Not only has our guest been able to avoid medications with the Paddison Program, but she also helped her son deal with rheumatoid arthritis successfully. We discuss in this interview:

  • How Therese and her son got diagnosed with RA at different times
  • Therese’s experience with the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis with immediate results
  • Having a supportive rheumatologist
  • Managing gluten
  • How There’s son started with the Program, also having great results
  • Developing a discipline
  • Mountain biking!
  • Therese’s daily routine
  • The importance of movement
  • Plant-based recipes

Clint – We love to interview people who’ve had transformations with their rheumatoid arthritis because it’s so inspiring, and it’s so insightful as we learn lessons from them. And today I’ve got Therese, she’s from regional New South Wales, which is a state here in Australia. And she not only has a transformational story of herself, but also her son. We’re going to learn about how she helped her son, whilst the two of them both have rheumatoid arthritis and together they transformed their health. Therese is going to talk about how she never went on traditional pharmaceuticals and how she lives in very little symptoms these days. Welcome, Therese.

Therese – Hello. How are you, Clint?

Clint – I’m really, really happy that we have set this up because we’ve been in touch over email a few times, and I said, you have to tell your story because it’s just going to be so exciting. And I don’t know, almost, I know very little of it because I don’t want to. I want you to tell us, first of all, give us a before and after to set the scene.

Therese – Well, when I was, um, well, originally my son, in about 2004, he was aged three, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid after a few, um, just swelling of his knees after swimming. And I thought, well, that’s a bit odd, I wonder what that is. But then it was on a weekend, by the time it came to Monday to take him to the doctor, it had settled down and I thought, okay. And then one morning he got up and he literally couldn’t walk because his knees were so inflamed. So off to the doctor, got the diagnosis of rheumatoid and then started the trips to Melbourne, to rheumatologists and all sorts of anesthetics and plasters on his legs. And it was a very acute came on really quickly and, um, watched him go from an active little three-year-old to having to carry him into childcare and put him on a chair. So that was awful like, and I thought, what kind of future is he looking at? You know? So, um, I did a like, deep dive into anything I could like. We changed our diet, we went all organic, got rid of preservatives, did all sorts of things, and we managed to keep a lid on it. It had sort of pop up every 18 months or so. And, and then, um, when he got to about 14, then I was diagnosed with rheumatoid. And it was also a very acute onset for me. Like one night after work, I had a bit of a sore shoulder and I thought, what done? I thought, I feel like I’ve pulled a muscle or something. And, over a period of a few hours that went from a bit little bit sore to I can’t hold my arm up, I was holding up my arm to brush my teeth. And so I went the next day and they said, oh, you’ve you know, you’ve irritated your rotator cuff. Come back in a few days if it’s still there and we’ll do an ultrasound. And it went away and I was good for about two weeks, and then it came back again. But then it went from my shoulder to my other shoulder to my wrists and my hip, all in about three days. So I went off to the GP, had some bloods done, and she checked for all sorts of things and, and it, um, came back with, oh, I think you, you know, you might have, uh, rheumatoid. So we set up an appointment with a rheumatologist for a few months time, and, and I started to think, okay, how am I going to deal with this? And it was, um, it was horrible because I never knew where it was going to be. I’d wake up in the morning and, like, it could have been in my arm so I couldn’t drive the car. It could have been in my hips, I couldn’t walk, and it was it was awful.

Therese – And then I remembered seeing a post about the Paddison Program, and I told Sam about it. Who’s Sam’s? My son. And he’d said to me, oh, look, mum, I’m not really I’m not really interested in that. And so I said, all right, well, you know, so I looked into it, bought the program and I actually, um, started doing it in reverse, like, I can’t, I can’t even remember how you do it in reverse, but I know that I started it in reverse, like obviously probably taking the easy way out thinking, oh yeah, this will be, you know, I’ll do it the easy way. But, after doing it for 3 or 4 weeks, I just wasn’t nothing was improving, it was actually getting worse. And I thought, okay, this is you know, it’s getting serious now. And my six year old one day, I was trying to get dressed in the morning and she came in and said, I’ll help you, mummy. And I thought, what’s happening here? Like I’m getting my six year old to help me get dressed. This is very backwards, like, you know, and I was 43 and I thought, okay, is this what my life is going to be now? Like, not, you know, not being able to dress myself. So I said, all right, got to get serious. So I started to do the program properly. And the day that I started it, I couldn’t open my mouth because my jaw was like even to talk, It was like it had touched me like. And I remember going out for coffee with my mum and dad and the day that I started the program and my dad said to me, what if it doesn’t work? What? You know, what if it doesn’t work? And I said, well, it has to because I can’t like, I can’t keep going on like this. And so within literally like I was still at work as a theatre nurse, like I worked in operating theatres as a scrub scout. So it was a very physical job, like use my hands like I had to was always walking long distances. So I was still working while I started the program, and within seven days I managed to go from not being able to figure out what was going to be like when I got up in the morning, to Oh my God, I can actually walk. And I got up one morning after day six and the day before I’d been at work and I was having trouble walking because the theater complex is massive, and I was taking a trolley around, and I had to keep stopping because my hip was just so tired and sore. When I got up the next morning, I, um, was expecting it to be really sore again, and I got up and I remember I was almost like dancing on the way to the bathroom, going, oh my God, it’s not sore.

