Some thoughts about chronic disease

Before falling victim to Rheumatoid Arthritis, things were different for me. Obviously, before the illness, I didn’t have regular joint pain and inflammation, as well as the other numerous symptoms of the disease. But, that’s not the only thing that was different.

I was once, like most of us are, completely confident that the doctors at the local hospital had the latest and greatest information and treatment options for whatever it is that ails us. I also had this cookie cutter image of various diseases, including cancer, and felt that if I were unlucky enough to catch one, that my future would look dismal. I mean hey, if you look around you at the people that are afflicted with serious disease, you rarely see those people come back to a state of wellness anywhere close to what they were before. Well, that is…if they choose to treat themselves using traditional medicine.

We are trained, from birth, to believe that the best medical advice comes from our traditional (allopathic) medical doctors and that the best medicine is made in a lab and sold in a pharmacy. We, as a society, have been told that any kind of medical solution that does not come from a doctor’s office is snake oil and is unproven and unsafe. When you begin to see that this isn’t entirely true….it changes your entire outlook on, well, just about everything.

So, as you read on, I urge you to open your mind. Because, just when we think we know everything…

Autoimmune disease 

So, with an autoimmune disease, our body suddenly, and without reason, begins to attack itself, causing all sorts of things like inflammation, painful joints, nerve issues, sleep problems, cognitive issues, heart and organ issues, and on and on.

This is typically what we are told: ”

Your body’s immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body.
No one is sure what causes autoimmune diseases. They do tend to run in families. Women – particularly African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women – have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting a diagnosis can be frustrating and stressful. Often, the first symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches and a low fever. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain and swelling.
The diseases may also have flare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when symptoms get better or disappear. Treatment depends on the disease, but in most cases one important goal is to reduce inflammation. Sometimes doctors prescribe corticosteroids or other drugs that reduce your immune response.”

So, no one knows what causes these diseases that all look eerily similar with just a few different symptoms from that of many of the other ‘autoimmune’ diseases.

After living with and researching RA myself, here are my thoughts:

Note: These are opinions based on the wealth of information that is now becoming available from various researchers and other resources. You can take it or leave it. I feel that it is simply my obligation to share the information that I have found to be closer to the truth than that provided by the medical community.

  • Autoimmune theory- I no longer believe that our bodies simply go rogue and start attacking itself for no reason. Could it be a thing in some cases? Maybe, anything is possible. But, I no longer feel like we can blame these disease on immune systems that finally decide to stop playing by the rules and begin trying to cause us great pain and discomfort or even death.
  • The Pharma approach- Many of the pharmaceutical treatments for these types of disease are designed to lower the immune system so that it stops aggressively attacking us (for no reason of course). Somehow…that doesn’t seem right to me. To me, that would be like turning off the stoplights on a busy Saturday night because traffic is too heavy and it is causing high wait times. The traffic light is doing what it is designed to do. It is not the cause of high traffic and certainly turning it off is not going to fix the issue.
  • Cause and effect- Doctors are trained to believe that a certain cause always results in certain illness affects. In other words, if you have influenza, you have the influenza virus. And, the symptoms of the virus will be much the same for you as they are for me. In most cases, this is absolutely true. However, I now believe that this isn’t always the case. I don’t think that doctors are purposefully mistreating us. I just think that they have been as misdirected by the medical establishment as we, the patients, have.
  • Bacteria, viruses and fungi can be at the root of most common diseases- I have read articles that state that researchers believed that diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis might have a bacterial origin as early as 1935. The problem with the theory is that the type of bacteria that can cause these diseases are often stealth bacteria that are not easily detected in simple blood work and can often only be found by using a test called PCR (Polymerase Chain reaction) )that actually looks for the DNA of the bacteria. These tests are expensive and not always covered by insurance. A pioneer in the field of Microbiology, Dr Garth Nicolson, (www.immed.org) found a direct connection between these types of bacteria (Mostly Mycoplasma, but also those associated with Lyme Disease) and the growing list of autoimmune diseases that we are facing at an unprecedented rate. With everything I have experienced and read since being diagnosed with RA, I believe this wholeheartedly. So, maybe that immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do…fighting off an infection. I will begin posting information soon about how I approached my RA treatment and embarked on the path to healing.
  • Food allergies, diet and Gluten- Although I don’t claim to know the mechanism that causes it all to happen, I now believe that certain foods cause reactions due to the way that certain bacteria, viruses and fungi interact with it. In other words, certain foods will make an infection either thrive or diminish. You can easily find articles that declare that a certain diet will diminish the symptoms of certain illnesses. I do believe that many of them are true and effective. However, I think there is a missing piece to that puzzle and that is the ‘why?’. Why is it that someone all of the sudden has an allergy to a food that they have been able to tolerate all of their life? Here is another one of those areas that we just accept, and maybe change our diet, and move on. But, what if the reason you are now having a reaction to a certain food is because you now have an active infection that is using those foods to further its own existence in your body. I do, wholeheartedly, believe that if you remove the infection…you might eventually lose the intolerance to those foods.

Summary

In summary, what we are told by doctors, pharmaceutical companies and the media about chronic illness, may not be the whole story. The key is that we must not just blindly trust our healthcare providers and we must do our own research and take control of our own health.

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