The Inspiring Story of a Woman’s Fight Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
“I couldn’t lie down, let alone sleep. I used to watch the rest of my family soundly go to bed, then sit on the couch, hoping to lay my back to rest, but still the pain was unbearable. I had waved good bye to my bed, it was a no go zone for me. Once I sat my stiff body on the couch and slept even for an hour, and in a sitting position, the numbness and the black discoloration of my extremities coupled with the searing shoulder pain would give me a rude awakening. I could not live like this. I needed help.”
That was Elizabeth speaking, a year after being diagnosed with chronic rheumatoid arthritis. She was on follow up at a public hospital in Nairobi since her diagnosis. She was on quite a number of medications including disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) but her condition was getting worse.
In late 2013, Elizabeth begun experiencing symptoms of insomnia and pain and she begun self-medicating. In early 2014, the symptoms got worse and she went to the nearest public hospital to get treatment. It was then that she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was told it was autoimmune. She was put on the following conventional medical treatment, which led to many stomach side effects. She had follow up visits in the hospital every one month. Her condition did not get better even after six months and she began experiencing extreme joint stiffness. At this point, she was referred to an orthopedic specialist in a nearby town for further management. She went and saw the specialist, physiotherapy and more drugs were added to the treatment that she was getting.
“I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t walk well, or for a significant distance. I couldn’t wash anything, even my own handkerchief. Simple things like holding a mug of tea were but memories, a spoon was all I could hold. I needed assistance to take a bath. And I was on medication when all this was happening. I felt hopeless.”
The Integrative Approach
In early 2015, Elizabeth’s friend advised her to bring her daughter to Akeia Health Centre for management of a skin condition. As I was finishing her daughter’s medical history, she asked me in a humble and low tone, “Doctor, do you treat other illnesses?” and I told her that I did. While leaving the clinic, she booked two appointments, one for follow up for her daughters’ skin condition and one for her illness.
When she walked into my office, Elizabeth could barely walk upright. The expression on her face was one of a woman with longstanding pain and in agony. As I stretched out my hand for a handshake, I noticed she could not straighten her hand completely, later what I discovered was carpal tunnel syndrome. She had lost 17% of her total body weight in one year due to her infirmities.
Despite her illness, Elizabeth lacked any significant family history of rheumatoid arthritis neither did her personal and social history give any risk factors for this.
Remarkable features during her physical examination included a markedly elevated blood pressure, visible weight loss, carpal tunnel syndrome of both hands, inability to use both hands, she could not stand upright and there was darkening of the anterior part of both forearms.
The management was multi-factorial, and included improving function in areas of distress shown in the biochemical tests conducted. These factors include
The treatment aimed to alleviate symptoms by altering these factors through dietary modification, manipulation of dietary fats, and use of specific drug free medications based on nutraceutics and botanics uniquely used at Akeia Health sourced from USA.
After 6 months of following the regimen faithfully, Mary stopped losing weight. Her weight was stabilized and she began gaining back the weight after 8 months. She is currently on no pharmaceutical medication, feels great and is healed internally and externally.
Her last laboratory results showed a marked improvement in her inflammatory markers.