Polymyalgia Rheumatica treatments often involve high-dose steroids for long periods. Lisa shares the details of her journey with the all-natural approach of the Paddison Program with outstanding success.

We discuss in this interview:

  • Lisa’s first major flares and possible triggers
  • Here first diagnosis and brief experience with prednisone
  • First attempts to build an anti-inflammatory diet
  • How she found the Paddison Program and decided to go for it with immediate results
  • Managing reintroduction of foods
  • Oil
  • Rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP antibodies
  • Yoga and other exercises
  • The brain’s role and managing pain messages
  • Meditation
  • Self-compassion

Clint – Welcome back. We are going to have a lovely conversation today with Elisa, who lives in a beautiful part of Australia called the Noosa Hinterland. It’s a gorgeous location that the Paddison family would also love to be living in, it’s a beautiful place. But better than geography, she has a great story to tell about Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which she was diagnosed with, that was creeping towards rheumatoid arthritis. She had elevated rheumatoid factor and anti-ccp antibodies. She then took upon herself some big lifestyle changes to try and mitigate the path that it was going down and has some tremendous results to share with us today. So Lisa, welcome to this podcast.

Lisa – Hi Clint, lovely to speak to you after all this time, it feels like you’re a son or a brother. I’ve watched so many of your podcasts or listened to them mainly, but yeah, it just feels like your family somehow.

Clint – Yes, well, we also did have a long chat before we hit record here about things totally unrelated to your health. But let’s focus on your health in our chat here. I keep looking down at the notes that I’ve got here. Why don’t we start with what we like to do, give us sort of at your worst you were at this point and now how you are today in a quick almost snapshot.

Lisa – Okay. So I won’t tell you the story leading up to the pain experience, but the really bad pain when I and we can go back to what I think triggered the enormous pain because I had been dealing with six weeks of manageable pain. Not great, didn’t feel wonderful, terrible trouble getting out of bed and driving, working all of that. But then there was a point where I had a major flare up and my husband virtually had to carry me into The doctor couldn’t walk. That pain was so bad I couldn’t even lie on the bed, I couldn’t pull the covers up. There was no all the strength had gone from my fingers. But not only that, the pain and my wrists and my elbows, my neck, my hip, one of my knees, all across my shoulder girdle. I couldn’t even move my head. I remember lying in bed one morning and thinking, this is it, I’m going to be in a wheelchair. I couldn’t even move my head. I couldn’t press the button on my electric toothbrush, I Didn’t have that strength. I couldn’t lift up a cup of tea. Couldn’t wash my hair. I couldn’t lift my arms. I shouldn’t have driven. But I did a couple of times, I was a danger on the road. And lying on the floor to sleep on the cold concrete floor was the most comfortable place for me to sleep. And then I’d have to call my husband to get him to come and roll me over and do a fireman’s lift to lift me up. So that’s how bad it was. At my worst.

Clint – Right. And then now sitting here today chatting with me. How are things in the body?

Lisa – Oh, I just feel normal. Well, when I say normal, I don’t think about the pain, the niggly pains at all. I’ve just disassociated from those. I have some osteoarthritis in my I think they call it basal osteoarthritis, but that’s, I think, a genetic and also an aging thing. Um, my fingers and that are great I have trouble in two toes and that comes and goes and I think I know the triggers now. Um, but really I have no pain. I feel like I’m getting stronger and stronger, which has been a big focus for me. Um, there’ve been a few focuses strength, movement, brain. Huge amount of brain work and of course the diet. But yeah, I feel as though everything that’s happened has added so much value to my life in a way that now I’m focused on living to be 100 so I can be around to enjoy my beautiful grandchildren. So I feel stronger and fitter than I have in a long, long time, all because of the new way I’m eating and moving and looking after myself which I’ve always done, I should add. I hadn’t come from a place to polymyalgia with bad habits, but I’ve just really, really fine tuned them. So yeah, that’s where I’m at now.

Clint – In a world of very short attention spans, we’re going to cut to the chase and talk about some of the diet and exercise changes and what you’ve done. You’ve followed the Paddison Program, which is a program designed for rheumatoid arthritis, but we’ve seen over the years tremendous success with ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, Sjogren’s, and also, psoriatic arthritis and so on. So for people who have this condition, Polymyalgia Rheumatica they’ve gotten to this part in our conversation and I think, look, I just want to go and do whatever Lisa’s done, then that’s where you can go and get started. But we are going to dive deeper into not just the dietary aspects of things and the movement, but I’m very curious with something you raised about the mental side of things, the brain space. Um, and, and just to learn how you put all this together, I want to hear about what the rheumatologist said, if you saw a rheumatologist and what drugs you took, and just how you got out of this mess, because what you described a moment ago was one heck of a mess. Okay. So so why don’t we just jump straight back into the middle of the mess, right? When you were getting rolled over on a concrete floor. And what happened next? How did you get out of this?

