We discuss in this interview:

  • Carrie’s comeback to a healthy condition after really high levels of pain thanks to the Paddison Program
  • The totally debilitated state her condition put her in
  • How, after extensive research, she found the Paddison Program
  • Interactions with medications
  • Doing radical changes to the diet to achieve radical effects
  • Keeping a diary of the healing process
  • The connection between mood and healing
  • Exercising through the pain
  • Strength training
  • How RA triggers can fire up even in presence of a healthy lifestyle
  • COVID vaccine and RA
  • Spiritual practice and its benefits

Clint – Welcome back to www.RheumatoidSolutions.com, and we have a guest today who’s going to share her improvements with her rheumatoid arthritis. And we’re going to talk about spirituality, we’re going to talk about the impact of stress and emotional trauma with regards to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. We’re going to talk about lifestyle changes, the Paddison Program and how she’s been able to implement this and get tremendous results from this. Yes, it’s going to be very interesting. So welcome, Carrie from Wales.

Carrie – Thank you very much. Hi there!

Clint – Let’s hook everyone into what you’ve been able to achieve. Tell us a quick before and after, before we get into your story.

Carrie – Ok, so before progressively the pain, the inflammation was absolutely everywhere. So initially, my shoulders that spread into my wrists, that spread into my fingers, my hips, my cheekbone, my jaw, my knees, my ankles, my toes everywhere. So debilitating to the point of not being able to walk properly, couldn’t do pretty much anything for myself. Couldn’t get out of bed, had to be pulled out of bed, had to be carried down the stairs, had to be put in the shower. I mean, the pain was absolutely everywhere, the inflammation was everywhere. Lying down was almost impossible because of the pain. Sleep evaded me completely and I was constantly in pain, and I would cry a lot because the pain was overwhelming, there was no respite from it at all.

Carrie – Now 2 years on, everything is working very well. I’m walking, I’m running again, I’m a very keen runner, I can stretch. There’s a few sort of things my body doesn’t do as well as it did, but it’s I’m probably healthier certainly now than I was before, even though I was super healthy back then. So that’s the kind of black and white of it, really the before and after.

Clint – It’s extraordinary. I mean, that level of transformation is captivating to hear about. I hope everyone’s as excited as I am to hear your story for the first time. Let’s talk about the onset, I only have a few snippets of information to go with so, I’m really curious to find out about how this started.

Carrie – Ok, so in January 2019, I woke up with a really searing what I can describe as a searing pain across one of my shoulders. It felt like a bit of a running injury, it was like, Oh, this, this feels a bit tender. And then that pain spread across my chest bone, across my clavicle, and it was very, very painful. And I rang, there’s a number in the UK, you can ring just like a hotline if you like, rather than going to hospitals. So I rang this hotline and they were sort of saying this sounds like a heart complaint. So I was taken into the emergency room, put on all monitors and I was fine, and eventually, I was seen by whoever the consultant would have been on shift that evening. And he said, No, you’ve got to rotate a rotator cuff injury. So I went, OK, rotator cuff and rang my physio because I have regular physio because of my running, and she came and she treated me and all was fine for about two weeks. Then I woke up again in the morning and the pain was in my hands, it was so, so painful. My hands sure, other people might have experienced this sort of turned into clause. Then that pain spread throughout, it went across my shoulders. This was over a matter of days over across my shoulders, down into my knees, into my feet, my ankles. It was just like this rapid flow of inflammation and pain. I was working away, so I’ve still had to hobble around ridiculously, and then when I got back home, I saw an emergency doctor and they immediately asked, is there any family history of rheumatoid arthritis? And you know, no. And sort of hobbled away, and she said, Well, you’re going to have to see your own Doctor and then we can refer you. So the time that I was waiting to see the sort of what we have the family doctor here, the pain got progressively worse that’s when it went into my jaw, and my cheeks, to the point I couldn’t turn my head. I’m still driving at this point and I couldn’t turn my head to look behind me. I mean, it was just awful.

Carrie – I saw our family doctor who immediately recognized the symptoms and said, I think this is rheumatoid arthritis and sort of gave me some painkillers, and off I went and I was referred then to rheumatology. In this period, the pain got worse. I mean, I didn’t think it could get worse, but it did get worse, and everywhere hurt, that’s the best way I can describe it. I felt like I was shrinking, my life was shrinking, I was shrinking and my neighbor gave me a stick, so I was this 46-year-old woman walking with a stick. And a pain beyond description, I mean, know women have got quite a high pain threshold I thought I had, but this was like nothing else. So eventually got seen by the rheumatologist who immediately got me to do some tests. So things like taking my jacket off, trying to flex my hands got me to walk. So all the kind of motor skills that we take, so so take for granted just couldn’t do. And then he diagnosed me there and then. And instead of being relieved, I was devastated. There was a saying in the medical world, don’t google your symptoms, go to the professionals. But of course, I did, and I had and I was convinced it was rheumatoid arthritis but I knew nothing of it. And the prognosis wasn’t good, it just looked like this was my fate and I was just going to have to live with it for the rest of my life in the state that I was. The rheumatologist was very positive, he just said, people can live with this really well and medication is very good but that was it. I had a steroid injection, which was excruciating for all sorts of reasons and had no effect on me whatsoever, didn’t help at all. If anything, it made the pain worse. So in clinic on that day, I had lots of other tests, and this brilliant family doctor had referred me to other clinics an orthopedic clinic a hand clinic, a foot clinic, I mean, she was really thorough. But those tests were yet to come, that was kind of 6, 7, 8 weeks down the line