Therese – Like thinking something. It’s going to get sore in a minute. It’s going to get sore in a minute. But it didn’t. And I thought, oh my God. It’s actually like I’m having really good results here. Like and I was I stuck to it like really followed it to a T. And so it was actually that was a Wednesday. And on the Thursday I had my appointment at the rheumatologist in Melbourne. And my aim in my mind was to I have to get this under control before I get there. I don’t know why I thought that, but I thought that’s what I want to be able to do.

Therese – And so I did. I was able to get to Melbourne. I’d been dreading that week because I’d had two ten hour shifts, and then I had a big drive to Melbourne and I thought, I’m not going to be able to do this. This is I don’t know how I’m going to get through it, but, um. But I did, and I got to the rheumatologist and he said to me, um, and even I’d been having such good results, and I thought, he’ll be so excited, he’ll be so pleased. And he said to me, you won’t do this with diet. He said, we’ve tried this and you won’t do it. I’m telling you, if you go that way, you said you’re crazy. And I thought, great, what do I do now? I thought, he’s given me a script for methotrexate. So I’m at this fork in the road of okay, like he’s telling me, I’m being like, you know, silly. And I’m having these good results, so what am I going to do? And it was really lucky because Sam actually came with me to that appointment, because he had an appointment at his rheumatologist the next day. And so he was with me, and it became a bit of a blur after he said to me, you know, here’s this script. You can’t do this without drugs. You must go on these by Sunday, you have to start taking it. And I thought, oh man, this is a really big like this is a big decision, you know? And so I left in tears because I thought I was, you know, doing so well. And, um, we went out for tea that night and Sam said to me because he could see that I was upset and he said, mum, just have a night off the program. Just, you know, just have whatever you want for tea. And, and I said, no, I’m not doing that, I said, I’m sticking to it. And, you know, I said, I’m, I’m having results and I’m not going to turn around now. And, you know, and so I thought, okay, I have to make this decision of, do I do what he says and take these drugs or do I, you know, go because I’m having good results, keep going on this path.

Therese – And I thought, I’m going to keep going on this path. And it was actually the next day after that appointment was when I first emailed you, because I’d, I hadn’t actually signed up to the support group, I just was doing the program. And I emailed you and I said, I’ve like been dealing with rheumatoid for 15 years. How do I know that what you’re going to tell me is not because I needed a little bit, like, of extra reassurance, I suppose. Like being told by this doctor, no, you’re not going to do it that way. And so. And you said to me, you know, look, just get rid of that rheumatologist, go and see James Bertouch is it in Randwick? And um, so I did that and went and saw him. And the comparison between those two guys was unbelievable. He was the total opposite, supported everything that I did, and it was a month between seeing the first 1 or 2 months actually, and then seeing him in Randwick and um, I was still having good results and he said, wow, isn’t the human body amazing? He said, I have a few clients who who do the Paddison Program. And he said, they’re not all as successful as what you are, but he said, you’re nailing it. He said, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. And you know. And he said, I’ll, I’ll see you again in six months and probably a bit naughty. I’ve never actually gone back to him. I’ve never been back to see a rheumatologist, um, since. But, um, I don’t really feel that I’ve needed to because I’ve for about three years, I was incredibly strict. Just did, you know, I mean, I added new things in. But I was very careful about what I ate. I made sure I did my exercise, and I wasn’t an exercise freak like I did my 30 minutes of sweat inducing exercise, whether it was a walk or a treadmill or on the bike or the elliptical trainer out the back, and did it religiously, and it’s paid off because, you know, I’m now in a very good place and, um, riding my bike, hiking, you know, doing everything that I want to do. And it doesn’t stop me from doing anything, really. So, um, and yeah, so I’m extremely grateful and very glad that I, um, sent you that email that day and, um, got on the support group. And, you know, while I needed those early days of support just to, um, you know, keep me on track, I’ve never looked back and I’ve never had to go on those, pharmaceuticals and, um. Yeah, I’m a I’m a turmeric only girl. That’s it. That’s my staple.

