We discuss in this interview:
- Linda’s great improvements with the Paddison Program after her RA diagnosis in 2019
- The benefits of an active lifestyle
- Her experience with steroids and different medications
- Rheumatologists with different ‘styles’
- Microcurrent therapy
- Tapering high-dose steroids and getting off them altogether
- The importance of the support from the community
- Approaching family members the right way
- Reiki practice
Clint – My guest today is Linda and she lives in central Florida, actually not too far from where my in-laws live in Orlando. She’s going to talk today about her massive improvements to not just rheumatoid arthritis, but to her life in general. In a way by switching to a low-fat plant-based diet with additional aspects like improvements to exercise regimes, outdoor sun exposure, and all sorts of things that involve basically an improved life. Therefore, better health and lower disease symptoms. She also mentioned to me before we started, she had a few butterflies in her stomach. Then I said, Linda, don’t think that this is about you and the spotlight’s on you and that you can make any mistakes because this is about helping people. There are people who watch this show, maybe newcomers or people who have been watching this show for a long period of time, who need help or who want some insights or who want some tips or who just sometimes need encouragement. We just give the most of ourselves and think about them and say, what else can we share that can help our audience? This touched the right part of Linda and she’s ready to share. It’s a pleasure, Linda, to have you with me today.
Linda – Thank you so much, Clint. It’s an honor to be here, thank you.
Clint – Give us this sort of before and after quick snapshot before we dive deep into your story.
Linda – I was diagnosed in September of 2019, and before I was diagnosed with RA, I was extremely active. I’ve always been a very active person and I grew up with three brothers. With that, you can imagine that I was all about sports and exercise has always been a way of life for me. It’s not just what I did, but what my life is. It was fitness, health, and eating right were always incorporated into it. Before when I was diagnosed, I was coaching youth soccer. I was actually a youth soccer coach, my son, since the time he was four years old. By the time that I started getting symptoms, he was about maybe seven or eight years old. I was like almost my fourth year into coaching youth soccer when I started getting symptoms in 2019. So again, 2019, I was diagnosed and just going from one rheumatologist to another just trying to find answers and not wanting to go on methotrexate or any of the harsh medication. From day one, I’ve always wanted to find a holistic way, a natural way to try and not make it go away. It is because I knew that it’s an autoimmune disease, so you’re going to have it forever. However, I just didn’t want to go on that medication. Finally, in 2021 or last year, I learned of the Paddison Program in April. Ever since then, I’ve been able to get off the steroids and I’ve been in hardly any flare-ups unless I come off the program and I eat something I’m not supposed to. But for the most part, I don’t even have flare-ups anymore. I’m back to exercising again, but I don’t coach anymore because my son is a lot older. He is in competitive soccer now and stuff, but it was a joy that I was able to do it then. But the R.A. really hit me hard only because I was always so active and then I couldn’t be active anymore or I couldn’t do those things anymore.
Clint – How’s your activity level now compared to before?
Linda – It was great compared to how I was just a year ago. Around this time I’m again, I’m exercising again and I’m able to do things. It took a long time for me to get my strength back because I still can’t do the things that I used to do before. For the reason that RA still does take a toll on your muscles. Then I try to do exercise because it is just so important. Also in speaking with my doctor or my general doctor, I had asked her, did I have RA? Why are the symptoms coming up now? I think in 2019 that means I was 52 or 53 years old. She said that when women, especially women when exercise, it increases their bone density. With you always being weightlifting or running or being so active, the symptoms probably didn’t start till later. Usually, it comes like when you’re younger or in the 40s and such, or at least that’s what she explained. But she says that being I’ve always been exercising, the symptoms probably came up a little bit later than someone that’s sedentary or that doesn’t exercise as much. It would have come maybe sooner because their joints would have really been affected. I’m glad I can exercise again and that’s just the one thing. It’s just so, so important.