Clint – Sorry, Kerri, was that for imaging so that you could get some sort of current state x rays for comparison in the future? Or was that for therapy? Hand therapy, foot therapy, orthopedics?

Carrie – It was for hand therapy and foot therapy with a view, I suppose because I initially thought it was, Oh gosh, what’s it called? God gone completely out of my head?

Clint – Carpal tunnel?

Carrie – Carpal tunnel, Yeah, because I was wearing splints that’s how bad it was. And I thought it was carpal tunnel so I was referred to orthopedics. Thinking it was carpal tunnel and the surgeon was ready to do the op there and then, but that’s that comes later. It was carpal tunnel in the end, but that disappeared. So then what happened is I find the Paddison Program is what happens next. And that was a revelation because for me there was so much out there about reducing inflammation. I was buying books, I was going to the library, I was researching about what exercises to do. I could barely walk, let alone exercise. And so the more I read about what Paddison Program is, you’ve got so much depth on it that appealed to me because I thought, I want to get to the root of this. I really want to understand what is happening in my body and to really take responsibility for my wellness. If I’m honest, I would have done anything. The pain was that bad and I was so debilitated. If you’d said to me, you have to eat, apples for the rest of your life then I’d have done that, I was just so driven because I was in so much pain. It was changing my identity, I would be walking around, not walking around. I’d be hobbling around from just up the street and people stopping me going, You know what’s happened to you? It’s like, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s happening. So when I looked into the Paddison Program and I read the program is very thorough and detailed and encouraging. And that’s when the changes started to happen.

Carrie – I’m on medication by this point, I’ve come off painkillers. But the medication takes time, right, so for me initially I was put on Sulfasalazine and also on 25 milligrams of methotrexate and about I think it’s 5000 of Sulfasalazine.

Clint – Did you start immediately on 25 mg, did they put you immediately?

Carrie – Yes.

Clint – Interesting. Some rheumatologists like to start low and then work their way up. I’m curious to hear that you were straight on to 25, pretty aggressive.

Carrie – Absolutely. And I was taking it with just the hope it was going to give me some relief. But it took a long time, it took a very long time. So anyway, I started employing the strategies of the Paddison Program. So the first thing to go, which I stick to now was coffee. A quote, unquote coffee should be outlawed, so that came out of my diet. And that was the most difficult thing, that first 10 days that was the most difficult thing. So I was so attached to my coffee, I loved it. The thing is the change in diet wasn’t that difficult for me because I had been a vegetarian almost all my life. Just taking the dairy out wasn’t a big struggle. But it was eating foods that were very different, I suppose some of the diets, some of the foodstuffs were just a little bit different to my palate. But like I said, I would have eaten anything just to feel well,

Clint – Just to relate to you on that. Let me tell you how different it was for me too, I mean, these foods that are in the baseline period, these things, I’d barely. In fact, I don’t think I’d heard of them before I started to eat them. They came about originally through a book by Dr. Hiromi Shino, a gastroenterologist that’s when I started to learn about these foods. They’re much more common now than what they were 12 years ago when I started eating these things. But yeah, I completely agree, we’re not used to eating those foods, we’re used to eating the conventional Western diet. So it is a change, but it needs to be, doesn’t it? We need to do something radically different doing something slightly different, like going gluten free or just eliminating processed foods, you’re only going to get a slight improvement, we’ve got to do something radical against a radical disease. The intervention needs to match the problem.

Carrie – Absolutely, and that was my driver. That was really my drive on the baseline foods that those first 10 days. And celery juice that was I’m still drinking the celery juice because I just trusted it, I just trusted the program and I trusted you and I trusted the science behind it because I read and I read and I read and I read and I read over and over again to absorb it so it would become almost like second nature, rather than going, why am I eating this steamed sweet potato again? I would have that science and I’m not a sciencey person, but I would have the science to go it’s because of this, it’s because your stress has led you to have a leaky gut and now your body is inflaming because of it. And that kept me going, even though I was kind of watching everyone around me eating pizza and knocking back the wine, and I was there with my little bowl of salad and my bits of broccoli going, Oh my God, this is so, so challenging. But like you say, something really radical happens in your body you’ve got just yield and go, OK, what do you need? What can I give you?

Clint – So how did things shift for you?