Lisa – Well, the sort of the six weeks of initial pain, which I’d been to see the doctor because we were due to go down to Byron Bay, which is another lovely spot for a week to meet up with some people, an Instagram friend. Actually, I’m an artist and there’s a big art community that she had organized this weekend, which we’d canceled several times. And I was in this pain that was kind of manageable but not pleasant. Um, I’d stopped taking ibuprofen and painkillers because they were doing nothing and I was just miserable. So I thought, I can’t cancel, but let’s go and see the doctor. So I went on the Thursday or Friday, it was close to the weekend. He ordered some blood tests to be done, so I got them done before I went away, but I didn’t have the results. Went down to Byron and looking back now, this was an aha moment. When I worked it out later on. But you’ll know where I’m going with. So we go to lunch at this couple’s house, and he’s a fantastic cook. I’d said to my husband, you’re not to mention my pain, you’re not to talk about it, you’re not to show, I just want to act normal. If you see me taking a long time getting out of the chair, don’t rush over it, just leave me be. So we’re standing around the island bench and Wayne’s making these amazing homemade spring rolls, and he’s a very plant-based cook, very healthy. So all the ingredients he was explaining, all the foraged farm herbs and the organic things that were all going into these spring rolls, rolled them up in a pastry that a local Greek man supplies them. Beautiful. Told me the oil that he was using was an oil that he got locally. And we all stood around as he fried these spring rolls and handed them out to us. And they were the best goddamn things in the whole world. So I leant against this breakfast bar and forgot about my pain and I just crunched on these spring rolls. I thought, they’re healthy. It’s good oil and juicy. This is great I won’t eat any of the other things that are there because I’d already started my own anti-inflammatory diet, and they were just wonderful. Fast forward 14 hours middle of the night, that’s when I woke up with my huge flare. That’s when things just caved in completely. The pain I’d been managing up until then, which I was really, really concerned about, particularly the swollen knee and the elbow. And I had one really puffy right hand. That all centered into that evening didn’t even make the connection between the oil from the spring rolls. And that wasn’t until I was well into the Paddison Program, I had that aha moment. And I was like, Oh my goodness, I know what caused that major, major cave in, it was those spring rolls. It was that deep-fried oil. So there you go. Now I’ve lost track. So no. So that’s you have to bring me back. You’ll have to bring me back to where we were.

Clint – Yeah. And now so because of that, what did you do next? Because we still have a lot of open loops around us, around seeing more doctors getting medications and you even your diagnosis yet we haven’t touched upon so cover.

Lisa – Strangely enough so that was over the weekend and we were due to go back midweek. And on Monday morning I had a phone call from my doctor’s surgery to say, your blood test results are back, The doctor wants to see you. So I said, look, we’re away at the moment, but I’m in really bad shape, I’m considering coming back. And then he phoned me and he said, Yes, I want you to come back. He said, Your CRP is elevated. I think it was 24 or something like that. And I said, Well, I’ve gone even further down hill. So we drove back home and that’s when my husband virtually had to carry me in because I couldn’t even walk. My toes had curled under, it was terrible. So we went through what could be happening. And he felt that because of the high RF and CCP as well, he said, Look, I’m not sure, but I feel this might be Polymyalgia Rheumatica But you’re displaying some rheumatoid arthritis results here that I’d like you to go and see a rheumatologist. And he said, and I’d also want you to consider going on prednisone. We’ll put you on a tapering program over a 12 month period. But I think we really need to do that right now. And I said, Well, what’s prednisone? He said, Well, it’s a steroid. It’s, you know, it’s it is given to people to help cortisol to, I think to slow down the adrenal glands producing their own cortisol or the cortisol covers the inflammation and the pain. And I said, but it’s a steroid. I said, you know me. I don’t take pills. He said, Yeah, I know you don’t. He said, You’re one of my patients who doesn’t like the little white tic tac, as you call them. And I said, So I said, I won’t be doing them. Well, things just got so bad, so he gave me the referral to a rheumatologist and I phoned and I couldn’t get in for about eight weeks and he’d given me a script for prednisone and I took it and I wasn’t going to take any, but I went home and I sat on a computer for like 48 hours. And I read somewhere that there was a small window where you could take prednisone 3 to 5 days without having to go onto a tapering program. So you could take it and then you could stop it. So I made another appointment and went back to see him and I said, Look, I haven’t filled the script. Can I safely do this? Because other things I’ve read talks about if you stop taking prednisone abruptly without tapering, you’re going to adrenal failure and it’s life threatening and you can die. So he said no. He said there is a small window. So I said, okay, well, I want to buy some time. I’m ready to donate my eyeballs to science, the pain is so bad, I’ll do anything.