Therese – And I don’t even take that all the time. Like I only have that, you know, if I have a bit of a niggle or something. So, yeah, it’s all going really well.

Clint – Yeah. That’s fantastic. And, um, you know, you have been steady for a long time too, haven’t you?

Therese – I have, yeah.

Clint – This isn’t like you’ve like a lot of our, um, interviewees, uh, often they’ve come off methotrexate, say, six months ago, and now it’s like here and it’s like, almost like a new sort of homecoming or whatever you’re like. Yeah, but you’ve just cranked this out from day one and just held yourself at a an acceptable level of symptom control.

Therese – I have. I have had, um, flare-ups when I’ve been testing things like, um, especially gluten. I discovered that that was a really big trigger for me, and that’s probably given me some of the, um, the biggest flare ups that I’ve had. So, um, if, um, I mean, I one thing I regret is not having a scope to see, like, a gastroscope to see whether I’ve got, um, diagnosed with celiac or not. But the, um, the thought of having to eat it for 6 to 8 weeks to get a good result from the scope, I just, I just don’t think I could put myself through it. So, you know, I’ve, um, I’ve got a, like a Hashimoto’s diagnosis as well. And not having gluten goes along with that. So I just, um, I just don’t have it. I eat like I’m a celiac. Yeah, there’s been, um, that I if I was going to recommend anything to anyone, it’s if you think you’re sensitive or you might have celiac is to before you go off it have a scope and then you know, one way or the other whether you need to, you know, avoid it or not. But, um, which I did with Sam when, um, he started having a few issues after having wheat and things. And so I said, well, don’t go off it. We’ll get you get a gastroscope done and then we’ll know. So, you know, one way or the other. So, so. And he and he didn’t have it, but um, thank goodness. But yeah, but he still avoids gluten as well.

Clint – Tell us the Sam story. And then I want the family collective wisdom around like managing this maintaining wellness lifestyle techniques, supplements that you take if any. Time that you go to bed, how much outdoor sunshine you get. I want to basically tap into all of the maintenance level, health maintaining routines that you have. Firstly, tell us, uh, Sam’s story. Uh, how is he doing? Uh, what was his journey? Did he do the program too?

Therese – He did. He did do the program. He was about 14 or so when I was diagnosed, and I’d, um, originally told him about, um, the Paddison Program because I think I saw it come up in my news feed. And so I mentioned it to him. This is before I was diagnosed, and he was having a few problems with his ankle, like he just started working and, and his ankle was giving him a bit of grief. And, and I said to him, look, I’ve seen this program. I said, maybe you should give it a try. And he said, mum, when you know, if he said, when someone comes and tells you to eat vegan or to eat a certain way to control it, he said, you just want to punch them in the face. He said, the one thing that I can enjoy is my food. And he said, I’m not going to, you know, change it. And then later on, like within probably 6 or 12 months, I was diagnosed and I brought it up again. I said, well, what about this Paddison Program? And he said, if you do it and it works, then I’ll do it. And I went, okay, fair deal. So, um, so yeah, I, I did it and it was successful. And he said, righto. And he’s still to this day, he’s still maintained his, um, like, if he has a bit of a bit of a niggle or a I wouldn’t say we have flare ups, but we have things that it’s what I call them, more of a warning sign where it might be like a finger joint or and it’s usually the same place where you think, oh, hello, something’s going on here. I need to, you know, focus on what I’m doing. And he’s the same then we’ll go back and literally go back onto the, the basic diet for a week or two and then go, okay, we’ll get it under control and then start to, you know, bring back in our other foods again. And he still does that too.

