Friday, March 27, 2015

A Doctor's Proven Home Cure For Arthritis

In September 2013 I was knocked sideways with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (actually it's not true RA but one of the 5 different types - Psoriatic Arthritis, but even my Rheumatologist refers to it as RA as it is the one that most people understand). The reason mine is a bit different, is that the symptoms are the same but I have a few other issues as well including fibromyalga. Needless to say I was shocked and in disbelief so I went for a second opinion, only to be told that the first opinion was in fact correct - bummer!
My left index finger
My right index finger

So I started off on the usual cortisone, methotrexate, anti-inflammatories, calcium and folic acid.Within months I was battling to walk and went back and went back and went back to my rheumy. Each time the medication increased along with my nausea and side effects, the worst being nausea and chronic fatigue. It's not easy to be chronically exhausted when you have 3 small children, the smallest being a toddler when I was first diagnosed! Even more difficult is getting 10-12 hours sleep as the doctor suggests!! Anyway I bumbled along for over a year, enduring the blood tests and the handful of meds that I had to take twice a day, waiting impatiently for my RA to go into remission. It hasn't.

RA is an auto-immune disease that is degenerative and causes a lot of pain and suffering without much to see in the beginning. Although I am riddled with pain, the only thing that is visible is the index finger on my right hand. Even this one finger has impacted me in many ways, It is difficult to prepare food as I can't cut food like gem squash, butternut or even cucumber, tomatoes etc. Sometimes hubby has had to cut my steak, open jars, bottles and even helps me tie up Bacon and Tomato's hair for school and tie their shoes, because that is just excruciating. My very lowest moments are when I can't even dress myself as lifting my leg is too painful. Fortunately I have the most amazing hubby who never complains when I ask for help, although I hate asking.

As you can see, from these pics, my finger is very swollen up to the second joint and sometimes feels like it is going to explode. I have tried to ice it, heat it,but nothing helps and I find that I now do everything without that finger and I have had to accept that my days of playing the guitar are over.

In December last year, my daughter who had had severe eczema for the last 5½ years, was healed by a doctor who had a different method to other doctors. You can see that post here if you missed it The Day I found Dr Richard Aron and Our Healing Journey Began This got me thinking. Maybe mainstream doctors only know one way and they keep trying the same things, hoping it will work but maybe there are other treatments for RA too, similar to what I had discovered with Dr Aron for my daughter.

I was invited to a dinner party in January this year and met a lady who also had RA 35 years ago and cured herself! Well, I was all ears. She told me to find a book called A Doctor's Proven Home Cure for Arthritis by Dr Giraud W. Campbell and follow the diet in there, like she and many of her friends had done. She warned me that it was going to be a huge lifestyle change, which she herself only made when she could hardly walk due to the RA. She told me that I would be eating a lot of organ meat *gulp* and that basically I had to be in enough pain to try this approach. I got home and ordered the book immediately. It was a bit of a shock to the system, reading that book and I had to really build up some courage to take the first step. Once I had decided, it took me a while to source the food required but eventually I was able to start on 10 March 2015. This is my journey......
Raw liver

Eat NOTHING from morning to night.
8 glasses of mineral water should be consumed on this day

That was easy enough!
Hubby then prepped the liver for tomorrow.

Oh boy it's here. The day where I should be thrilled to eat after a day of fasting but it fills me with dread as I am going to face eating liver for the very first time. The mere thought of it fills me with dread. This morning, I went shopping for this 7-day plan and it wasn't as easy as you'd think. I found prune juice which I drank in the car and organic bananas at Woollies so I was on a roll - breakfast sorted.

But now it is almost 2pm and I need to face the music, bite the bullet and go and cook and eat the liver. Wish me luck.....

Liver and salad
Ok liver was gross. Not as gross as I'd thought but gross anyway. Honestly though I think that it was all in my head. I had worked myself up into such a state of disgust that I gagged trying to swallow it. I realised that I have never thought before swallowing a toasted cheese, so why was I battling to swallow when I knew this was going to be so good for me? The mind is a strong thing! Next time will be better but I'm trying desperately not to think about tomorrow's kidney.
The remaining "blood"

Now what I should mention at this point, is that all meat needs to be eaten as raw as possible. I like my meat well-done and I don't like to see or taste blood, so this was going to be a huge challenge. As you can see from my first attempt at liver, it wasn't raw enough.

