Katie Recovers From 11 Years Of Inflammatory Arthritis
Katie's Rheumatologist has now completely withdrawn her need for Methotrexate after having inflammatory arthritis /Ankylosing Spondylitis for 11 years. Right after this interview was recorded, Katie's Dr approved the final MTX tablet removal. In this episode you'll learn how Katie was following an exclusively RA drug path for the majority of her past 11 years - only in the past 18 months has created a dietary focus, and the impact has been phenomenal!
Clint: Thanks for joining us today on the Paddison Podcast. We've got Katie on this episode, how are you, Katie?
Katie: I'm great Clint, thanks for having me on today.
Clint: Yeah, I'm really excited to chat with you today. We've got a lot of sort of communication between us in the past on our online support forum and given that you've done so well, I wanted to invite you on and share your stories so many more people can hear what you've been able to achieve. So what we might do is get you to summarize your situation now and compare it to your situation before you made a lot of the changes we're gonna talk about, and tell us how far you've come before we get into the nitty-gritty of your story and so on.
Katie: Great. Well, first of all, I just want to thank you for having me on. I've listened to so many of these podcasts throughout the last year and a half and they've always given me inspiration to keep going, so I hope I can provide some inspiration for others today as well. Where am I right now is a really good space, I'm almost off all medication. I just have one more pill of Methotrexate to decrease probably this week or next week and yeah, then I'll be medication free and pain-free for the first time in 11 years.
So yeah, to summarize pretty quickly. I've had inflammatory arthritis either undifferentiated and ankylosing spondylitis, depends on the doctor and the time where my symptoms are assessed but it's clear I've had that for 11 years and it was only the last three years where I really started looking into alternatives to the medication route and yeah, I found your program about a year and a half ago and doing that for about a year and I've had really good success and I'm almost off all meds and pain free.
Clint: That's just sensational. Thank you for that. And it must feel really good to actually say that, I mean 11 years is a long time. You and I must have got diagnosed around about the same time because I'm around the sort of the 10 to 11-year mark so obviously got a lot of questions for you but why only three years ago? Before we hear about your story, why wait you know, why wait eight years before looking at making some lifestyle changes or you know, I'm just curious?
Katie: Yeah, that's a great question. The main reason was because it's really not talked about in Canada at all. I've had really hard time finding people who were using Diet to Heal and just wasn't even something I even considered because the doctors I asked frequently during the last eight years and 10 years, like are there any dietary recommendations that you can suggest and the answer was always no. There's no evidence. So I was busy with other things and school and I just really didn't have time to look into it and I didn't know anything about it, it wasn't even part of my world or the knowledge just wasn't available. So I think I was just in the dark until a few years ago when I went to a naturopathic doctor and she told me for the first time that it's really possible to heal and using diet and I was shocked, I hadn't heard of that before, I knew you could manage symptoms with diet but I didn't know it was completely reversible. So that was a big shock to me. So I think it took a really long time to change my idea of healing with the body.
Clint: Yeah, I had similar experience. I mean, I heard all the same things about there being no link. I mean, I was told directly there is absolutely no link between diet and rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis. And it therefore takes... you're already sort of mentally backwards when you go and start looking into it because the authorities who've worked in the business their whole live are telling you that there's no link and so you feel almost sheepish going in... onto Google and saying, "Hey, maybe you know this experts with his career and plucks on the wall is actually wrong." But I mean, I do believe they are, I believe they're wrong. And I think every time I hear another story like your own and all the other people we've had on the episodes and all the people who don't come on the episodes that share their story through other means, I mean, I'm absolutely convinced that this is a lifestyle disease. I see rheumatoid inflammatory arthritis as an absolutely severe digestive disorder like is almost as bad as you can get and the symptoms therefore equally and you know at the same level of severity as the gut problem.
So let's go right back, whine back 11 years and what happened because I wanna know how you managed the condition for those first eight before you started changing your lifestyle habits, what drugs you're on all that sort of stuff. So let's go back to the start.
Katie: Yeah, 11 years ago it started with pain in my toes randomly. It would move to different toes and eventually spread throughout my feet and then my wrists and that was over about a three month period. So it was kind of gradual and I really had no idea what was going on. The first drug I was put on was Celebrex and that did help to stop the pain and inflammation a bit but not enough to keep me from waking up every night and having to ice all of my joints just to sleep a bit.