Carrie – So quite quickly, really, within the first 2 months. In March, I started looking at the program. March, April, May, June, so by about June, I was starting to sleep again. And I kept what I call a healing diary. I’ve got it here and I was reading it earlier going my Goodness and I don’t know if this is useful to share, but I document the following I document my sleep, my pain on awakening, my diet. So I would make myself write down what I was eating. My exercise, if any, you know, even if that was just walking to the end of the street or getting on a static bike. My medication, what I’d taken that day if any. And most importantly, my mood, so I made this healing diary and I would start to look at. So if I’d eaten, if I’d really stuck to the program, my sleep would be better. If I come off the program a little bit and just gone, I really fancy something sweet, and then that would affect. So I’m starting to really chart through my healing diary. What was affecting what and how that was affecting my mood? And it’s really interesting reading back through it, just like, well, I was really faithful there, my pain levels were just the information was coming down. But that was only one approach, I felt I really needed to start feeling like myself. So the exercise thing, I would take myself to be taken to the gym and hobble in, and I would swim and hate it, I’d go on the static bike and it was Ok, I’d go into the sauna and it was nice. To me it was just all about this thing I had going round and round in my head about, you need oxygenated blood and it must have been something you said, but I need oxygenated blood. I don’t know how I’m going to do that, but I’m just going to start to walk a little bit further. However painful that is, I’m just going to walk a little bit further. I live in a suburb of Cardiff, the capital 0f Wales, there’s lots of green spaces. So I would just take myself out and not force myself to walk, but just to walk through the pain, which felt counterintuitive at the time. But at the end of that walk, I would just feel that little bit more I don’t know a bit more color in my cheeks, a little bit lifted. That was enough and then I’d be exhausted, you know, and have to rest.

Carrie – Then my mother died in the middle of all of this, and that’s a whole other story, I think that for me was when I really started to heal properly in the sense of I had time, I was no longer running around, I could take time off work. But the big, big turning point, as well as the medication and the diet. For me, the big one was when I had a new contract in my job and I had to walk every day, 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back. And I would do it, and I just thought, I’m going to do it, I’m going to get my trainers on and I’m going to walk no matter what. And if I get to the other end and I’m exhausted, then fine. That for me, was the turning point within one month of that consistent walking, not power walking not my usual 100 miles an hour got to be there. Within 1 month, the pain had gone, all the inflammation had just come right down. So by November, if I was showing symptoms in January, by November, my pain had gone completely.

Clint – It’s extraordinary.

Carrie – Really extraordinary. For me that was the key. The diet? Absolutely. To clean up, absolutely to take coffee and to take all the not so good stuff, absolutely. But that for me was the real key because my heart rate was up. I was moving my body in a different way, and it was incredible. I saw my Rheumatologist about it must have been a week after I finished that contract and he was there expecting me to hobble in and he just went, what have you been doing? This is incredible. And I said, well, I’ve had a radical change of diet and yada yada and sort of had the conversation about it. But you know, you couldn’t get rid of, you know, wanted to get rid of me, it was like, you’re fine, you know, get out of my office. So that was the first sort of how many months is that that’s what, 11, yeah, about 11 months. And that spurred me on then that really spurred me on to go, Oh my God, this is what I need to do then is, yes keep my diet as flexible as I can with the odd treat. But keep moving, keep walking, just keep that blood pumping around my veins.

Clint – I love it. So a couple of studies to support this. One is something I put up in a podcast a couple of months ago. To refresh memories, it was a study where folks with rheumatoid arthritis who were quite elderly actually, I think that they were decades older than us. We’re about the same age you and I. And they were put on a treadmill and they were only on the treadmill twice a week, all they had to do was walk, but they had to walk for half an hour, exactly what you’re doing half an hour. At times throughout the half an hour, they had to increase their walking to within 80 to an 80% level of their maximum heart rate, which if you go up a hill, for example, if you’re on your walk, you start to go uphill. You might reach 70 to 80%, right? So kind of mimicking what you were doing every single day and they got statistically relevant reductions in CRP, inflammation, the joint range of motion. So just that can and that was twice a week. Right? You’re going, you’re walking five days a week, that’s number one. Okay? Number two, what we know from the blue zones from Dan Buettner is work with National Geographic or around the world where people are the most centurions, I mess up that word, but they live 100 or more. Those folks have in common amongst mostly vegetarian diet, strong social influence of family, respect through their elderly years so that the elderly folks are also useful and contribute to the community. Amongst those things, one other factor was that they lived in hilly terrain, not all, but a lot. Therefore they were frequently walking up and down, walking, walking, walking. And so whilst you’re in Cardiff, it may not have the same hills that I’m describing here, but there’s this concept of activity and not relying on artificial transport to get from A to B, but to physically be moving a lot. And so, it’s just really reaffirming what we know and what my intuition is and what we observe in both the walking study and blue zones and long life that we’re designed to be active, aren’t we? And if we look at Dr Michael Gregor, when interviewed him, he’s on a treadmill while he does his interviews for his podcast, right? And he just studies the human body and health as a profession. He doesn’t sit down for his interviews he’ll get on a treadmill. So I think that this is a really, really crucial point that we all need to spend a little bit more time emphasising in our lives. And, thank you for discovering it yourself to the emphatic level that you did.