Clint – Oh, absolutely. There is no harm in there is no harm and only benefit from having done a lot of exercise before the diagnosis. There’s no doubt about it. The fitter we are, the stronger we are, the less pain we have and the less likely we are to develop problems, I believe, putting injuries aside. How do you feel now? I mean, the goal that I hope for everyone is complete confidence and control over their condition. How much confidence and control have you got over your autoimmune condition?
Linda – I feel I have such great confidence in this because. I just knew, even though I didn’t understand it very well. The first rheumatologist I went to, I said, What is rheumatoid and is it just that I have arthritis? Then I just take medication for arthritis? She said, No, it’s an autoimmune disease and you’re going to basically have this forever. Then I asked her, how did I get this and why is this happening? Then she said, it just happens to people. No explanation, no anything, and you’re just one of the unlucky ones. With that, I didn’t accept that because I didn’t want to. I just kept going through the thoughts of what did I do to my body? Yes, I was really busy and I was working. Then your parenting, doing sports, and your days are just so busy. Then a lot of times you’re not eating right because you’re just eating on the go and you’re just careless. I thought if this was something that I did to my body, I did this to me. I just knew that there was something that I need to do and I didn’t want to accept that this was just the way I was going to be forever. I was barely moving and every time I’ve taken a step it was so painful. Also, I couldn’t open jars because it was just very painful and I didn’t want to accept it. But I knew that there was something better, that there was something that I can do. I just didn’t know what it was and it took a really long time for me to find out. I’m glad that I did in time, but I didn’t give up. I didn’t give up realizing that there was something that I can do.
Clint – How long were you taking steroids? What dosage of steroids? Can you talk about your symptoms as well? Where were you affected? What was the worst and how bad did things get?
Linda – When I first started feeling symptoms in April of 2019, I was on the soccer field and it was getting harder for me to run around. There was a lot of pain in my toes and it all started in the toes. I’m not really one to wear high heels, so I knew it wasn’t heels. I just thought something was happening, maybe arthritis or something. I went to my doctor and she sent me to a podiatrist. I went to a podiatrist and they said that it was my arch. They said I needed special shoes, especially since I do so many sports and I spent hundreds of dollars on different x-rays and stuff. The pain was getting worse and I would buy pads for the metatarsal area and just spend money on different types of shoes. When the pain started going up my ankles, up to the knees, and my elbows started to hurt. By this time it’s like, May or June or two months later, I started feeling a little stiffness in my fingers. Then I said, this is really weird and I knew something was not right. I went back to my doctor and I told her my symptoms. Then in July, she did some blood work with my general doctor. Then in August, I went in to see her and she said that my rheumatoid factor was 79. Then she said between 1 and 100, that’s quite high and she wanted me to go see a rheumatologist. Then I made an appointment with a rheumatologist and I went to see her in September and that’s when she also drew more blood. Then she said that my rheumatoid factor is extremely high and she put me on methotrexate. I didn’t know what that was and I’ve never heard of it or anything. She was also prescribed 20 milligrams of Rayos. Now Rayos is prednisone, but it’s time relief so that you take it at night. By the time you wake up in the morning, you’re not in pain and you can walk around. However, what was happening is I would wake up in the morning and I couldn’t even step on. I couldn’t even walk because it was too painful. By September, my joints were hurting so bad I couldn’t cook and I couldn’t hold anything. It was just the pain just wasn’t there because it’s just in your entire body or it’s just everywhere. Your collarbone shoulders and it’s the same pain throughout. It’s not just that the feet just hurt or just the collarbone or just the shoulder hurt. Then you’re just sleeping all day because you’re exhausted and you’re tired from being in pain. She prescribed the Rayos and so I was taking 20 milligrams of that every night and the pain subsided again because of the Rayos. When I went home, my prescription was already ready at the drugstore for me to go pick up and I went to go pick it up. But after doing a lot of reading, I did not want to take it. The following week I called her and asked her if I can go in and see her. I wanted to know if there’s anything else that I can take because I didn’t want to take that. I spoke with a nurse and they didn’t even want me to come in. They said, wait until your next appointment, which was three months later and I went back again. She said, did you ever take the methotrexate? Then I said, no I didn’t take it. Then she said, why not? I said because of the effects of it and I just didn’t want to take it. She basically didn’t want to hear it and she was just very insistent that I took it. She said, if you feel more comfortable with a shot so that you don’t have to take the medication, we can do it that way too. Then I said, no, I’ll do the pill and I left. I knew right away there to find another rheumatologist.