Therese – I actually had to do that just last week because I had um, I’d been away on a trip to Melbourne and I got some little muesli packets and they were gluten free muesli packets, and they didn’t have peanuts because I can’t have peanuts. And so I thought, oh, these are nice. And so when I came home, I found it in the supermarket and I was having it like every day. And then after about a week I thought, oh, my elbow, like my elbow is a bit sore. And then after another couple of days I can’t straighten my elbow properly. I thought, what’s going on here? And I thought, what have I changed? Like, what have I done that’s different? And I thought, I wonder if it’s that muesli that I’ve been having, like, you know, and I read the ingredients again and I thought, well, it looks all right. But there was a few things in there that might have had a bit more like vegetable oil, like sultanas and things like that that I would normally have. And I thought, well, maybe it’s that. So I went back to baseline buckwheat quinoa salads, juice for at least four days and then calmed it all down. And I’ll leave that muesli in the cupboard and somebody else can eat it. But if we have any issues, always straight back to baseline and I’m a bit of a slow reactor, so, like, I don’t eat something, and then 6 hours or 12 hours later, I get pain. I’m more of a it could take up to a week before I, um, you know, actually experience any joint pain. So it can be a bit, you know, like, um, of a, um, hit and miss trying to work out what it is, but because I’m so like, there are so many things that I don’t eat that I can usually manage to pin it down, but it took a fair while to work out that I did take so long to react. In the early days I did have a food diary and I would write down everything that I ate and what pain I was having. And so it was only in hindsight when I would go back like 6 or 12 months later and read those food diaries and think, and I and I would have written in there, I ate this and then got that reaction, and I’d think it actually wasn’t that. It was something that I’d eaten a week ago. So, you know, it can take it can take years to sort of really nut down what you can and you can’t have. And, you know, I mean, like, I have a sneaky coffee here and there, but it’s not something that I, you know, I think, oh, probably, you know, I probably shouldn’t have it, but it’s a, you know, it’s a managed thing and it’s like going out for dinner. You don’t do it all the time. And for a long time I didn’t eat out at all. Like I just if I was going out somewhere or if I did go out, I’d have a green salad, like with, you know, just nothing on it. And everyone would be like, oh, that’s a bit boring. What are you having that for? And I was always that person like, you know, oh, can you not put dressing on the salad like, you know, and, and, but I thought it’s just not worth it to be any other way.

Therese – I had a funny experience once I went out to a restaurant in, um, I won’t say exactly where, but it was a very prominent restaurant, and my friend was so excited, like, to take me out, like I hadn’t been to Sydney for a while. And so we went out to this restaurant and, um, she had a nice pasta carbonara or something, and, and I was looking on the menu and I said, oh, there’s not a lot there. I can’t really there’s not a lot for me to have. And I ended up, I said, oh, I’ll just get the green salad. And she said, okay, righto. So I got the green salad. It was literally a bowl of lettuce. There was no there was nothing else in it. There was no hugging, no tomato, no cucumber. It was just and I took a photo of it because I thought, this is like a really hoity-toity restaurant, and I’ve got a bowl of lettuce for my dinner. And I said to the waiter, I said, do you think I could just have a like a slice of lemon to squeeze on there? And so she’s enjoying her pasta and I was eating my lettuce, but I was quite happy to eat my lettuce because I thought, I, you know, I’ve got to enjoy my day and I’m not going to have ramifications down the track of you know, having something that might give me give me grief. I don’t see it as a sacrifice, really. Like, you know, people say, how do you do it? How are you so disciplined? But it’s a choice, but it’s like, it’s, um, I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m trying to say. It’s like, that’s what I do like, because the alternative is just not acceptable. So, you know, the discipline is worth it, you know, so I can go and be with my kids and, and do the things that I want to do. You know, when Louis, my 16 year old, says, mum, do you want to come for a bike ride? And I and I’m like, yeah, sure. Like we’re going to Thredbo in, um, six weeks to go mountain biking. So, you know, I’m going to have a mountain bike lesson and I’m going to hopefully not kill myself going down the mountain. But, um, I would rather eat a bowl of lettuce and go mountain biking than, you know, not be able to do those things. So yeah, it’s all worth it 100%.

Clint – I love it, I love it. I just got goosebumps when you said you go on to Thredbo to do mountain biking because although Australia is not famous for, um, large mountains and so on. Yeah, let’s just say that mountain biking in Thredbo, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Therese – For the faint-hearted. Yeah.

Clint – No I mean, for anyone who’s not aware, we’re talking about, that’s the ski resort of Australia during winter. So what people do who are very athletic and adventurous is go there in this. Yeah. To when the snow is not there in the summer and come down the mountain on their bikes.

Therese – It will be amazing. This is our fourth year in a row and this is my first year mountain biking there. But Lewis has been the last three years and um, the last two years I’ve done the, the last three years I’ve done the walk up to Kosciuszko with the kids and which is a fairly rigorous hike up there. 12 K’s up and back and, um, yeah, it’s all and so this year I’m going to tackle the mountain bikes and that um, looking forward to it.