Carrie – Absolutely. And I think, to go a step further than that,I was a runner for nearly 20 years and I was really nervous about running, I was really, really nervous. And you know, you and I had a conversation about it and I spoke to other people, you know, I was part of a running club and all of that, I was very nervous about putting my body back into that place of running. And it was last summer so this would have been June 2020 where I just got that kick to go, let’s just see what happens, let’s just see. Because I was thinking of my joints, but I felt OK. But prior to this, and I think this is really, really key. I was doing, I don’t know what it’s called it’s supposed strength training, select core fitness. Just following, he’s a bit of a hero in the UK. Joe Wicks. He was a fitness sort of not a guru, wouldn’t call himself that, but fitness expert. He just puts up free of charge on YouTube workouts for every level so you can have beginners and the hit routines. Building muscle, building up strength, core strength. And I did that for about six weeks in preparation, thinking, let’s just see what my body does. It hasn’t run, it’s walked, but it hasn’t run. It hasn’t done press ups, it hasn’t done a lot of the things that he was getting me to do and I thought, I’ll just see how it feels. It was hard work, it was really, really hard going. But after those 6 weeks, I thought, OK, I’ve got a basic core fitness now and a confidence more importantly. And I went for my first run and it was incredible, I mean, it was just incredible that I was almost crying, going wow, how amazing my body is responding. And I didn’t go hell for leather, I was very sensible it was a jog, it wasn’t a sprint. I’ve been running ever since, you know, taking care not going crazy. I run 10K and 5K building up to a half marathon again. I think there’s so much culture around, running is bad for you. And I think, of course, case by case, if you’ve got other kind of stuff going on or you don’t want to injure yourself. I do take care of myself in that in that sense, I do stretch, I look at what I need to do to be able to live well with my running at my age. But I think I was so discouraged initially when I was going to different clinics for things and having foot scans and then going, Oh yeah, I can tell you’re an athlete, you know, you’ve got something not quite right about your feet and you just kind of inwardly eye-rolling going. You can’t tell somebody that they can’t run. But I listen to them, I just thought, OK, they’re the experts maybe I shouldn’t run. And then, of course, you’ve guided me back to born to run. So, it was great just to be able to, I’m in charge here, it’s my body. I know what I need to do. I love running because I love running and I and it’s good for my mental health, it’s good for me to get out and to then really enjoy that feeling when you come back and you’re warming down and ready for the day and your head is clear.

Clint – Running is just exhilarating, running is something that I do miss. I can scamper around a little bit. Now I had a knee replacement a year and a half ago, and that put a big stop into any kind of. I couldn’t run before that so like, it hasn’t exactly ended my running prowess, But I’m cautious on a prosthesis, whatever it is in the knee that I just don’t want to dislodge any of the what’s going on there. But a couple of things there was a study, and I’ll link to this in the show notes, so I’ve made a list of things we need to link to. I’m going to link to a book The Blue Zones, I’ll link to that book. I’ll link to the walking study with rheumatoid arthritis. We’ll link to Born to Run, one of my favorite books ever. And I will link to this study, which is a study that was done split a group of people with osteoarthritis in their knees into two different groups, and one they made them run or they allowed them to run. And those folks who were running for a long period, too, they studied them after 6 to 12 months or so of their, frequent running and those with osteoarthritis in the knees who were running did not experience any further degradation or worsening of their osteoarthritis in their knees than those who did not. And so osteoarthritis is not aggravated through running, and I think that’s a really reassuring study and something that we need to kind of take account of when we think about, putting ourselves through these sort of closer to the limits of our body.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

Clint – I remember our conversation now, you were on one of our small group meetings. I was for a couple of months there, I arranged a group of just myself and 5 sort of guests or people in our small group, and we did a Zoom meeting. We got together and we just spent 20 minutes each person right? We went around and we said, Where are you at? What are we going to do as a group? We contributed and we solved problems and created strategy. And I love that and I’ll actually start doing that again soon, that was that was a big success. I got so much good feedback about that and it was really valuable. And I remember now, you said and the group were like, Wow, well, because you were saying, Hey, I’ve come so far and I remember everyone being so sort of excited for you. And then you said, I’m thinking about running again, and we just went through a few checklists, didn’t we? And I remember saying to you, You’re good to go, go for it. Go, Yeah, see how you go. And I remember that conversation and it was a very interesting conversation.

Carrie – Yeah, I think that was the boost I needed just that encouragement because, you know, previous to that, I’d be like, Oh, be careful. Ooh. And someone just to say, Go for it, see what happens, your body will tell you. And I thought, Yeah, of course I’ve been listening to my body for the last 18 months, I’ve got a pretty good ear for it now.

