatologist’s office last December and made a big girl decision. I needed to start taking care of myself. So I asked my Doctor if it was OK if I explored some alternative treatment options (no- I’m not talking about dancing around during a full moon while chanting to Mother Earth) before committing to prescription treatment. She gave me the go-ahead.
So I researched, and I read, and I watched documentaries. I spoke to my dearest friend’s mother who beat cancer, and still to this day, takes more vitamins and minerals in a day than I do in a month. And, I bought a $99 juicer; it wasn’t the Jack Lalanne Power Juicer, in case you were wondering. And I started juicing.
Guess what? Two months in I felt amazing! My hair started growing back. I had energy. I had no pain. Door knobs? Bring ‘em on! Best part? I went back to the Doctor and got re-tested. I was ecstatic to see such a low test score. I halved my inflammation “score” in 3 months. With nothing more than drinking an 8 ounce glass of juice in the morning. Proof my hippy-dippy* method did something.**
I am still seeing my Doctor, as I don’t have a definitive answer that the RA is gone. But I continue to juice and carry around my granny pill case with all my vitamins, conveniently labeled by day of the week! And, daily, I have to remind myself, to take a moment to myself, for my health, for my sanity. Let’s face it-life moves fast and it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself so that you can be well and enjoy it!
After several months of experimenting in the kitchen, here is my new favorite recipe:
- 15 carrots
- 2 english cucumbers
- 1 celery heart
- 3 apples
- 3 pears
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 3 inch piece of turmeric
This makes enough juice to last me a week, I portion out in glass containers, make sure to fill to the top (to avoid oxidation), cap and freeze. I pull out the jar at night, and drink in the morning.
After several months of experimenting in the kitchen, I also have some tips to share:
- Make and freeze juice for the week. No matter how ambitious you are, you don’t have time to play Martha every morning.
- Things like beets and turmeric stain quickly, especially marble/granite counters, so wipe up spills immediately!
- Get your family involved. My almost 3 year old literally begs me to juice on Sundays. She gets a kick out of putting fruits and veggies down the chute and getting a little taste at the end.
- Have fun and experiment! I throw in whatever I have laying around just so it doesn’t go to waste. Add in a few apples and it will sweeten and mask most flavors.
*The term “hippy-dippy” is by no means intended to offend hippies or hipsters.
**I am not recommending that juicing or any other “hippy-dippy” method should replace treatment from a Medical Professional.