Clint – Yeah. That is sensational. Yeah. I, uh, a word of caution here. I came off a mountain bike one time, coming down in exactly the same way. Yeah. Um, a mountain in Colorado during its summer, when we were visiting my wife’s friends who lived there, and I just trying to keep up with her friend’s husband. Who was extremely experienced at this and me being competitive. And at this point, although with rheumatoid feeling just determined, just trying to keep on his back wheel. And then I came off and my head hit the ground very hard and I got quite bad concussion and, uh, yeah, it was awful because that night I just at there at a it was a friend’s wedding. I just sat in the corner at the wedding and just wanted to sit by myself at the wedding. And Melissa said, what is wrong with him? Because it’s just so unlike me. So anyway, look, um, have a wonderful time. Wear a helmet.

Therese – I’ll be having a lesson.

Clint – Just put space between you and the.

Therese – I’ll be on the green runs.

Clint – Good, good good good.

Clint – Therese, your life with rheumatoid arthritis is extremely different to most people’s who are struggling from drug to drug, trying to find something that works for their symptoms and something that doesn’t give them terrible side effects. And it’s a frequent sort of on that treadmill of struggle. What does your day look like? What time do you go to bed? Just walk us through a day in the life of Therese. Yep. And what you feel are key to maintaining your health at this level.

Therese – Well, I probably get up about seven in the morning, and I, um, I work as a, um, independent support worker. So I have clients that I go out and see, and, um, I don’t always exercise first thing in the morning because I go to the gym with my clients. So, um, I’ll have my brekkie in the morning and I do have a sneaky coffee. Like I was saying, I always put some food with it. Um, I have like a, um, a few different muses. Like I’ve been branching out a bit and as I was saying before, one of them tripped me up, but I’ve moved on from that one, so I have that with some fruit. And, um, then I’ll go and go to the gym with my client, do, um, at least 30 minutes on a treadmill, sometimes an hour on the treadmill. Like, I’ll use the stair machine. I’m not, um, racing, just, you know, plodding along. Um, I’ll do some strength exercises on the circuit just to keep up my muscle strength, and, um, I do sometimes with another client. I’ll, um, go hiking. So we’ll go up to the Snowy Mountains and do, like, a 10-K hike or something through the day, and, um, you know, I’ll just take a muesli bar in my pocket.

Clint – You’re unstoppable. You are unstoppable.

Clint – How does RA have a chance against you with this? I mean, do I say the fitter you are, the less symptoms you have, right? And we can take that to an extreme.

Therese – You have to move. Like, if there’s one thing when I was really unwell, I did notice, um, even when it was really painful. As you move more through the day, you they do free up. So I learned early on you’ve got to move. You can’t just sit there and go, oh, it’s going to hurt if I move. Like, you know, you have to keep moving. It’s just. Yeah, there’s sitting in a chair is just not going to cut it. So yeah. The more um, you know, I used to get excited when I could lift my arm up and open the cupboard. By the end of the day, I’d think, oh, great. Like, whereas in the morning I’d be lifting up my arm to, you know. So, um. Yeah, movement is key. I know with the 7 -00 and the night time having not eating after that. I’ve always struggled with that. And um, before when I was working in theatres, um, I was a shift worker, so I often didn’t get home until 630, 7 -00. And then I’ve got kids, you know, to do dinners and all that sort of thing. And so I did struggle with that. I tried as best I could to do it. Like, sometimes if I was on call, you’d get home at 1 or 2 in the morning and I’d think, I have to eat something, I can’t not eat something. So there are there are always, you know, things that we do that don’t 100% align with it. But you do what works for you at the time and, and, um, yeah, I mean I try to go to bed at 11 or so, like, I mean, I try to get my eight hours sleep. It’s, um, I’ve got puppies at the moment that like to get me up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, but other than that, I’m past the baby stage, now I’m onto the fur baby stage. There’s just no getting a full night’s sleep, but yeah, I try.