So I did. I got a script for three days, I took it for two days and felt so dreadful on it. I was just really flushed and hot and it stopped the pain and the tracks, you know, within six hours I was 60% pain-free. And that was enough for me to think, okay, you’re going to do this yourself. There’s no way that you’re going to keep taking this horrible drug. You can think rationally now that you’re not consumed by this terrible pain. And so I thought, right, put yourself on an anti-inflammatory diet, you’ve got enough learning, you know, enough. So I hadn’t found you by then. So I proceeded to do all the right things. I don’t do dairy, I don’t do meat anyway. I don’t do chicken. I mainly was eating a plant based diet with fish. And, you know, it wasn’t as clean as it could be, but it was pretty good. I really have an interest in plant based cooking and baking, and I know the good grains, so I put myself on an anti-inflammatory diet for a month, went back to the doctor, still carrying about 30 or 40% pain, still having trouble. I couldn’t. Raise my arms in the shower without slowly creeping my fingers up the wall. I’d put myself back in the gym, but in order to go to the gym, I’d have to get up at 4 -35 a.m. and stand in a hot shower to get everything functioning. I’d go to the gym and get into the sauna sometimes just to be able to do it. I didn’t tell anyone at the gym, but I couldn’t get down on the floor because I knew I couldn’t get back up. Lost all my strength, so one kilo of dumbbells felt like they were ten. And yeah, virtually followed that program for a month and I was so excited to go back and get some blood tests, even though I was still in some pain.

Lisa – The day before I went back to see the doctor, I stumbled on your TED talk and I listened to it and I listened to it again. And then I went and downloaded the podcast and I sat in bed till about midnight listening to some podcasts and went off to the doctor the next morning, still thinking, Oh, well, that’s interesting. That’s rheumatoid arthritis, and they don’t think I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis, but that’s really interesting. So we had the blood tests done and my CRP had hardly budged at all, it was still really, really high. It had come down to I think it had gone up to 40 something when I had that big flare. The initial one was about 20, and then so from 40 it had dropped down to about 19, I think, so it was still reasonably high. And I was so disappointed because I’d been single mindedly doing my own anti-inflammatory diet. At that point the doctor said to me, Look, Lisa, inflammation is way worse for your body than taking prednisone. You know, I think you should stay on this, you should go back on it and see the rheumatologists in four weeks or so and he will look at your medications. And I said, No, I’m not going to. I said, can you just give me another month? Another month? I came home, I sat all day and all night listening and watching podcasts. And I thought, okay, this makes total sense instead of trying to eliminate things and trying to guess which one was causing the problem. This is going to take me right back to basics and then I will slowly add things back in. And while I don’t think my diet caused the polymyalgia, I knew that there was something happening going on. So I signed up for the program and away we went. I’ll talk about the program a little bit and then I’ll talk about what I did alongside it with another app that I use, which was a mind body type of app to help.

