I have had an autoimmune disease since I was twenty-five. I have suffered crippling pain; pain so intense that the weight of a thin bed sheet on my inflamed toes would send me into tears. Turning myself from side to side in bed required assistance. I once went for six months without being able to brush the inside of my teeth because I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough for my toothbrush.
Psoriatic Arthritis has lived in my body for twenty three years. Thankfully, only the first few years were filled with suffering, followed by many years of disease suppression by disease modifying medication. For nineteen years I’ve injected myself every week, and for the past twelve years I’ve been taking a biologic medication that has suppressed my immune system, thereby providing me relief.
I’ve been very grateful for this medication, and for our medical and health benefits in Canada that provide it for me. So much so that I worked as a nurse in private practice in rheumatology.
But these medications come with risks of course, side effects, and for me the elephant in the room became two-fold:
I am at a higher risk for certain cancers
What is the underlying cause of my inflammatory condition? What if I could figure that out?What would that look like? How different would life be?
That’s where ‘Comfort Zone’ kicks in (and actually ‘Context Window’ too.... but that’s a different topic). At the top of comfort zone is THE MOST that I want to be, have, or do.... and at the bottom is THE LEAST that I want to be, have, or do. But I wasn’t comfortable anymore with taking my medication. I had been for so many years, I’ve been pain-free now for a long time. That weekly injection is worth it’s weight in gold to me. But...... was there something beyond my comfort zone that could give me the same pain-free life AND without the side effect of putting me at risk?
A beautiful friend was on her own journey and shared with me what she was doing. So, at the end of March, after doing some research, I started a 10 day spiritual and physical health water-fast.
Yes, for ten days I drank filtered water and ate nothing. I read my bible, prayed, and focused on my intentions, walked, and enjoyed my regular daily life. After the first couple of hungry days I felt quite great........ and was VERY aware that I was stepping outside of my comfort zone. My husband reminded me every day by saying something like “I can’t believe you still haven’t eaten”!
After doing a ton of reading during this time I realized the theory of “leaky gut” behind autoimmune disease and decided to take another HUGE step outside of my comfort zone. When I ended my water-fast I reintroduced foods by starting the “Autoimmune Protocol” Diet. It’s a bit of keto meets paleo and then some. Although it can seem very restrictive, the benefits far-outweigh the sacrifice.
So, as a reminder here, I’ve been on a weekly injectable medication for my Psoriatic Arthritis since 2000. My last regular injection was April 8, 2019. That was ten weeks ago. I have no inflammation, no pain, and am on no medication for my arthritis. I believe I am controlling the disease by treating the leaky gut that caused the inflammation in the first place. It is going to be a long, long road of treating my colon like a baby, and continuing to take steps out of my comfort zone to be healthy......like drinking kombucha! Who knew it could be so yummy?
But taking steps out of your comfort zone is where the real growth happens. If nothing changes, nothing changes.