Therese – Like last week when I was saying I had that problem with my elbow, I, um, first thing I did was go out on the exercise bike and, um, set it up, and I hadn’t been on it for a little while, and I went, right, I’ve just got to get in there, got to work up that sweat. And now my elbow is good. I can straighten my elbow and it’s all good, but, um, straight on it as soon as I have, you know, a symptom, then I’m like, righto. Yeah. So, um, I’m actually, um, in between houses at the moment. I’m building a house and, uh, not built yet, but hopefully soon. My ex-husband and I are living in the same house with the kids, and I’m building another house on acres so the kids won’t have to go backwards and forwards. And, um, I forgot what I was going to say. Now it’s gone out of my head, but oh, that’s right, he didn’t have a rice steamer like I had at my other house where Sam’s living. At my other house he has the rice steamer. And so John’s got some other fandangled rice cooker thing, and, and I said, oh, I don’t know how to use that. And he said, I’ll go and get you your rice cooker. So I went, got the $15 rice cooker, put this buckwheat in the quinoa and the sweet potatoes. And, and he was like all over it saying whatever you need. We’ll just, you know, get on top of it. And I’ve got him on the buckwheat and quinoa too now. So he’s like, oh, can I have some of that? So yeah, it’s good. The kids are like, oh no, not again. But um, but yeah, it’s a family affair. Like it’s all yeah.

Clint – And what um, I interrupted you basically to give you a medal of an award to just say, like your lifestyle from a physical point of view is just so tremendous. Like, I admire that so much. I envy that you’re going mountain biking in Thredbo like, that is like, that is the pinnacle of living this life with this condition. Okay?

Therese – Absolutely!

Clint – It’s being as athletic and as expressing the physical abilities of your body at the highest level. That is disease defiance. But I cut you off, you were talking about going through your typical day. And what I want to hear especially, is what sort of meals you might have, uh, in the evening. And are you taking any supplements? Um, do you do any mindfulness stuff? Quite peaceful. Uh, reflections or anything?

Therese – I can’t say I do a lot of mindfulness things. I mean, I suppose, um, like, I like to paint, like. I think I was talking about that before. I’ve discovered that recently. Um, I suppose you could call that mindful, like it’s something I like to do. And I also, I’m a weaver. Like, I, um, have quite a few big weaving looms, like. And so that’s something else that I like to do, um, which is also quite physical, doing the weaving. Um, I don’t take any supplements at all. I mean, apart from a little bit of, um, vitamin D and K sometimes. And, um, I have an ongoing issue with my iron levels being low, so I do supplement with my iron, not every day, but I do try and, um, do that regularly. And, um, if I do have any aches or pains, I’ll take turmeric. But I never touched Nurofen anymore. Never touched Panadol. Never. Like, I just would rather, um. I mean, when I was really unwell, nothing touched the pain anyway, so it, I thought, what’s the point? So when I have the pain, if, like, I haven’t had a bad flare up for quite a few years. But, um, when I do have pain, I just ride it, ride it through and, um. Yeah. So no supplements other than those ones I mentioned. And, um, we eat at home, um, plant-based, like, I, um, for years, I was like, I was vegan, very much so. And then last year, I took a client for a week to the Great Ocean Road. I don’t know if you’ve ever done the Great Ocean Road for a week, and there’s lots of dairies and there’s lots of cheese factories. And so I had a moment where I went, ah, I’ll just have a little bit. And it’s so easy to it’s a slippery slope Clint, I’ll tell you what. And so I ended up bringing home big wheels of cheese and, and I thought, this is so wrong. This is like from every, from every angle. Like it’s just. And so that was a bit of a fall off the wagon for a few months. But we’re like, that’s no, there’s no more of that now. That’s we’ve done that. That’s gone. And we’re very much, very much a plant-based, um, household. I um, when we go out, the kids often want to have, you know, what they want to have. And I, I let them do that when we’re out, but I don’t have, um, I mean, we might have sometimes butter and eggs at home, but even I don’t really like them having that either. But then I want them to make decisions because they’re making the decision, not because I’m forbidding it. Whereas if I say, no, you’re not having that, then they’re just going to go and do it somewhere else. So I figure if I teach them what to do, then they will eventually make the right decision, you know? So, um, yeah.

Clint – Sometimes the heavy-handed just breeds rebelliousness, doesn’t it?

Therese – It does.

Clint – As opposed to a collective sort of team effort towards eating healthily. Firstly for mum and for Sam. Yeah. And then also because they have what they should understand a, a um predisposition towards autoimmunity.

Therese – And so that’s right.

Clint – Whilst you don’t want to impart a never-ending fear in them about getting the disease, you want them to need that awareness. So evening meals, have you got recipe books from not just us, but have you purchased like?