Linda – Since then, I went through about four different ones. One of them just told me to (inaudible) like the third visit. The second one that I went to go see was a little bit nicer about it. He wrote down several different medications that I’ve never heard of in addition to the methotrexate. He said, one of this three is what should have taken. Then he said, do your research and then come back in a month and you tell me which one you want to take. I came back and I said, I don’t want to take. Again, I’m still on the Rays because it is maintaining the inflammation and everything. During that time, I was doing other things like acupuncture. I was doing microcurrent therapy, which probably is the one that worked the best. With microcurrent therapy, I was going to the therapist on a Friday and then the pain would kind of start coming back on a Wednesday or Thursday right in time for the next one. However, everything that I was doing was just not lasting. It was not the pain would be coming right back. It was just something in my head was just like, you just need to buy some time. It’s got to be something that you can do that you can take. As a result, the second doctor didn’t work out. It is because I just told him, can you just give me more Rayos? Then he said, this is very dangerous for you and you’re on this for too long. It was already now going for almost a year and he said that you really need to go on one of these other medications. I just stopped going in his office and looked for another rheumatologist. I went through four of them before I got to the one that I have now and this one here is just recent. I went through a very long time without a rheumatologist, especially after I started the program in April. But what happened in April of 2021? Like right before that or around February, I had seen a new doctor and he had talked about the methotrexate. Then I said, fine but I still didn’t take it and still didn’t listen. Then when I went back in April, I told them that I didn’t want it and that’s when he suggested Plaquenil. He told me Plaquenil is not like the others, it’s very mild, and it doesn’t have adverse side effects. From most people that start it, at least from what he said, it will help but not for a very long time. Most people have to go on to other biological medication stuff after a while of being on the plaquenil. So I told them, I’ll try it, I’ll go ahead and I’ll do that. Around that time I was in so much pain, it was very hard for me to walk. (Inaudible) would come help me open jars and help me cook. I just really couldn’t even do anything for myself.
Linda – I remember specifically, this one person had told me and I didn’t pay attention to her at the time because I didn’t believe it. We were talking about energy healing and she was also sending energy healing, which was also helping. But she said that she had an autoimmune. She lives in the UK and she said that you have to cut out all sugar, meat, gluten and you have to go plant-based or you have to and all this stuff. Then I just said no, there’s just no way that would actually happen. Then she said, no, that’s what helps me. Ever since she started eating that way, she says that it’s been very helpful to her. She doesn’t have flare-ups and stuff, but I took that with a grain of salt. I didn’t listen, I didn’t believe it, and that was several months before I learned about the program. Every night I would go to sleep with a (inaudible) frequency for inflammation and that would help me sleep. But a couple of nights before the Paddison Program, there was this doctor and she was a cardiologist, she overcame rheumatoid by going plant-based. She wrote a book and stuff, but I don’t remember who she was or who she is.
Clint – That is, Dr. Monica
Linda – Okay, she’s phenomenal. I’m sorry, it wasn’t a few days, but it was like about a week before. I said, maybe there is some truth to this, but I didn’t know how to go about it. I didn’t know how to go just fully plant-based. I just bought more vegetables, but then what do I do with this? Like, how do I really just go fully plant-based? I was at Walmart this one particular day and I fell in the driveway. I held on to the shopping cart and I was right near my car. I got to my car and I was just falling in front of Walmart. I was literally in tears because I just hated being this way. I didn’t want to be a cripple, as you could say. I just wanted strength again and I wanted to be myself again.