Clint: Hmm, can I stop you there? The reason being is because you touched upon a couple things and I want to get your feeling. Celebrex is marketed as a non-steroidal drug that does not have the same negative impact on the gut. As in you know causing gastric ulcers and maybe leaky gut, although the people in marketing too don't understand what that is. What's your feeling on Celebrex? Do you think, I mean I've got my opinion, I will share as well. What are your thoughts?
Katie: Well, I'm actually keeping a one-year holistic nutrition program right now so I'm learning a bit more about the inside family and the different drugs that are used and since it's a cox inhibitor, I feel that it's definitely doing damage to the gut in some way. I don't really know all of the details but ever since I was diagnosed with arthritis, I've had digestive issues throughout the entire... Throughout the entire past decade and non of the drugs ever made me feel great digestive wise.
Clint: Yeah, I think that's same thoughts that I have on it. I never took Celebrex but I took another non-steroidal drug and in the three weeks like I did like you, got diagnosed and for the first little while, while you sit around and wait for the rheumatologist, you kinda think that takes... trying to take something and the first thing over the counter I took was some... actually some Voltaren and this particular drug I took and the very next day I felt like amazing and I felt wow. Like and I was so dumb I felt all I need to do is take these things every day and I'll never have problems again, right?
Anyway, I had to take more and more over a short three week period. In that three week period, by the end of the three weeks, I was having to take two or three times the dose to get the same results or like actually take more per day. And then I thought I wonder what would happen if I stopped taking these, like how much pain is behind these pills? And I didn't take any that night and the next day I woke up and I mean, I was... I wanna say at least twice as bad. My rheumatoid after the two weeks, after the three weeks as probably three times as bad as what I was before I started taking the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. And I never ever have taken one again. And I was irreparably bad from that point on, like I couldn't get back to where I was before those three weeks. So it rapidly deteriorated my symptoms. So thank you for sharing about Celebrex. Okay, so what happened after that?
Katie: A lot of different drugs in between, Sulfasalazine, Cortisone injection and it was about a year before, I'd finally gave in to taking Methotrexate. I'd heard about all the side effects and I really wanted to avoid it, I was only 19 at the time so I had my whole life ahead of me and didn't really wanna go on a drug that was so toxic but the pain at that point was really debilitating and I wanted to get back into exercising and feeling normal again. So I gave in and that took about a few months to kick in but once it did it basically completely eliminated most of my pain and allowed me to stay pain-free for the next eight years.
Clint: Wow. Well, that's great, isn't it? Again same as myself, I was on the Methotrexate. Now, one of the research that Richard Mathews has just done alongside myself on the gut dangers of all the different medications that we've posted inside the forum recently in the resources section. That interestingly shows that Methotrexate does have impact on leaky gut and it does cause intestinal permeability, however, and I think the subtlety lies in the dosage size. I think the dosage size that we take when we have rheumatoid arthritis, whether be anywhere from sort of 10 to 25 milligrams per week. I think that the dosage size, it makes it far less detrimental on the gut than what the studies sort of tend to indicate in that research. And so, I think that although Methotrexate has a lot of negative potential side effects, of cause not all of them manifest in everyone. I do think that it's you know it's used by 97% of people with inflammatory arthritis for a reason, right? Because it obviously can get results and I have a sort of a love-hate relationship with it, but I hate other drugs more. I hate other drugs more. And there's not really that much love, I should really add except that it helped me through very bad times.
Katie: Yeah, and for sure for me too. The biggest struggle for me has always been the nausea and the indigestion with it. I will take every Monday night and when I was on my higher doses basically by Wednesday I would just be extremely nauseous, I felt like I was hungover and would take about at least a day to recover from that.
Clint: So that was 48 hours after you took it. So you take it Monday and Wednesday you are in a bad way.
Clint: Okay, now when you say nausea, would you ever vomit from it?
Katie: No, I would never vomit. I would just feel really terrible, it would be hard to get up and get going, really exhausted, a lot of fatigue. Hard to eat and not wanting to eat really healthy foods, I was always craving greasy foods or something to try to settle my stomach.