Therese – I have forks over knives. I have all of Michael Gregor’s books. Um, yeah, I follow like them all on social media. I get recipes from everywhere. Really? Um, a lot of my. Yeah, like a lot of my, um, cookbooks from before or things that I’d been making for years. I just veganized them just. You know, take out the meat, put in, you know, lentils or, um, I mean, I sometimes use plant-based meat, which are not like, they’re not ideal, but for the kids sake, I’ll sometimes use those. But, um, yeah, I don’t use oil in my cooking at all. Instead of putting oil in a pan, I’ll just use a bit of water. Um, and yeah, we’re pretty much, uh, very much, um, plant based, so I don’t cook something for them and something for me. We all have the same, like, you know, and they’re, they’re quite okay with that. Like, they might, um, they might sort of go, oh, are we having dahl again? But, um, but, you know, like, I try and mix it up and, you know, change it up. And, and John’s always been on board with the vegan, he’s vegan as well. So um, yeah, there’s he does sort of different styles, I suppose you’d call it then what I do. And um, between the two of us, you know, like he, he made some, um, killer Thai food the other night. He’s just really good, you know, that that real zingy. Like I said, I could have. I couldn’t have got anything better from the, you know, local Thai shop. I said, so between the two of us, we have a pretty good mix of, um, keeping it, keeping it interesting for the kids and for everyone. So, yeah.

Clint – You know, and this is sort of a little bit out of, out of nowhere, but, uh. The fact that you two are also very amicable and that he eats plant based as well to support you, even though you aren’t still in a relationship as such. Uh, a marriage relationship. I mean, it says a lot for the sort of anti-inflammatory anti antagonism. It just basically like you guys are sort of have a harmony together just eating gentle foods. And it’s a gentle, you know, it’s beautiful even though you didn’t work out.

Therese – It’s working really well like at the moment. Like you know he’s we he’s up one end of the house and I’m up the other end of the house and, and um, yeah. And the kids love it because they can just be in one central place, like we’re actually a little bit out of town, like probably about ten minutes, whereas I was living in town previously. So and they’re getting to that age where they want to be around their friends. And so they’re a bit like, oh, mum, I really liked it being in town because, you know, we could just walk down town and, and I said, oh, sorry about that. But um, but they don’t have to go from house to house so that, that, um, that makes me happy. So yeah, they’re a bit more, um, a bit more, um, stable. Yeah.

Clint – Well done. Um, we’ve got a few minutes left, so let me just ask you about Sam. What medications did he go through? Because I’d be shocked if he wasn’t put on meds throughout the early years. Um, and what does he currently take? How is he managing it at 23 years old now? Um, at that stage of life, I almost was in the process of creating disease, let alone trying to manage it.

Therese – Yeah, yeah. Well, he was, um, about three and a half when he was diagnosed, and within, um, three weeks he was off to Melbourne to have, um, steroid injections in his knees. He ended up with plasters on both legs because he couldn’t straighten his knee. Um, and we sort of about every 12 months, like I got, um, at, I mean, probably between within about 12 months, I probably got quite, um, nailed his diet down, like, eliminated a lot of things. And, and then, um, we, we were managing it quite well. And he was an amazing child. Like, I used to give him concoctions of supplements that if my younger children, if I handed that to them, they’d say, there is no way I’m having that, like as a young toddler. And then, you know, growing up, he would just he’d be like, okay, I’ll have it like. And it’s like he knew, okay, I’ve got to have this to, you know, help me. But nothing was, you know, out of the question. You know, I mean, I remember making him a gluten free sandwich to go to the pool and thinking, this is not nice, like, I don’t want to eat this. And I thought, you know, my poor child is. But, you know, but we we did what we had to do and it kept it at a manageable level.

Therese – And when he was, um, about five, we took him to his appointment and the rheumatologist said he was in kindergarten, first time in kindergarten. And he said, I know you’re not really keen on, um, the pharmaceuticals, but he said, if these flare ups keep happening, he said, we’re going to, you know, we’re going to have to probably look at doing that. And I thought, oh, no. And so we left that day with a script for methotrexate. And on the way home, we used to have to go to Wangaratta, which is about 2.5 hours or so from where we were the the doctor would come from Melbourne. So it’s half way and we’re driving home and John came with me that day and I said to him, we’ve, we’ve like because we’d been like looking at his diet and changing things but not really serious. And so I said to him, we have to get serious with this diet. I said, if we’re going to do it, we have to do it properly. And so, um, he had an appointment six months after that and we knuckled down. And when we went to the appointment, I hadn’t given him the methotrexate, and I was expecting the rheumatologist to test strips off me off. I was actually a little bit scared going in there because I thought, he’s going to have a go at me for not doing this. And he actually said to me, um, he’s doing really well. And he said, if you had have given him the methotrexate, he said, I’d be patting myself on the back right now. So I just sort of breathed out a very big sigh of relief and thought, okay, all right. And he said, just keep doing it. Keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll keep monitoring him. And, you know, we’ll just keep, you know, as we go along. We’ll just work out how he’s going. And we managed to keep him quite well for until he was about 14 or so. 13, 14 when it gets a bit harder to influence what your kids are going to have. And so I thought, I don’t want to be too strict on him because I don’t want him to end up with an eating disorder or something because I’m saying, you can’t eat this or you can’t eat that. So I thought, he’s going to have to, you know, he might have some hard lessons to learn when he does eat something that might react.

