I was diagnosed only last year (Nov 2011) and put on methotrexate in Jan 2012. At worst my fingers were like sausages and in pain and I couldn't drive the car, pull on my socks or brush my teeth properly.
The doctors just wanted me to take drugs which I did. However, I'm a stubborn and curious person so proceeded to spend hours and I mean hours Googling RA, treatments, diets, medicines and much more. I just had this gut feeling that there was more to this than what first appeared.
It has been a bumpy ride since then but over these last 6 months I have finally found a way that works. And how do I know this? Well, I took myself off methotrexate (I know, bit naughty going against doctors orders, but it made my stomach sore anyway - I DO NOT ADVOCATE COMING OFF DRUGS WITHOUT YOUR DOCS PERMISSION, BTW).
So what was it that made the difference? Well, not just one thing, not surprisingly. But if I could name just one thing, it was coming across Margaret Hills book - Curing Arthritis The Drug Free Way. Margaret was a trained nurse who came down with RA that forced her to be wheelchair bound. Through lots of research and trialling she found a way to cure her own arthritis.
By the time I read her book I was already doing some of what she recommended but not all, and then it all came together. Now let me explain this, it is a complete lifestyle change. It's not just about diet, it's everything.
So, here's what I now do to keep RA at bay. For the record, it hasn't been easy; changing old habits is hard, being selfish (sometimes saying no, putting myself first) is hard, but it has all been worth it.
My new daily habits are:
-Daily meditation twice a day (I try to do 20 mins but do at least 5 mins when busy)
-Green smoothie in the morning for breakfast (Ingredients: 1 apple, 1 nectarine, lambs lettuce, sprouted alfalfa, coconut milk, squirt agave syrup) For the record spinach made my RA worse.
-Drink two glasses a day of Apple Cider vinegar (1tablespoon) and dark honey (1tsp) in large glass warm water
-Eating loads of dark green salad veg all day in meals such as watercress and rocket
-Remove gluten, all grains (buckwheat is okay) and starch such as white potato
-Daily gentle exercise (swim, walk or both)
-Lots of sleep
-Drink loads water 2 litre a day
Now this is what has worked for me, it's pretty personal to me. But if you read Margaret's book she claims that RA is caused by too much acidity in the body that turns to uric acid that settles in the joints and she suggests an alkaline diet and the apple cider vinegar (plus loads of other stuff). Whether you believe that or not, all I can say is that this works for me. If nothing else it's worth a read.
Our bodies are all different so I don't believe there's a one size fits all solution but I do think it's about being open minded, trying this stuff and regaining your power because RA does not have to take over your life.
I'm very aware that if I stop doing what I'm doing the RA could get worse again but it's worth it so that I can lead a 'normal' life.
I hope this helps someone out there. I was incredibly scared last year when I was told my RA would progress rapidly and maybe if I hadn't tried all this stuff it may have done.
Anyway if you have any questions I'm happy to help. By the way, I'm not suddenly cured or some guru, I work at this everyday - to be healthy without drugs.
Lots of love to you. May you find a way that's right for you, that's drug free, healthy and happy. xxx