Clint: All right. So that you could get rid of the nausea.
Clint: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I see. Like when you're hungover back in the day, yeah. And you wake up and you go and you kind of wanna eat some horrible food. We knew how we do that, I used to do that. With the Methotrexate, when I took the Methotrexate I actually never became aware of a periodic or a cycle of nausea or additional fatigue, I felt bad the whole time. I was just constantly in this absolute zombie world of... it's like the world going on around me and my eyes are just glazed over with fatigue and just nothing. Like I was just dehumanized from the drug. Yeah, it was only when I came off it that I realized that I was still under there. You know like, "Hey, my gosh like I can like since laugh again." It's weird, I mean I guess let's chemotherapy isn't it for you, I mean it isn't chemo drug, it's killing cells, right?
Clint: At a subtle level. Okay, so tell us about when you started to check to this holistic doctor and naturopath and what initial things did you try.
Katie: Well, my partner actually took me to his childhood naturopath and she took a look at me and she was like, "Okay, you're not gonna be able to have children if you continue on this path and your liver is in a really bad stage right now." But she said, "It's gonna take a couple of years but it's possible to start reversing this." So basically, I started on a whole foods diet. Eliminated dairy, gluten, all alcohol, all caffeine, all red meat. I was still eating a bit of chicken and fish and eggs. So I was on that for about a year and a half and it was helping me feel better but I still wasn't able to reduce the Methotrexate as much as I wanted. I was able to reduce one or two pills but that was about as far as I could go.
So then I started researching other alternative diets and I came across your podcast one day and I remember just going through about four or five podcasts that day and then the next day buying the book, reading it in one night and I was sold. I was like, "This makes a lot of sense." Because I was having a lot of trouble with the anti-inflammatory diets, I felt like there wasn't enough control. I couldn't really figure out which foods were causing problems and which weren't. So when I read your "Elimination Protocol," it felt like I would have a lot more control and power over the foods and figuring out which ones will cause the most pain.
So I was still in school at that time, I was finishing up a Ph.D. so I was really stressed. And I decided to wait a few months until I'd finished before fully implementing your program but I did go vegan and I did eliminate most oil at that point. So I was following it pretty much, just hadn't started from the baseline yet. So about a week after I graduated, I started the program full force and that's been almost a year now. And I... it took about a few months and then I was able to decrease the medication pretty steadily every couple of months watching my inflammatory markers and they were pretty steady the whole time and I felt great. So I just kept reducing and then I had the control during that time to figure out which foods were causing pain and which weren't.
Clint: Yeah, that's awesome. You're like a textbook example of what can be done. So that's just thrilling for me to hear that as well recalling the lack of control that you feel when you've got auto immune disease and like this, you can feel completely helpless and so to have that control that you've talked about and to see that sort of roll out over a period of time in a predictable manner, that's what we all dream of.
So a couple questions come to mind and I'm gonna say them all up front so I remember them all. The first one was, did you feel improvements just by eliminating the oils and most of the or all of the meat products before you begin? Second of all, how did your rheumatologist respond as you were starting to you know reduce medications and oh you know I'm curious to see if they were like every other doctor and just says just keep doing what you're doing and not ask any questions. And then, well that will do for now. Let's just do those two for now. So did you improve, well, just by getting ready for the program and then we'll talk about your rheumatologist?
Katie: Yeah, once I cut the oils and all meat products I felt I was able to decrease the Methotrexate a little bit quicker but I still was unsure how to go from there and unsure if I decreased if the pain was gonna be from the decrease or from still some foods I hadn't quite figured out were causing inflammation. So I felt better prepared to start it and I felt that my body went through a good transition period, it wasn't too shocking to begin the program.
Katie: So it definitely set me up for a good place to start. And rheumatologists yeah, I've been to quite a few throughout the past decade and none of them have ever suggested diet was the way to go and my rheumatologist right now, I would say that she's definitely skeptical. She doesn't really believe that what I'm doing is scientifically proven but the way I feel is if I waited for science to catch up, I would be waiting my whole life for a double mind dietary study on plant-based nutrition. So I feel like I'm my own experiment. She's good with helping me decrease and watch my inflammatory markers but other than that, I just go to her for my prescription and just for the okay to go ahead and decrease but she's definitely not my support system.