Therese – So, um, that was when he was about 14. He had a, um, a flare up in his ankle and. He just started his first job and he was on his feet all day at this job. And I picked him up from his work, and he was hanging on to a light pole because his ankle was so sore he could hardly wait, bear on it. And that was when, I can’t remember whether I must have had it by then. And we were due to go to Melbourne and so I’d made him an appointment around the same time as my first appointment with my rheumatologist, and I, um, I didn’t actually tell the rheumatologist that I’d been his one, that I’d been diagnosed because it was still very early stages, and I thought, I don’t want him to think I’m some crazy person who’s, you know, so I thought, I’ll just keep that to myself. And, and Sam did have an aspiration that day and injection into his ankle. And he said to me. He’s going to like he said, we can’t let things like this go. He said, you’re going to have to like, you know, do something. So and that was after that that Sam committed to doing the Paddison Program. And he has not looked back. He’s an illustrator. He’s um, he was actually homeschooled from about halfway through year seven. And so he started uni at about age 15 or I think it was 15, it could have been 16. And he’s gradually worked his way through his degree at home, and he’s got a, um, contract with an education group in New South Wales that he does illustrations for. And, and he’s just, you know, living like a, like a, you know, 20-something-year-old person should he’s on no medicines or anything, no pharmaceuticals, never has been. And um, he’s like me when he’s got a niggle he’ll take some turmeric. And, um, he said the last few months he’s had a bit of a, um, his knees been annoying him a little bit. And I said to him, you know what you have to do? And he’s like, yep, yep. He said, I’m doing the buckwheat and the quinoa. I’ve got my sweet potatoes. And because he’s living in my house, but he’s living there by himself at the moment, so he’s looking after himself and, um, he’s doing it really well. And I often think that I was ended up with rheumatoid so that I could help him manage it. And, um, you know, as much as it’s the it like, it’s a wicked disease, it’s like, I don’t know how people live with the pain of it, like, continually, or I just don’t know how they do it. So the fact that I’ve been able to educate him with thanks to your program and, um, and he’s able to control it and, you know, he’s just actually repaired my old bike and he’s off riding his bike to the swimming pool, doing laps with the swimming pool.

Therese – He and John go off and do laps together at the pool. And so, um, yeah, he’s doing really, really well. Couldn’t have hoped for anything better. So I’m very, very grateful that I did the program. And there was, you know, like because I remember saying to you in my first email to you, I know a lot about rheumatoid, like, how do I know what you’re going to tell me is something that I don’t already know. And I’m forever grateful that I took that step. And I’ve never looked back like I’m, you know, just yeah, I couldn’t, um, couldn’t be happier. Really. Like. And it’s funny how, like as a mum with 3 or 4 young little children, you have niggles and pains and you think, oh, what’s going on? And that was probably very early, early signs of joint issues. But you sort of think, oh that’s just oh that’s just, you know, it’s just I’m tired, I’m whatever. But in hindsight, it was bumbling along there. And it wasn’t until, you know, later on that it’s reared its ugly head and um, yeah, very happy to be in the place that we are now.

Clint – You give me goosebumps over and over, Therese. It’s an incredible story. Whenever I hear about children, it just digs a whole lot deeper emotionally than adults.

Therese – Yeah, absolutely.

Clint – And so you hit me in the heart with your story, and then it’s a double hit when you talk about Sam. Love to have him on the podcast, too. Let’s make that happen.

Therese – He’d love to. Come on. Yeah he would.

Clint – That would be amazing. Yeah. Um, we’re out of time. This has been absolutely wonderful. So wonderful. Thank you so much.

Clint – Thank you for having me.

Clint – Appreciate it. Really appreciate it. Awesome.

Therese – Thank you so much.

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