Clint – Well, and right, yeah, you really do. We have a heightened awareness of our body, don’t we? So by contrast, sorry, when I tore my ACL, which led originally to my problems with my left knee, which is where the rheumatoid went and all that. It was because I had no body awareness and I ran out and played touch football with my buddies after not having done any form of cardio activity for years. No stretching, nothing. And out I went with no body awareness and it tore my ACL, which set me up for a nightmare RA experience. So yeah, it’s the opposite, isn’t it? When we’re in pain, we’re doing dietary changes and we’re really in tune. So back over to you, and I’ll remain quiet for a little and let you resume.

Carrie – Where should we go from?

Clint – What brought this all on? Tell us how did this start? Because you’re a runner, mostly plant based for a long time. I mean, what caused this?

Carrie – I think what caused it, it was a period in my life where my mother had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia. And what happened, what happens is different systems in different countries, but the culture within the UK, I suppose, is that you try and keep that person at home for as long as possible because their sense of orientation, their sense of familiarity is diminishing. So you want to keep them at home. And with that she had carers coming in, but myself and my older brother were the ones going in the most and me, to be honest, going in the most. My brother had a full-time job, I’m a freelancer, so I was going in a lot. And with that comes an enormous amount of stress. whilst I’m still trying to hold down various contracts and a lot of my work is away. It was just this build up, and at the time, when I look back at it, it was insane what I was having to do, you know, getting up really early, driving to work, running a full day’s rehearsal I work in theater, driving back, caring for my mum, coming back home, cooking a meal for everyone, and then on repeat. So that level of stress and that level of worry over 8 years. I think it was very significant that the day she had to be moved into a nursing home, so nursing home in the UK means end of life. So she was, you know, sort of coming to the end of her life. And I think my body, my mind and my body, I can remember going to bed that night and the day she was admitted. Going, I’ve lost, not I’ve won. I’ve got her that it was like, I have lost, I have failed, she’s in a nursing home. Just that level of no encouragement to myself, just real like you failed, it was very painful the timeline is so interesting. It was 10 days later, I then woke up with this searing pain in my left shoulder, and I think that level of stress is just not sustainable. There I was, thinking I would get my life back, whatever that means, and here I was presented with this. So for me, the connection, the massive trigger initially I thought was something to do with my hormones. I remember asking the rheumatologist, You know, I’m a woman of a certain age, could this be connected to menopause? And he just dismissed it completely. So I kind of just didn’t delve into any more of that. But for me, once I worked out that timeline, I went and was not small wonder, I think started to happen in my body because that level of stress, it was like my body had just gone enough, that’s enough, that’s enough. You’ve really got to start taking care of yourself.

Clint – When we’re also going through those, I mean, that transitional period of moving her into permanent care. That itself also tends to be a period where we’re not eating as mindfully with carefully prepared meals and so on. That time is probably just grab something on the go and you may have been holding onto a thread of pre autoimmunity. And that thread may have just been broken by just even less mindful eating and whole foods and then all of the additional stress on top of it.

Clint – We won’t dwell on that too much because it’s a little emotionally painful for you and so forth, and you did lose your mum and so on But I think it just goes to show about how much these events, these traumatic experiences, and sad experiences can impact us in life. I do want to also pick up the fact that you and this is completely out of flow of our conversation, but we fail to mention that you have reduced your sulfasalazine. And your doctor is happy, not your rheumatologist has said they don’t need to see you for a long period of time. From a medical pharmaceutical viewpoint, can you also update us to compare to your initial maximum dose of methotrexate and sulfasalazine?

Carrie – The methotrexate, I know that’s now gone down to 20 milligrams per week, and for reasons which we can go into later, I perhaps stop taking methotrexate for a couple of weeks, which we can come back to. The Sulfasalazine for me, it was just getting to the point where I was just starting again, going back to listening to the body. The last time I spoke to the rheumatologist, he said, look, we could look at halving this. So I said, OK, so that was halved. And I really started to think about it’s wanting to know my body as it is. The medication, I’m not advocating coming off medication for coming off medication’s sake. But there was something in me that was going, I’m not sure if I need this anymore. And that’s quite a radical thing to say, and again, I wouldn’t say to anybody in what was my position to go, Yeah, just come off the meds, it’s easy. There was just something in me that was going on. I’m feeling so well, I’m going to see what happens this will be an experiment for a month. And I thought I’ll review after a month, so I was halving it and then quartering it very slowly. And then I did that incrementally over 6 months and have felt fine. I’ve still kept the methotrexate by the way. And so when I last spoke to the rheumatologist, he said, yeah that’s fine, that’s fine, but you know, if you need it, you can go back onto it. It’s like, Right, OK? So I’ve been off sulfasalazine probably about 10 months now, and that feels great. that feels good. But I also at the same time said, OK, if you’re going to do that, then you have to really be vigilant about what you’re eating and really vigilant, and remember that you have you still got this. It’s not completely gone away, you’re still on methotrexate so don’t think, well, we’re hey, I’m out of the woods. So in a way, that was the deal I made with myself going, Okay, if you’re going to take responsibility for lowering your meds with your rheumatologist, you’ve really got to be mindful about what you’re eating and how you’re living, and that was the payoff for me. So that’s the story.