Clint: Does she have any kind of curiosity? I mean, because it's my guess that unless one of her other patients or clients or whatever you wanna call it is doing our program and she's probably never seen anything like this before in her career. I mean yeah, so I mean is there any kind of curiosity? I mean, put it this way, if I was treating people every day and they're coming in in absolute agony, some of them suicidal and some of them basically saying, "Look, I will do anything in my power to try and get rid of this disease. It really is a living hell on earth like life's hardly worth living, it's that bad." And this happens day after day after day for 10 years and then someone comes in and says, "You know I'm doing this the other." And then month after month they get better and better and better, I would probably want to find out what they were doing.
Katie: Yeah, I have the same feeling and I'm so excited along the way of the dietary program and I even brought her in the hard copies of the medical journals which discuss vegan or vegetarian diets and fasting and the links to RA. And I left those with her but she never seem to have the same enthusiasm that I did. And I think it's because she sees so many patients that say, "You know I've tried diet," which means they've trying going gluten free or dairy free and nothing's worked because they don't go as extreme as they need to go. And nobody realizes how extreme you really need to stick with this in order to heal. So I think she's seeing a lot of people come in and just saying, "Oh, it didn't work for me." And so she's really skeptical because she hasn't had someone completely reverse their symptoms and get off their medication before.
Clint: Yeah, well said. Yeah, just talking about this recently. It's such a minefield to try and get everything right for the body to heal that so few people find that extremely narrow path through the mountain. That, you know, the doctors just don't see these happen very often. So yeah, understandable.
Okay, so now where you at right now with regard... You mentioned like a pill left or something. Normally, I think in terms of milligrams per week so I used to talk in terms of you know 25 milligrams a week. So I'm not quite understanding you know number of pills but can you convert for me or can you tell us how many pills you started with and how many pills are left or whatever your system you like?
Katie: Yeah, I'm only on 2.5 milligrams a week right now. So that's one pill. So I started on eight pills at my highest dose throughout the past decade and yeah, I've been steadily decreasing, 2.5 milligrams every two to three months depending on where my pain is at that time and how I'm feeling. So yeah, I've been on 2.5 milligrams for the past six weeks right now and I'm feeling really great pain wise, no flaring. Still able to introduce new foods without too many issues and so yeah, I'm really considering this Monday will probably be the last dose that I take.
Clint: Yes and we talked about offline in preparation for this interview whether or not we should wait until you're off that last pill all together. But with my travel commitments and your travel commitments, we thought no, no, no, let's make this happen now, let's not sort of delay this because you know it was gonna be another two or three weeks before we could actually make this happen.
Now, let's talk about any hurdles that you have to overcome, things that some... this is for the benefit of our audience. Things that you may have found challenging that wasn't sort of obvious to you when you were about to begin or things that you had to do in addition or things that you had to emphasize besides the materials that are available.
Katie: Right. I think the biggest problem for me throughout this past three years and the program as well has been the isolation socially, not being able to go out for dinner, not being able to go out for drinks with friends, that really took about a good year and a half to fully wrap my head around and to be... to normalize my new situation and my new lifestyle. Now I am pretty happy with my life and my partner and my family are really supportive as well so it's become a lot easier. But the initial year, year and a half when I was first making dietary changes was pretty difficult because our society is really structured around a completely different eating plan, I guess we could say.
Katie: And it was really hard to get it socially but now I really focus on outdoor activities, spending time with my family and friends have really come around to the idea of my lifestyle and I actually just recently started a plan based snack company with a business partner so that we could bring affordable healthy plant-based snacks to our community as well. So that's been really fun, but yeah, other hurdles along the way. Iron has been a really huge issue for me. I've had low iron pretty much most of my life but it's been really hard to stabilize that. It keeps going up and down even with supplementing. So that's still something I'm working towards. Also, the coffee enemas were a huge part of my program for the last year, the lack of fat for me I think has been a problem with bile release. So now that I'm introducing more fats, more sprouted nuts and seeds, that's starting to use stabilize a bit but that's been a huge hurdle as well.
Clint: Sorry, just clarify on that last point, why do you think the low fat... What negative impact do you think the low fat had?