Linda – That night, I found your video and it was about rheumatoid. Then, I started watching one video after another. I came into my room, turn on the computer and just started pulling up all different your videos and information. Then I was, this is this is wonderful and that’s how it started. Then that day was the late time that I ever ate meat. I had I think chicken earlier or something like that and the next day I actually wrote it in my calendar. I think it was April 21st or something like that. I purchased the program and went through the baseline, and just everything. I mean, it was step by step on what to do, what to eat, its just so helpful, and that’s what I needed. I just needed guidance, especially to know that there is something that I can do. I was never skeptical, but I just wondered, I really hope this works. For several weeks, I was following the program and I did the cleansing. I have never been without my celery drink in the morning. I have never missed it since then. But about maybe three weeks into now, the program I was not starting in the baseline. I was now starting with eating food in the program. I woke up, I stepped on the floor and felt no pain. I thought I was crazy, but I wasn’t. I started walking around and I felt nothing on my toes, nothing on my ankles. I went like this and I felt no pain whatsoever that I literally just cried. I cried because it was the first time that I felt nothing. Now I was still on the Rayos 20 milligrams, but the Rayos really was wasn’t helping anymore unless I was going to start going up and go. I knew I couldn’t go back to the doctor and ask him or the rheumatologist and ask for some more. I was actually able to go to New Jersey for my niece’s wedding after I knew I wasn’t even going to go. I was able to walk in the airport and I was able to dance. Now, I had also gained about almost 60 pounds from the steroid and I was quite heavy. By about nine months, I was already down to not even my normal weight because it was less than my normal weight. I lost over 30-35 pounds from being on the programme also. It was just amazing that I was going through no pain whatsoever and that’s when I started to cut back. Instead of the 20 milligrams, I cut back to 10 mg. Then, I started cutting back to 5 mg and then I went to see my regular doctor. Also, all that time I wasn’t seeing a doctor at all of rheumatologists. I just stopped, but I knew I had to. When I would go visit my doctor, she did tell me that you really need to go at least get with a rheumatologist so you could add bloodwork and see how you’re doing. Then, I found the one that that I’m going to now where she is wonderful. She does agree that your diet and what you eat has a lot to do with inflammation. She’s okay with keeping me on the clock and she doesn’t need to scribe any steroids anymore or anything. The last time I saw her, was about three weeks ago. If we can cut on the Plaquenil now and she said, let’s just wait a little bit longer before we start doing that. Then I said, okay. I feel as if I stop the Plaquenil right now, it’s not going to really make a difference. But being that I am not having any adverse effects or anything like that being on it, I’m okay.
Clint – Wow. How do you feel? Now it’s been many months since you since that part of the story that you just told. Are you able to form a fierce to be able to walk around barefoot when you wake up in the morning without pain? I mean, I’m getting nods and smiles here. Can you tell me how your body feels?