All I remember about kidney when I was growing up, was the fact that I could smell it a mile away and it smelled revolting, so again I was in for a bit of a challenge. Hubby (thank goodness) took all the membranes off the offal and prepared it for me with a huge salad. I honestly couldn't eat it. I eventually resorted to holding my nose (like we used to do on Veldschool back when I was 13) so that I could get it into me. Each time I swallowed I retched and it took everything in me not to vomit it back up aagghhhhh it was so grose! But I was damned if this was going to get the better of me. So no matter how bad it tasted, my mind was stronger than that horrible food, so I continued.

Raw inside
Looked good
Yay today I get to eat fish. But as raw as possible. Now again, I love sushi if it is surrounded by rice and smothered in wasabi and served with loads of pickled ginger but sashimi on its own has  never appealed to me. Sorry for me. I better enjoy it while I can because later I"ll again be enjoying trying to eat more liver.

DAY 5 
Liver frickedels
Raw inside
Woohoo liver again *sigh* not nice but the diet says brain, which I just cannot do, so liver it is. This time hubby decided to mince up the liver and mix it with onions and green peppers and lightly fry the outside so that it would look like a patty. Surprisingly this was easier to eat, although to be honest, I am now holding my nose for every meal. Oh how I wish I was one of the people who loved offal.
Even the word "offal" sounds like awful doesn't it??
Gotta see blood 

Thank goodness today is prawns. But have you ever had prawns without lemon butter sauce or at least a dip of sorts? Not so pleasant. But I ate a whole lot because as bland as they are, they don't taste horrible. Sad that the happiest part of my day is having a tablespoon of black strap molasses which is hectically sweet and tastes a bit like liquorice but it has to be taken with brewers yeast so that's a turn-off!!

Lightly sauteed sea bass (raw inside)
More kidney was on the cards, but seeing as you cannot freeze the offal (as per the book) I had to exchange it for raw fish as the organs were getting too old to eat raw. Hubby made me some fish and just the warm fish made me feel better, even though it was raw and cold inside, but I realised I just wanted something warm and that my mouth could identify!

The book says continue until the heat and swelling have reduced. Hmmmm not much happening with the heat, swelling and pain, so I better do another week.

So I did another week and 2 days. When I got to the point where I couldn't swallow the kidney, even with my nose closed, I realised it was time to ease off. I contacted the lady who first told me about this way of eating and she said I needed to continue in a similar way for at least 3 months to see results, so that is what I am going to do. I will eat organic food and incorporate organs into my diet twice a week, but I need to start eating normally again. It is sooo tempting to eat the same food as the rest of the family, but I have come too far to turn back now. This needs to become a lifestyle and that is what I am going to aim for.

My fridge looks amazing packed full of fresh organic produce and I am learning where to buy organic produce, raw milk and where the nearest butchery is that sells grass-fed meat and organs. Unfortunately none of these are close to us, so it has taken a bit of driving to get everything. One thing for sure is that this has been an enormous learning curve!! Interesting to note, that the medical profession do not believe that diet has anything to do with RA or any other disease, I think differently.

What I know for certain is that the cr*p that is being put into our food at every level, is harming all of us, but in different ways. For some it is visible (like my finger) but for some the disease is growing inside and may only surface in years to come as cancer, diabetes, an auto-immune disease or worse. I strongly believe that although everything has been passed by the FDA, all the colourants, pesticides GMO foods and additives that are being put into our bodies day in and day out will have to have an impact at some point. I think our bodies can only cope with very small amounts of these chemicals and not on a daily basis like is becoming the norm. Looking back it is amazing to see how far I've come.

This is not the end, it is just the beginning of my journey for a pain-free existence. If you would like to continue following me on my journey, become a follower of this blog or sign up to receive an email notification each time I post.

Post Script November 2015
In August I went to my Rheumatologist for my routine check up. My inflammation levels had come down from 26 to 3. I was stunned, she was stunned. The norm is 5. I told her that I had taken myself off my DWARDS and was only on the Methotrexate. All the pain was gone and my swollen finger had become almost normal. I had to laugh when she said "diet is not a proven remedy for this disease, however in your case it seems to be working."