Carrie – In terms of the methotrexate, I think the medication is very good and it’s worked really well for me. I have a long-term goal, coming off it completely, but at the moment, that’s not an option. Rheumatologists has been very clear about that, he said you need to be not having had a flare for 2 years, which is the position I’m in, I haven’t had a flare for 2 years. And he said, You know, I’m not going to see you now for another year we’ll talk about it then. So it’s like, Alright, OK,

Clint – That’s fair enough. Whether or not my opinion matters is irrelevant. But just I just like to say that I think you’re your rheumatologist has said a lot of good things. Now sometimes we hear some crazy stuff like diet doesn’t matter. You will definitely be on medications for life. The first statement, diet doesn’t matter which we hear a lot, is just downright ignorance. And just almost malpractice when someone’s in a position of treating people with rheumatoid arthritis, which is driven by a gut disorder. The studies have come out in the last few months, with several of which I’ll be sharing shortly. I just so emphatically in describing what I’ve been talking about for the last 12 years. And then the second part of that is nothing’s for life, really, except sort of taxes, right? Saying that you’ll be on medications for life when some of the medications are so quickly removed from a patient’s regime when they have suffer from massive side effects. I mean, even if the patient never changed their diet, but they couldn’t tolerate the meds, so they had to go med free as an example where someone is not on medications for the rest of their life. And whilst most people are in the past, more so even it just puts in the mind of the patient that they are therefore stuck with this medication mindset, and whilst it is again most common. It doesn’t empower the patient, that’s what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t empower a better statement would be, we have medications which are developing every year and becoming more and more sophisticated and effective at reducing inflammation, and they are there to the extent that you need them. If your lifestyle interventions only get you so far and your lifestyle interventions should be ABCDE here, take this book that Clinton eventually going to publish that’s on my shelf and you can go and read this. And then we have here a whole cabinet full of options for you, of which statistically you will probably need one or more to keep you symptom-free. However, I have seen patients and I have read about and now understand that not everyone requires the medications to remain symptom-free. Now that should be the complete picture, and I don’t want anyone to grab a little clip out of there and take it out of context. The full explanation there is because it’s a subtlety, isn’t it? And when we hear statements from an authority, they sink deep into our subconscious and demotivate us. We want to be empowered, we need the power and feel the power and the confidence. Because it’s one hellish disease, we want to be as positive as what realistically we can be without being misled or having the wrong expectations.

Carrie – Yeah. Yeah. Couldn’t agree more. Absolutely right.

Clint – Great work, Carrie. You have done sensational. Let’s talk about COVID before we wrap this up. First of all, did you react to the vaccinations?

Carrie – No, not at all. So I was given the Pfizer vaccine. The only reaction I had was the swollen arm, which went down, and then the second shot I had, it was just a feeling of very being feeling very tired when on the same evening I had it and slept that off, the sore arm went down and no side effects at all. So that was good.

Clint – I had the exact same drug, the same experience. No, nothing other than a sore arm, a little bit of tiredness. You got COVID, when did you get it?

Carrie – I’ve been really careful. In the UK, we had a system called shielding, so people that were quote-unquote clinically vulnerable or on immunosuppressants were encouraged by the Welsh Government to shield, meaning stay at home. Not so much, you can leave the house, but don’t go into this was before the vaccine had come in. Don’t go into areas where there are other people. So I got into this culture of I am extremely vulnerable to this virus. And then lockdown was lifted, shielding was lifted and then shielding was brought back in again as numbers soared in the UK, so I’ve been really careful. Once I was back out in the world, I was masked up, I was sanitizing my hands, doing all the stuff that we do to keep safe. And then I’ve gone out to a gig here. It’s a big gig, but I was extremely careful I had a mask of sanitizing my hands, I kept well away from other people, I enjoyed the gig, I came home and felt fine, the weekend came the usual sort of stuff. And the I was due to go away to work, and I didn’t feel very well and thought, I’ll just do a little test. We have tests, lateral flow tests. Yeah, I did a lateral flow and it was positive. I thought, OK, well, this could be a false negative, I’ll take it a step further and have a PCR test, which is a more in-depth test, came back positive. And I just sat with it for about an hour, going, OK, this is going to be interesting. I have COVID and my immune systems compromised. I hadn’t had a cold nothing in the 2 years I’ve been on methotrexate, so it was really like, Whoa, where’s this going? What’s going to happen? I didn’t become very, very ill, and I became like, as if like the way I’ve described it, it’s like a very heavy cold mix with a very bad hangover. And no sense of taste, no sense of smell, and just very heavy, just feeling very, very heavy. So I rested for the first 5 days, did very little, which was awful for me. That was just that was worse than actually just having to rest and just watch telly, read and whatever. And then after about 7 or 8 days, starting to feel a little bit better, but it took me about 2 weeks to recover completely. And today I can say 2 days ago, 3 days ago, I was not feeling great and now I’m completely back to normal.

Clint – This is really recent.