Linda – Yeah, I feel great. I mean, I can actually walk barefoot now. It was probably about maybe two or three months ago, it wasn’t anything that was immediate and it still took time. I know one of the things you teach and talk about is like overcoming this is like climbing a mountain. You just have to take it one step at a time and I was willing to do that. I was ready to just say, as long as this takes. My energy is better and I focus better. I mean, I meditate just to keep my stress level down because my job can get very stressful. But in the very beginning, when I was on the Paddison Program, it was extremely hard. I have to admit it’s very hard, but the support that you get in the program is what really helps me. In the very beginning, when I found out I had rheumatoid, I did join Forum on Facebook and I just found that those forums were very like they weren’t negative. However, everyone was just in the same and they were suffering. Most of the members on that forum were all on medication. If anyone talks about a plant-based diet or something like that, you get shamed for it. Of course, then there are others that they say, it’s definitely not the food and it’s just what you have. They also say you’re going to have it forever, just accept it and that’s it. I just found that those groups or those Facebook groups were really not they were not for me. I just got out of them and I just wanted to just find a more positive. A way to interact with people that were once offshore. I forgot to tell you I really wanted to share this with you. When I was looking through the videos in the Paddison Program. One video that really touched me was the video by Melissa, where she talks about a family member and that video was the game changer for me. It wasn’t the food part because it was that video. I said this program is what they share. The video was about family members and what you can do to help your family members to understand. It is because I really felt very alone. I mean, I have family, wonderful friends and they’re very supportive. But I just felt like no one understands and you don’t want to bother other people or you don’t want to call them or you don’t want to share your story. You don’t want to seem like you’re weak or you’re needy or you’re a burden. Seeing that video, just helped me to realize that you could ask for help. They’re not going to understand, but you can help them understand and so that helped me a lot. Ever since then, I started asking more for help and that I’m not alone in this. Yeah, that video was like really neat.
Clint – For those people wondering what this video is, it’s inside the Paddison Program materials. You can find it under, how to support a loved one who has rheumatoid arthritis, and it’s the name of it. She also goes through a checklist of all the things that she did to support me. Yeah, it’s moving and pretty emotional. However, you’ve had this massive transformation. Let’s just spend a few minutes now going through your sort of top tips. Plenty of people are aware of the actual program itself. We have a lot of sort of customers, if you like, or users or followers or whatever. But what about, what’s been the priority for you? What has been the sort of the backbone of your day to day now that keeps you well, that you would never let go off?
Linda – It would have to be probably twofold – one is just the support and in the support you get the knowledge. It’s just learning and you have to know why you do things or what’s happening. Like, I didn’t know about a leaky gut or I didn’t know why foods were affecting me this way and that’s probably why I didn’t believe that going plant base can reduce your inflammation. The support that you get in the live calls that you have every month, that was one thing too. It is good to have a rheumatologist that you can ask questions. Then, when you listen to others that are also trying to accomplish the same thing that you do through holistic ways or not wanting to go through medication or such. While, not to shame anyone that chooses those that would prefer going through medications. There’s some people that that’s what they prefer and that’s okay too. I would never shame people that would want to go that route. But I find that those that are in the followers or members, we all have the same desire to want to get better not through the medications, not through the biologic or medication. Also, we just want to know what’s happening or what’s going on. To me, that has been crucial because I think I had I known more or sooner, then I would have then started this long time ago. I think it’s just the support and the camaraderie of just everyone.
Linda – Then, the other thing is just mentally what this does to you. I mean, I was in such a depressed state even after I started feeling better and I wasn’t in pain anymore. I sometimes find myself just walking around my home, moping, just sad, and just like I’m not in any more pain. I was so used to being in pain for over a year and I’m like looking around like I’m not in pain yet. It still really affects you mentally and that’s another thing to that However, I write a lot or I journal a lot. I’m so appreciative of my help and also helping others as well. Just sharing with them what they can do if they have rheumatoid and stuff. But I think doing things for yourself, I do a lot more for myself now than what I did before. Before again, I’m working less hours and I’m not as stressed out as I was before. I just appreciate everything that I’m doing now where before I really didn’t. I was just running on adrenaline from the morning I woke up to the time that I went to sleep, and so now I have more appreciation. I have more appreciation for what I put into my body. I’ve never really been wanting to abuse food or alcohol or anything, but just your relationship with food now while you’re eating it. In the very beginning, it was when it was very hard. Sometimes I miss the cookies, I miss the cakes, and I miss things like that. But then I started asking myself, why? Why do I want this sugar? Why do I want this? Like, ask yourself, why you how can I say or what are you getting from it? With that, it usually helps you not to pick up the cookies or the cheesecake or something like that. In short, that’s what helped me a lot lately.