Katie: I think it wasn't triggering enough bile release so causing constipation.
Clint: Oh, constipation. Right, okay. Okay, interesting. Yeah. It's not a consistent feedback that we get. Most people find that with all the plant fiber, I mean it's literally 100% plants, right? So with all that fiber, most people find that three, sometimes four a day is common so that's interesting that you've had that experience but yeah, it sounds like you starting to resolve with a little bit of the more sort of advanced foods, right?
Katie: Yeah, sure.
Clint: Okay, let's talk about iron and enemas because that's really interesting. Another one of our four members just recently said she's had trouble with low iron for years and years and years and she's one thing. It sounds so simple to, but it's sort of a joke but you know, Popeye and his whole like eats so much spinach and he gets super. But the iron in the spinach because we've got this whole issue with like anemia of chronic disease versus just you know iron deficiency anemia and there's a whole training around that that goes beyond this conversation. But if you've got very low inflammation levels, and I recall in preparation for this you'll see protein is like less than 0.5, is that correct? Yeah. I mean it's so low you'll see [inaudible 00:24:13] lower than the average person on the street who's never been diagnosed with any inflammatory arthritis.
Okay, so it's very unlikely that you have anemia of chronic disease or the iron component of that. And anyway, so this other member who you might have seen her post but she's just basically just been doing three weeks of really intense screen smoothies using baby spinach and iron requires vitamin C for absorption. So I like to put some orange juice in with the smoothies and so she's managed to resolve some very long term low iron levels that way. Now, you've probably already explored this I'm sure, right?
Katie: Yes, I have.
Clint: Yes, right. And when you said it fluctuates, is it mostly low or is it sometimes too high?
Katie: No, it's never been too high.
Katie: It's always been below the minimum requirement to feel pretty normal.
Clint: And this is being way by like a decade.
Katie: Yeah, yeah.
Clint: Okay. All right, well we can talk about a little bit more of that offline and see if we can you know I'll have it further think about that as well. And then the enemas. Now, this is something you know most people think is crazy but when you're in the worst pain that, you know, a human could ever endure on a daily basis, I think, you know, nothing is crazy to try and get rid of crazy pain. So I used to do these coffee enemas as well. And after a while, I was just found the whole putting the coffee into the enema a little bit cumbersome and so I used to just use water in the end and I just got just sick and tired of adding another thing to my day, you know, with the coffee. But they were great ways for me to go to bed at night feeling empty and waking up guaranteed with less morning stiffness. So yeah, tell us more about your experience without to going into all the gory details but just was a... if you don't mind, just share with listeners what's involved in a basic sense and why did you do it?
Katie: Well, I started doing it because of the intense constipation. As soon as I started, even before I started the program I was having and I went vegan, I was having problems with constipation but because of the high fiber, the high wire intake I was really confused as to what was going on. Now that I'm eyeing the fats back in more, I kinda understand the connections but I was pretty desperate at that point. I had tried everything I could think of, I had done castor oil liver packs and that helped a little bit but not enough. And so I think I reached out to you at one point and you suggested coffee enemas as a possible solution. So I went online, did a little bit of research, found a great YouTube video of how to do it. And picked up my little kit, it was pretty inexpensive, just 10 bucks for the little kit. And then the coffee. And I experimented with different types of coffee and basically, it does add another hour of preparation to my day because like you said I have to do the water one as well. So I do the water enema first and then I do my coffee enema. I just prepared at night so it takes about just half hour to prepare at night and then it's ready to go in the morning. It's pretty simple to do and I do mine in the morning because I find if I do it at night it causes a bit of bloating and I feel a bit too energetic to go to bed. So the mornings work really well for me and then I feel great for the rest of the day.
Clint: Yeah, that is really cool. I never tried one in the morning. My mornings were so rough, I used to struggle just to get out of bed. So I think that was the one of the things as well by the end of my day, with the experience I had, I had more mobility and I was able to get down onto the bathroom floor first thing in the morning you know I think with my particular condition. I don't even recall trying to do it in the morning, I think as you know sometimes you just wake up and it's just a struggle to do anything.