Carrie – So this was what are we first day? So this was two days ago I was starting to feel like, Oh my god, is this ever going to go away? And then quite literally, overnight I woke up and went, Oh, I don’t. I feel like myself again. Started to eat things, smell things, taste things. So it kind of went in with a bang and went out with a bang. I’ve recovered very well, but interestingly, within this, I rang rheumatology department here and said, look I’m seeking some advice I’ve got Covid what should I do? Eventually somebody got back to me, said, OK. Talk us through how are you feeling? We’re going to advise you as you’re OK. No shortness of breath? No, I said, I’m just feeling very, very like I’ve got a heavy cold. So they advised me to come off methotrexate for a two-week period just to give my immune system a chance to fight it off, and that’s what’s happened. So I am now. week 2 of being off methotrexate and I feel fine. No flares so far.

Clint – It has a long lag. If you were not to resume it, it might take a few months before you notice if any symptoms return. So have a drink of water, and then what we’ll do is I do want to ask you about your Buddhism before we closeout. So let’s give that some attention and some air time because it has played a role for you. So let’s talk about that.

Carrie – Ok, so the simplest way I can describe it, really, so I’ve bee a Buddhist for about 26, 27 years. And how I use my Buddhist practice is to, if you like, I suppose the way I would describe it to somebody is it’s a practice of not meditation, it’s a practice of chanting. And I don’t know if you’ve seen the Tina Turner film, but it’s Tina Turner, what’s love got to do with it. You’ll see her chanting. What the practice does is it allows us, I suppose, to bring forth all our courage, our compassion, our wisdom, and our life force. So we’re not chanting to something external. We’re chanting to bring out something that’s inherently in us. Which where faith comes in, I suppose, is we are revealing our happiest, strongest, most authentic self. Which sounds quite out there, I imagine to somebody listening to this, but it’s a practice of self-reflection. And it’s a practice of bringing forth happiness from within ourselves. So we’re not looking to anything external, it’s really about bringing forth our own wisdom rather than, like I said, praying to an external force or being. So with the process of chanting for me comes a lot of realizations. And one of the properties of this practice is bringing forth this innate wisdom, and courage, I guess. And for me, the wisdom was to go, OK, I’ve looked at diet, I’ve looked at my lifestyle, I’ve looked at my stress levels, I’ve looked at my exercise, I’ve looked at the whole shebang. But what’s my inner chant? How am I treating myself? How am I tackling the stuff? What’s the stuff I need to change to become well again.

Clint – So all those things are really are incredibly important. But what’s really underneath all of this that could have triggered this? I’m not saying that in a mystical way. I think when we talk about Buddhism, we hear this word karma, and it’s something I’ve had I’ve done in a past life, it’s not that at all. It’s about very much the present and about how we’re treating ourselves. And for me, I think, I’m a pretty high achiever, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but realist at the same time. I just started to notice how I had been really treating myself. So when you’re living life at 90 miles an hour, you don’t really stop to go, what is the inner voice? And for me, the inner voice was the critic.

Carrie – That’s not good enough, you haven’t done that properly, you failed at that, you’re not achieving as much as you should be. You’re there. I mean, it was only because I’d stopped because as I said, I’m starting to recognize it and go, Oh my God, I wouldn’t speak to anyone the way I speak to myself. So the process of chanting for me was transforming that. It has been with me since childhood, really, of this almost I was at war with myself rather than gently encouraging myself and gently supporting myself, it was just this awful, awful. I don’t know if that makes sense, but part of the healing was so connected to changing that inner critic. And I suppose starting to really warmly encourage myself so when I could take two steps further out of the house, well done, Bravo, you’ve done it, this is incredible well done. Rather than but you didn’t walk to the end of the road like you could have the old voice, you know? So the healing within that was, I think, so connected to that sense of becoming my own best friend. Because it’s quite a lonely condition, rheumatoid arthritis, I find it quite lonely I didn’t know anybody with it. And so, my support systems are fantastic here but actually, ho was I really treating myself? And I think just transforming that inner critic was so, so key for my peace of mind, for moving forward, for thought because it’s a rocky road, right? It’s not a straight-line healing at all. My practice of Buddhism allows me to return back to that place of compassion and wisdom and courage and life force. You know, it brings forth a great sense of life force which is vava voom and enjoyment and the ability to feel joy. And that’s why I practice it just this incredible tool I have to bring forth that joy even when things are really, really tough, that’s there at my disposal. And I think that’s what’s kept me going.