Lisa – So I launched into the program and after two days on the celery juice at 40% pain, I could raise my arms again, I could open and close my fingers. This hand stayed very puffy for quite a long time and I still had a little bit of pain in my elbow, but I could bend my right knee again and my toes straightened out. I could move my head again, that was two days on the celery juice. And it was like, Yeah. And from then on I found it relatively easy, I felt excited by the program. I felt excited about my meals and even that ten days of the Buckwheat and quinoa, I got inventive with what I was doing. You know, I wrapped bok choy and sushi and nori and put my filling in there with a little bit of ginger and wasabi and roll that up and just add different things to make it more interesting. I’d mash up the sweet potato with a little bit of onion and herbs and pan fry them with no oil in a dry pan to make rissoles and greens, greens, greens buckets, you know, buckets of greens, I just loved it. And now I love it’s my comfort food. Risotto and mashed potato used to be my comfort food. Well, now a bowl of buckwheat quinoa with miso and nori flakes on it is my comfort food. And I have that 2 or 3 times a week for lunch now. Um, so slowly adding things back in. I trip quite badly with oats, oats was something that, funnily enough, oats is something I love, but I remember about day 30, somewhere around there I was invited to a sort of a lunch morning tea. We had to bring something and Dr. Mcdougall’s got a lovely recipe on his Instagram account. It’s for a zucchini and apple and oat and date loaf and oats weren’t back in my I wasn’t allowed oats, I don’t think at that stage. But I thought, oh, everything else that looks okay I’ll make something that I can just sit and nibble. And so I made that and that’s what I sat and nibble. Well, the next morning Oh, my goodness, was I back in a world of pain? Not shocking, but just enough to be, you know, couldn’t raise my arm again. My hand was more swollen, my knee was swollen. I thought, oh, that’s really strange how can how can oats do this to me? And so I left it for a long time, for about 40 days, I think. And then I tried it again. Same reaction, weird. So what I’ve done with oats, I’ve thought, okay, you’re not going to beat me. So lift it again for a while, and then I started microdosing. So I just put a pinch in my smoothie or port of a teaspoon. Boom, boom, boom. And now I can tolerate them. But it’s taken a year to do that.

Lisa – This was my aha moment, I know now about the oil. We were invited out for dinner with friends who were visiting from New Zealand. And again, I said to my husband, I’ve looked at the menu. It’s their favorite restaurant. I don’t want to suggest anywhere else, but there’s really nothing on there I can eat. So this is in the early first few weeks. But I said, I don’t want you to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about my health. I don’t really want to be the center of attention. So I chose some fish on Mediterranean vegetables and it came and it had oil or it was sort of swimming in oil. So I had enough knowledge by then. Well, I knew that I wasn’t allowed oil on the program, so I sort of got the peppers and courgetti’s out of there and sort of shook them off with my fork and ate the fish. I had a shocking reaction in the middle of the night again to the oil. So I virtually have not had oil in a year. I know I can tolerate it because the odd occasion we’ve been out and I’ve even though they’ve said there’s no oil, I’ve picked it up. My daughter’s used a bit now and again when we’ve been visiting her and I’ve had no problem with it. But I choose not to use it, really happy not to.

Clint – Yeah. Fantastic. Wow. That’s such a good and insightful story. Love the micro-dosing example. Love the although so hurtful at the time, but the education around those stories, around the oils, it’s really, really fascinating. And to be able to bypass the medications as you did to be given the steroids, to go back and say, hey, I’m going to actually just do it for a few days to experience the steroids and then say, Wow, you know, this isn’t making me feel very good. What else can I do? Um.

Lisa – Yeah, I canceled the rheumatologist appointment. It was four weeks of doing your program, and I was seeing such huge improvements, and I’d been online listening to a lot of people that you’ve interviewed. And I thought, if I cross over that door, I think that I will come out with a backpack of pills, and I’m doing really well, slowly but surely. So I canceled that appointment. So three days on prednisone is what I did.

Clint – Now your rheumatoid factor and anti-ccp antibodies. You mentioned before we hit record, but can you summarize those results for us because you saw both come down?

Lisa – Yeah. Yeah. Um, so I didn’t have a huge understanding about those factors, but uh, so my RA factor initially I can’t quite remember, but I think it was around 20, something like that. And I think it’s meant to be below 14 or 14, 12 or 14. And my anti-ccp, I think the range was something like between 6 and 10 or to be negative, you had to be below 6 or 7 and then positive above 10. So I think that got to about 14 or 15. And they’ve all they all came right back down. My CRP is my last blood test, which was on the 17th of January was 0.05, and so that’s just like yay, yay, and everything else, you know, like all my Vitamin D’s, all my everything is just perfect. My liver functions a whole lot. But on that blood test, the anti-ccp was elevated again, not the RF was elevated. So my doctor suggested that we do bloods again. He said, Look, anything could contribute to that, so we’re not going to hone in too much on that, but we’ll repeat the rheumatoid factor blood tests and a couple of months. So yeah, so that’s, that’s where I am with that.

Clint – That’s extraordinary. Seeing those blood markers, seeing that that change in C-reactive protein.