So that's really interesting, I'm glad that's been powerful. Sometimes I get people saying to me, maybe once a month someone will say, "Hey, I tried your program, it doesn't work." And the first thing I think well, which of the major three pain reduction things that you're not doing. Normally they're not exercising, right? People just think that exercise is an optional thing, absolutely not. I mean the only time it's not optional is if you're improving at like a freight train rate. Okay, then you don't really need exercise because it's so clear how much you're improving. Or they aren't doing the most basic format of the program like they're out just trying to reintroduce high more challenging foods within weeks of starting. Or they're constipated and to get rid of the constipation, sometimes we have to take things to a whole new level and clear out the colon entirely which gives us tremendous pain relief as well. And the other way that people make mistakes, well just to complete that little paragraph is they low meds too quick. They start and they stop taking all of their medications because they think, "I'm gonna be cured in like a month." And they stuff all their drugs and then they're like, "This isn't working." And I'm like, "Okay." So it's only ever one of those four things. So okay, so you were deploying all of them, what about exercise before we kind of bring this to a close. Did you have to do a lot?
Katie: No, I actually didn't have to do that much and actually exercise is always been a challenge because of the low iron. Whenever I've tried hot yoga or exercising pretty intensely I get really bad headaches which can last for days. Even if I don't get enough sleep during the week, the headaches begin. So for me, it's been a challenge of balancing my energy level and being able to exercise while still keeping my pain low. So for me, the best type of exercise I found is just biking. So now I bike about an hour per day, about four times a week and it has the bonus of helping me get to where I need to go while also getting my exercise in and being something that doesn't really impact my joints. Because in the past few years I've had SI joint involvement as well. So that's been really difficult to get out and run, I used to run all the time but I had to stop that a few years ago. So biking for me has really been the best way to get my exercise in without feeling too much fatigue but still getting my joints moving.
Clint: Yeah, that's awesome. I love how you say I haven't done much exercise but you do an hour of biking four days a week, right? Because I drill into everyone that everyone needs to be like so extreme, like you have to be exercise in like an hour, two hours a day, sometimes. It is funny that we've gotten to the point where an hour a day of biking is low and because that's the reality when we're really heavily inflamed, we have to get everything perfect and we need to exercise like we're training for some kind of Olympic event coming up down the track. Even if that means that we can only raise a shoulder because we're so debilitated but then we need to raise our shoulders as much as we can and then one day we'll be able to move our neck and so on. But we need to be pretending or scheduling for our most highest physical ability in the future.
So that's great. So you work but it was also tied in with lifestyle and getting from A to B which is really nice. No problems with your wrists, right? Because sometimes people grab the handlebars too much and the choke through the road goes into their wrist or hands. No problems with that for you?
Katie: No, my wrist only clears a little bit if I eat something that I wasn't ready for, yeah.
Katie: So my wrist is just... the wrist pain is just a signal for me that it wasn't time for that food yet.
Clint: Yeah, okay. Fabulous. Are you finding that your sensitivities to foods is becoming less like an alarm and more just like sort of a softer notification?
Katie: Yeah, for sure. Definitely, throughout the past few months, I've been able to add in a lot more foods, a lot more nuts and seeds and I get a tiny bit of pain just as a warning signal once in a while but nothing is extreme as it was about a year ago.
Clint: And how much control do you feel over the situation now? So you know if you feel like something not quite right, do you have a feeling like you're pulling the strings now and you have a strategy to get back on track?
Katie: Yeah, for sure. I think the biggest thing is I don't panic anymore if a bit of pain sets in. Before I thought that the pain was a signal that I wasn't healing, I wasn't gonna get better but now it's just kind of a gentle warning signal that okay, you weren't ready to eat this food yet, just wait a few months and try it again. So now it's more of a tool than a panic signal.
Clint: Yeah, yeah. That's right. And I think that reflects what's going on inside us because when it's just like a cheesecloth and everything's just floating into our bloodstream and we're reacting to so many foods, we react so quickly to foods and the pain is intense and immediate. But I asked the question of you because this is what's common of you know, the healing process is that you get to a point where it's more of a sort of a just a little sort of tap on the shoulder as opposed to a punch in the face. The body is way less hypersensitive than what it used to be. So that's an exciting sort of indicator of success.