Clint – What are your goals from here? Are you trying to, for instance, accomplish some kind of like travel goals, sporting goals, or fitness goals? Are you trying to establish a little community of your own, to sort of inspire others in your local community? Do you have some food goals where you’re trying to get to being able to eat out at restaurants more frequently? I mean, are there some things that you’re really locked in to try and achieve over the coming months?
Linda – Well, yeah. As far as going out to restaurants, I don’t do that as much because again, there’s not much or I’m sure that there is because I just haven’t really ventured. I would like to cook more and be more creative with my cooking when it comes to eating or cooking plant-based. My profession is a tax accountant, but I would like to eventually one day to be a Reiki practitioner. While also offers healing services through crystal healing, meditation, yoga, and things like that. I would like to move into more of a holistic practice. I know it’s like a total 100% or 360 going from one field into another, but that is definitely a goal that I’m trying to reach in the next few years.
Clint – I totally see you doing that and don’t worry about shifting careers. Listen to this for some weird careers, at first I was a laser physicist. Then I started a speed dating company and for a while had Australia’s biggest speed dating company. Then I became stand up comedian and now I help people with rheumatoid arthritis. There is no reason why you can’t use different parts of your skill set to do completely different things. The only thing I have learnt throughout the whole process is that because I do have a interest in having a creative outlet via like entertainment and stand up. In fact, just after we speak I’ve got a phone call about a job, stand up job that I’m doing and I’m getting back into that. If I only do that, then the logical, the practical, and the in your case, the accounting and problem solving part of your mind that actually becomes like a weak muscle and it wants to be worked out. From purely just from Clint to Linda, kind of advice here, if you do want to switch, try and do it or at least I found as a balance as opposed to going from one to the other.
Linda – Exactly. Yeah, I don’t think I can leave the accountancy fully. I love it too much and I really do. I love my work, I love my clients, but I also love natural healing. I feel that’s the thing that made go through eating properly.
Clint – Be funny if you’re on the phone to a prospective accounting client and said, as an added bonus in doing your tax return this year once we’re done I can then invite you over to my studio. Then, I can run Reiki on you to clear the year’s tax problems. It’s just such a strange combination as you said. Yeah, you’re putting it out there and there is no reason why you can’t get this set up in a very short amount of time. I knew a few people who did Reiki. One of them sort of just did a class and then was able to get some students or patients, if you like, within a few weeks. It’s something the barrier to entry is not like trying to become an accountant.
Linda – Right. Yeah, I started doing it like I’ll do Reiki several times. I’ve done it for several people already where they either needed to find a job where buying a home, increasing work pay or something and so far it’s worked. I mean, I’ve started doing it kind of like on the side, but it’s great. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it more in the months to come or years.
Clint – Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to draw some attention to before we wrap up? Is there some parting message that you want to get across to people?
Linda – For me, the membership itself really helped me more in being able to communicate with other members or with other people that are also in the same situation or that have the same thought process to get better support is 100%. It is because in the very beginning I did feel extremely alone, even though I did have family and friends that were there for me. But it wasn’t until I started engaging with people with what I’m going through. Then, it’s like as if we were just doing all this together and finding out what works and what doesn’t work. Support is very crucial when you are overcoming something such as an illness or anything else really. Thank you, because I know you’re all you’re the person behind it all.
Clint – Well, thank you so much, Linda. Thanks for being part of our support community and contributing, not just learning and so on. Also, just helping other people as well as a member, as we all do. What a story, thank you. It’s been a pleasure to hear you speak, go through this journey, and share it with us. Congratulations on all you’ve achieved and I hope to hear more about your developments and your Reiki work as we go forward. Also, who knows about the Plaquenil. But as you say, you’re doing great as you are and there’s no need to rock the boat. Well done and thanks very much for sharing.
Linda – Thank you so much. Take care.