Lisa – It was so exciting. Like, I couldn’t believe it when because I think I said to you, you know, it didn’t budge much doing my own anti-inflammatory diet. And then I was getting blood tests. The doctor didn’t suggest blood tests every month, I had to push for that because I listened to what you were saying. I thought, no, I’m in charge, no one has my pain, I’m in charge of me, I want to know. And they don’t get a lot of requests to have them emailed through to you, but it was just great to be able to. And then I thought I needed to put glasses on. When that blood test result came back, it just went from 19 or something. Boomph It was like. And then I thought, Well, of course it’s down like that. I’m feeling fabulous. I’m feeling strong and fit and healthy and good, so why wouldn’t it be down there? But after almost a year of it being so high, I was gob smacked.

Clint – Oh, it is tremendous, it is such a feel good story. Tell us now, um, you do yoga. Tell us about your long history with yoga. Tell us about how exercise has played a part in getting through this.

Lisa – Yeah, Like I think you talked about sort of the 60, 40, 60 diet 40 or for me, I kind of broke just for me personally, I broke it down probably two some days I felt like it was 60/40. But most days for me was like a third, a third, a third. So the brain was where I started and then diet movement with those other two thirds. But as my diet started to show, I don’t know what came first? Was it the movement I’ve done yoga singularly for 35 years and it’s my healing place, it’s the place I go to to make sense of my life. It’s the thing that really helps me keep focused and be a happier person, I think. And so I’ve done a lot of yoga and a lot of walking, but I hadn’t done any strength training, I hadn’t mixed it up. And the more I started looking at gut microbiome and how we really should be having 30 or 40 plants a week, different varieties in our guts, I started thinking, Hey, you know, you’re being stuck in this yoga groove for all these years to the detriment of some other things that are happening. You’ve got really good muscles and you can stretch, you can do all these great things. And it seen me through quite a few bad moments with other injuries. But you’re not strong. I felt, you know, I’m almost 70 and I felt my grips going and other things like that.

Lisa – So I thought, you’re putting all this attention into your gut. You need to start mixing up your movement. So then I became like a possessed woman. So within sort of 3 or 4 weeks, it was trying to fit it all into a working day too, because I still work full time and I look after grandchildren as well. So I’d be up down at our local pool. We’ve got a lovely little heated hydrotherapy pool in the little town I live, so I’d be in there, walk doing links, you know, and then I’d come back and you’ll laugh at this, but you’ve had knee problems. I know. And I was following the knees over toes guy for a knee injury I’d had. So I had this little toboggan that I’d put sandbags in and then loop it around my waist and I’d walk backwards around our two acres doing that. And then I’d come in and do 20 minutes of yoga. And that was all before 6 -00. And, you know, I remember thinking, Am I just going too far the other way? And I thought, no this is exciting. This new movement is great. We’ve got a three-bay shed on our property and we don’t have Bikram yoga close to me. But that shed in Queensland Summers gets up to, you know, like 38 degrees. So I’d take my laptop out there and I’d do my Bikram yoga in the tin shed because it created its own mini sauna.

Clint – Oh, it’s too good.

Lisa – Yeah. And then I hate gyms, I hate them. But I realised I had to join one. There was no other way for me to get that resistance training I needed. Um, well, there is, there’s lots you can do at home. I’m not saying it’s the only way, but I’ve had this leg injury, so I knew I needed to have machinery. And then I thought, you know what? I want to be able to do a chin up by the time I’m 70. You know, So you can’t see them. But I’ve got an overhead bar above one of the doorways in our house. And I thought, okay, went onto YouTube, I’m going to learn how to do those. But, you know, I could only hang for five seconds the first time, like five seconds. And I thought, this is ridiculous. How am I ever going to be able to do a pull up? Um, so I’ve slowly been working. I still can’t do a pull up, but now I can hang for one minute, 15 seconds and hold it. And I do that probably every morning and every night as I walk by, I look up and I think, okay, hang. Um, what else did I do? I bought a second hand exercise bike and a second hand rowing machine, and that’s in the shed as well. So that’s my mini sauna where I go out there and I do that. And of course, my yoga, my yoga just brings it all together in such a I don’t know, it gives me the self-compassion I need in order to go out there and be this, you know, full on granny doing all these weird things around the place. But movement, I’ve just, I’ve just, I just embrace it now. I just feel that that’s been an enormous part of my healing.

Clint – Are your children just like Mum is going hard, Like she’s just turned this biggest. I mean, you know, 35 years of yoga, you’ve always had this sort of inclination, but have they just sort of looked at you and said, Mum, you are just going hard now this is just so awesome. Um.