Clint – It’s fascinating, and beautiful, and insightful. Sort of wrapping this up in a nice kind of conclusion kind of few statements here. If a lot of people in your position would have went into a deep downward spiral, here you are you’ve moved your mum into her sort of end-of-life care. You’ve spent so much energy to avoid that and to care for her at home, and you’ve watched her mental deterioration. It’s a sad time. It’s a sort of one of those sort of milestones in life that all of us have to cross one-day, losing parents. You have gone through that, then you’ve been hit with one of the worst diseases that you can possibly get. One of the doctors I saw said of all the diseases, I would not want to get, rheumatoid arthritis is at the top of my list. He said that to me, young guy wasn’t much older than me at 31 when I was diagnosed. And you’ve had all this come at the same time within 10 days of each other, you know? And then that’s come on you were, as you said, being carried around. The joint pain you described was systemic. And then here you are now, sharing a transformational story, and you’re glowing, and you’re running, and you’re decreasing medications. You’ve reconnected with yourself with your spiritual practice, and it is now more meaningful for you and has more impact positively on you than it used to over the last few decades of practicing it. Now you’re inspiring other people with what you’ve achieved and you’re on a trajectory of continual improvement with two years being asymptomatic. Your doctor doesn’t need to see you for another year. Life’s good.

Carrie – Yeah, I never thought I would be in this position in those darkest of days, and there were many dark days. Specifically just not being able to have hope. And I think, anyone that’s listening to this or is going through or finds this somewhere along the line in their journey, there is hope, there’s a lot of hard work, but there is hope. When I look back at myself and just looking back at my healing diary today, Oh my God! I never thought I would be able to have got through this, I thought that was it, I was just going to be on my stick, barely walking for the rest of my life. My God, it takes effort but it is so worth it. And I think I hear what you’re saying about the doctor that you saw saying of all the diseases, I wouldn’t want to get rheumatoid arthritis, I agree with him, but at the same time, it’s been a gift because it’s allowed me to reassess every area of my life. And it’s a constant reminder not to spiral into that stressful lifestyle again. So it’s awful, the diagnosis was devastating, but for me at the time I think I remember thinking, OK, you’ve got to make this the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Because otherwise, you won’t get through it. You just won’t get out of bed. I didn’t believe that at the time, but I was trying to tell myself if I can get to the point in my heart that I’m going to make this the best thing that ever happened to me. Then that’s my choice, that’s the only choice I have.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

Clint – Even if we don’t ever quite get there, and I don’t think I will ever get there, I don’t think I don’t know, but I don’t know how many sort of wonderful stories like yours that I feel that I may have partially contributed to will ever add up to the amount of life-ending despair, and agony, and darkness that I’ve been through. And the relationship impact it has with my wife. So we just can’t go and eat like pigs at the local restaurant and bring the kids and let them with, you know, it’s always it’s omnipresent or it’s like it’s something that is just part of how we live. But as I say that I also hear an inner voice saying, Yes, it is, It is, it is worth it. Because what would I be doing with my life if it wasn’t, I will be just telling jokes at pubs and doing the odd performance internationally where I feel, Oh, that’s cool I did an international job. I come home and then I think, Okay, where’s my next gig as a stand-up? Or would I be working in fiber optics and which is my education and getting a good wage? But like die without really doing anything other than contributing to high-tech components that go into undersea networks. And yeah, that’s cool. And so, we don’t know do we really, all we’ve got is to concentrate on what we owe our set of cards, and where do we go from here. How do we interpret it the most positive, even if it’s not hey, rheumatoid has been the greatest gift, even if we never get that far, at least we can say, look at the positives of what it has given me. Look at the connections we’ve made, the community that we made. Look at the insights into health that may have saved one of our family member’s life by seeing the way we have to eat and they eat like that and they don’t die of heart disease or they don’t get cancer, we’ll never know. We won’t know because there’s no control and variable, there’s just the one person and we don’t know what they’ve avoided or decisions they’ve made as a result of what we’ve done. So it’s a fascinating sort of mind, sort of experiment is to how good has it been, how good or not. But we can only just say there’s definitely positives in it, even if we have to dig for them. In the case of you and I, when we’re talking about this, we can find them quickly. And some people who are in the darkness at the moment listening to this thing, and I can’t think anything positive about this. You have to think harder and more subtly, and I think more subtly about what if I had to find a few good things about what’s come out of this? Could there be, at least, could it be that I’ve become more inquisitive about lifestyle choices? Is it that I’ve discovered podcasting? I can understand an Australian accent a little bit better or whatever it might be, right? Whatever it might be, as small as there are some little tiny good things are coming from it if we get it.

Clint – So Carrie, you and I could talk all day. Let’s wrap it up there. I gave my little overview earlier of how great I think your outcome has been. I’m very grateful for you to share this and keep on the discipline path. And all is well and thank you very much.

Carrie – Thank you, Clint. It’s been an absolute pleasure, thank you. And it has to be said without you Clint, I wouldn’t be in the state I’m in. I think, one of my big prayers at the time were to find the person who had the best knowledge of my condition and you are him and to you, I have a huge debt of gratitude. And I think, you’ve made it your mission in life to help. I don’t know how many people with our RA, and that is extraordinary. I think about all the people that you’re going to help in the future, and the Paddison Program will be the Go-To treatment, as you know, alongside others. And I’m so grateful to you. Thank you.

Clint – Thanks, Carrie, that’s beautiful. Thank you for taking it all and running with it. Literally. It’s great.

Clint Paddison

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