My mom contracted MRSA (a superbug) whilst in hospital and I was required to wear a HAZMAT suit each time I visited as it is highly contagious. My mom's story can be read here. As Methotrexate kills my immune system, I didn't take them as I was worried about the MRSA with my compromised immune system and to be honest, often I would just throw off the suit to touch my mom. After my mom passed away from MRSA, the hectic weeks that ensued, I forgot to resume the Methotrexate and realised that my pain hadn't returned. I am now drug free (haven't told my Rheumy yet) but I'm feeling great. Hard work = great reward.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

3 Months Later After Starting With Dr Richard Aron

Before finding Dr Aron
It's been 3 months since we started using Dr Richard Aron's Eczema Regime for our daughter Tomato. If you've read my 2 previous posts about this, you will know what we have been through. If you haven't, check them out at these links Skin Deep and The Eczema Chronicles.

3 weeks into treatment
After searching and searching and trying every medication and treatment under the sun, I stumbled across the Facebook page that changed our lives. Many people have been confused as to why it took me so long to find this group, and I too wondered how I could possibly have missed it in all my many google searches over the years. I have found that answer and many more over the past 3 months. See my first post about finding Dr Aron and how we got started by clicking on this link, if you haven't seen it already The Day I Found Dr Richard Aron and Our Healing Journey Began

Firstly, this Facebook page was only set up a few short months before I found it. After searching for years and coming up with no answers, I had blindly followed the advice of the medical professionals who all agreed on the same method - moisturising, topical steroids combined with long-term oral antibiotics to treat infections, I trusted that there was no other option. Secondly, I discovered that the brilliant doctor had not set this group up himself, some amazing, selfless parents, whose children had ended their suffering using Dr Aron's regime, had set up a Facebook group to help other parents discover this regime. Thirdly, Dr Aron practises in South Africa and the UK and began online consultations in 2008 to allow patients globally to benefit from his method. The only problem, was that his website was not easy to find. This is why the Facebook group was started.

I have also learned about something called TSA which is an acronym for Topical Steroid Addiction and TSW which is an acronym for Topical Steroid Withdrawal. Also RSS wich is an acronym for Red Skin Syndrome. To read more about TSA, TSW and RSS, click on this link - What is TSA, TSW and RSS?

So many parents and potential patients of Dr Aron are concerned about TSA. The huge difference between other methods and the Aron regime is that Dr Aron uses a VERY diluted mix of (the dreaded) topical steroid together with a topical antibiotic. BUT this method, steps down the number of applications of the diluted ingredients until the cream is no longer needed at all! This is indeed a much better way of stopping the steroids suddenly, as no withdrawal is experienced. 

Before Starting with Dr Aron

How is Tomato after 3 months of Treatment?
Well I am thrilled to tell you that we started sleeping (yes the whole family got to sleep through the night) from the very first day! She no longer takes any medication, apart from the cream - no anti-histamines, no oral antibiotics, no oral cortisone, no anti-anxiety medication, NOTHING! And her skin is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! She has not itched since the second day and if you met her today, you would never know that she had ever had eczema (apart from some scarring that is slowly fading.)

How long did it take us to see results?
We saw positive results within the first few days.

What did we do?
  1. Due to the severity of her skin, we started on 6 applications per day for 5 days. 
  2. We then reduced to 4 applications per day for a period of 7 days. 
  3. Then we reduced further, to 3 applications per day, with 1 extra application on stubborn areas i.e. arm creases, behind knees and ankles. This continued for 2 weeks.
  4. We then reduced to 2 apps per day for 10 days.
  5. Tomato then had a very slight flare and we went back to 5 applications per day for 4 days.
  6. Then we went down to 3 applications for 10 days and reduced to 2 applications for 4 weeks. At this point Dr Aron stressed that we should not become over-confident as eczema does flare and due to the severity that Tomato had experienced for years, we needed to reduce very slowly to allow the skin to remain non-reactive.
  7. After 3 months we are now down to 2-1-2-1-2-1 meaning one day 2 applications and the next 1 application, the next 2 etc etc. We are on the 3rd day and her skin looks like it is maintaining. We will remain on this for the next 4 weeks.
Each and every time, we were guided via email by Dr Aron as to what to do. If I was concerned, I emailed photos, but for the past few times there has been no need as her skin is perfectly normal.