Katie: Yeah, it's very exciting because I remember about six months ago, I tried to increase avocado and the warning sign for that was a lot stronger than it was the second time around for sure.
Clint: Yeah, that's awesome. All right, well I think that wraps up most of what we wanted to cover. Would there be anything else that you'd like to share to listeners who were thinking about doing this or who are doing this? Any other sort of perhaps more mindset stuff. You know, is there anyway of thinking about this that you've adopted that's been helpful?
Katie: I think the biggest thing yet is that it doesn't matter how long you've had the disease, for me having it for over a decade it was still possible to heal. So I think that's really important to know but also because I've had it for so long it's also taken a really long time to reverse the symptoms. So I think patience has been the biggest thing for me to learn and to go really slow with the medication decrease. I didn't rush it, I wanted to make sure I was on the right path and that I wouldn't have to increase my meds again at some point. So just taking it really slow day by day and just knowing that your body does have the ability to heal is just gonna take a lot of time, just as it took a long time to get to the stage where your immune system started attacking itself. So reversing that whole process really takes a lot of time but it's definitely possible no matter what your rheumatologist says.
Clint: Wonderful. That's some very very good advice there. And finally, what about your support network with your family? You've mentioned them twice so far. My wife was my rock and everything that I went through, she witnessed and supported me through. How important has it been to have your partner and your family give you the support and the sort of comfort that you sort of need to get through this?
Katie: It's been probably the most important part throughout the whole journey. Because when you go out into the world, people don't believe you and we start to feel like you're kind of crazy at some point. So making sure that your family believes you and supports you throughout the whole process has been huge. From the first naturopathic visit up until today, my partner basically eats the same thing that I eat at home. He loves the miso soup and basically all the new recipes we tried together and my sister now has started eating pretty similar and has reduced her high cholesterol that she's had for several years down to normal range and my parents as well have been really supportive the whole way.
Clint: Yeah. That's lovely. I love hearing the knock on effects that you're able to create by going through something like this. People are fascinated when someone takes it upon themselves to do something so radical. It's quite a fascinating thing and then for them to also delve in a little bit, in some cases a lot like your partner and then also feel better and to see changes I mean, it's like, yeah. It's really nice to see that knock on effect. And now that you've got your plant-based snack bars that's really exciting as well. What's the name of your snack bars?
Katie: My company is called Joyfuel. One word. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook @JoyFuelSnacks. So yeah, that's been really fun with my business partner and just reaching out to the community and getting feedback on that there is not a lot healthy snack options out there but slowly it's starting to change.
Clint: Yeah, well. Looks like you're gonna play a big role in that which is really really cool.
Katie: Yeah, I'm really excited knowing when I know now I can't go back to a different life. I need to keep getting the message out there that healing is possible.
Clint: And you're moving into a holistic nutrition career, is that true? And if so, is there a way in the future that people might be able to reach out to you for consultations and I guess help because we just do not have enough people who have this kind of knowledge and for certainly a professional education as well to be able to help them. So it's a little premature to ask about that?
Katie: Well I don't have a website or anything set up yet. But I can update along the way and people can follow me on Instagram, Katielabro [SP] and yeah, I'm halfway through a one-year programme in holistic nutrition and the end goal is to definitely do consultations and to really help people throughout their journeys of figuring out how the best way for their body to heal.
Clint: Awesome. Well, what we'll do is once, obviously we're recording this podcast today is the 19th of May 2017. Some people will come to this podcast series long time in the future and be listening to this ahead of time. By then you might already have your accreditation and what we'll do is when you have that, we'll put the details of how to contact you at the bottom of the show notes. So we'll update the show notes so that in the future, at some point information of how to contact you like that will be accompanying this episode on our website.
Katie: Awesome, that sounds great.
Clint: Well, Katie thank you so much. It's been a real pleasure to chat with you and hear all this in one sort of summarized version. It's been wonderful working with you online prior to this as well and I can't wait to hear about you getting off this last little pill and having a drug free and pain free life.
Katie: Well, thanks so much Clint for having me on. It's been a real pleasure and I really appreciate all the work you've put into helping people heal all around the world and for your continued support.
Clint: Thank you so much, Katie, we'll talk soon.