Looking Back
Unless you have been to that dark place that a parent of a child with eczema has, you cannot fully understand. Many times in those dark years, I had thoughts of leaving, just running away. Many times, due to years of sleep deprivation and continuous screaming and clawing and bleeding I wanted to give up. I would read terrible stories of desperate mothers, who like us, had no support, who were also awake night after night after night with difficult children, who couldn't see an end to the suffering and killed their children to put an end to the madness. I certainly don't condone that behaviour, but unlike most "normal" people living "normal" lives, I understood the desperation that those moms felt. I am so grateful that I was strong enough to never be tempted to do something like that. I sympathised, often causing friends to think I was crazy. Often I would think "there, but for the grace of God, go I."                                        

Looking Towards the Beautiful Bright Future
I cannot begin to explain the relief we feel. This doctor, whom I haven't even met, has given me and my family back our sanity, our zest for life and a beautiful, glorious light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. 

Tomato has told me that she wants to fly to Cape Town to thank this man, who has changed her life forever. [update click here to see the post when We met Dr Aron!

If you are reading this post, and have a child who is suffering, take a chance and start with this remarkable man, who is slowly but surely, one patient at a time, healing families around the world.

Eczema is not only a disease of the skin,
it's a disease of the soul

Where are we now? See the latest links: 9 Months Later 


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What is TSA, TSW and RSS


I have recently learned about something called TSA which is an acronym for Topical Steroid Addiction and TSW which is an acronym for Topical Steroid Withdrawal, which is where parents (and adults suffering from eczema) are concerned about the side effects of using topical steroids over a long period of time and therefore go down the terrible path of stopping the use of steroids and endure (or watch their little one's endure) eczema with no assistance from steroids. This process isn't pretty and the skin gets much worse before it gets better and finally gets to a point of levelling off, but can take years of itching, scratching, bleeding and re-infections. Basically, the medication that you have used to help your child, has made their skin worse and now you need to remove that same medication to make it better? It just didn't make sense to me. While I understand why people choose to go through TSW (I also like the natural route and don't like using long-term medication) I am glad that I didn't try to do this, as I don't think I could watch my child suffer and I cannot imagine our lives being worse than they were.

What does Wikipedia say?

Topical steroids are the topical forms of corticosteroids. Topical steroids are the most commonly prescribed topical medications for the treatment of rash, eczema and dermatitis. Topical steroids have anti-inflammatory properties, and are classified based on their vasoconstriction abilities. There are numerous topical steroid products.


Topical Steroid Addiction (TSA) has been reported in long-term users of topical steroids (users who applied topical steroids to their skin over a period of weeks, months, or years). TSA is characterised by uncontrollable, spreading dermatitis and worsening skin inflammation which requires a stronger topical steroid to get the same result as the first prescription. When topical steroid medication is stopped, the skin experiences redness, burning, itching, hot skin, swelling, and/or oozing for a length of time. This is also called 'Red Skin Syndrome' (RSS) or 'Topical Steroid Withdrawal' (TSW). After the withdrawal period is over, the atopic dermatitis can cease or is less severe than it was before.

So many parents and potential patients of Dr Aron are concerned about TSA as the Aron regime is to use a VERY diluted mix of (the dreaded) topical steroid together with a topical antibiotic. BUT this method, steps down the number of applications of the diluted ingredients until the cream is no longer needed! This I believe, is indeed a much better way of stopping the steroids as no withdrawal is experienced.

Dr Richard Aron says:
"Red skin syndrome (so called). After prolonged use of steroids and multiple flares of the eczema the skin turns red and this erythema has been given the label of RED SKIN SYNDROME What is not at all understood is that the reason that this redness evolves is not because of the steroids themselves but because of the associated infection by STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS . There is failure of doctors to recognise the place of Staphylococcus Aureus acting as a trigger and potentiator of the Atopic Eczema and therefore to treat it adequately, not with oral antibiotics, but with topical antibiotics in conjunction with, and simultaneously with, topical steroids and moisturiser. The red skin is NOT a syndrome but a SIGN of missed diagnosis and in consequence wrong treatment. I have labelled the sign, STAPHYLOCOCCAL BURN SIGN. It is remarkable how rapidly the red skin resolves and the sign disappears with appropriate therapy."

Would you like to go back to my posts regarding Dr Aron? Here are the links below:

The day I found Dr Richard Aron and our Healing Journey Began

3 Months after starting with Dr Richard Aron