Lisa – Because I had no real understanding of what the pmr pain was. I think that they just saw me because I’d had I think we spoke about it. I had these leg injuries before the PMR the two years leading up to it. I’d had two bad accidents with fractures and surgeries, multiple surgeries, antibiotics and all of that with my leg. And they told me I wouldn’t be able to attain. They told me his words were, You’ll have to shift the goal posts for your with your expectations and what you want to achieve. You’re going to have to shift them back a bit, you’re not going to be able to do this. So when they told me that and then I managed to get right back to where I was and I sent him a photo, actually, I emailed a photo to the surgeon just to sort of say, there you go. So when this came along and they didn’t, they just thought, Oh yeah, mum’s just doing her thing what she does. When someone tells her that she can’t do something. And I am a bit like that. Give me a challenge, and as I said to you, I had a bit of a pity party around the whole thing. Poor me. Why me? Thing for about five minutes. And then it’s like, okay, you’ve got this, you’re strong. You can do this. Yeah.

Clint – This is just so fascinating. Now, tell us about your third component here, which is the brain. Give us your insights here and strategies that you’ve used to work on that.

Lisa – Wish I had the good languaging around it sometimes. Okay. So I wanted to understand not the why. But when the polymyalgia came, it was like, yes, the why. Why has this happened? And that’s a really important component. But what is it stopping me from doing in my life? And I thought, Well, it’s stopping me doing everything. Um, and then I thought, there’s got to be more to being able to manage this pain than just the diet and the movement because the constant chatter which we all have in our head was just an overdrive. And, you know, the pain would come along and I would find myself doing what I’d really trained myself not to do with the fractured leg and kneecap problems, and that was to hook into the pain. But with the polymyalgia, because polymyalgia attacks all the muscles and tissues and fascia and nerves in your body, it’s all over consuming pain. So it’s very difficult to switch that brain talk off and not go, Oh, hold on to something and try and breathe your way through it. And I thought, I need to do more than this. So I started delving into and I had quite a few books on. I bought somebody Dr. John Sarno’s book on Healing Chronic Back Pain. I don’t know if you know that book, and he was one of the first mind body pain doctors in the 50’s, 60’s.

So I delved into that and I started to realize and learn and educate and get knowledge around the fact that, The place in our brain that processes pain is also exactly the same place in our brain that receives the pain messages. So pain doesn’t necessarily start in the tissue where the pain is. The nervous system contributes to the messages that get sent to the brain and what the brain then does with your body. I can’t explain it any other way. And the more I got into it, the more fascinated I became about, okay, I need to reprogram what’s happening every time I’m sending these pain messages to my brain. I need to be able to, you know, sort of hit the refresh button and work out some ways to cope with it and to send better, more positive messages to my brain. And I stumbled across a podcast like Mind like Body. I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to it. Some really great doctors talk about brain science. Just absolutely fascinating. And so I start applying some of the techniques to my own pain, and it was just amazing. Even though I was probably only 30 or 40% in pain when it got me in the shoulders And I was having a lot of difficulties because I paint, lifting my brush and painting it was pain. I just stop and I’d sit down and I’d just tell my brain, look, you’re really strong, I know what you’re trying to do. You’re just trying to trick me into believing that I’m just going to have another setback. You know, this is not a flare. This is nothing. You’re strong. You can get through this. And I just kept repeating that in my brain over and over. And sometimes within two minutes, that pain would have gone. And I learned to meditate, which is, you know, it’s a pretty hard thing to meditate. Meditation is difficult, but I’ve built that into my daily practice. Even though I had it in my yoga practice, I wasn’t transferring it to a daily practice because life gets busy. So now, usually at lunchtime I just take ten minutes. I’ve got a little app that I use and I just do a ten minute meditation. I feel it helps me with my sleep, it helps me with so many other things. But yeah, just re-educating my brain and realizing how powerful the brain is as far as your health goes, that was and what a marvelous tool it is. If we could only use it more, you know, if we could use it in a better way.

Clint – What’s the name of the app?

Lisa – Curable, and it’s linked into the Mind body podcast.

Clint – Okay, great.

Lisa – And they step you through. It’s a program a little bit like yours, and they step you through various techniques. There’s so many things in it, there’s meditation sequences, there are journaling tips, and there’s all sorts of panic buttons you can hit when you’re in a really big don’t like the word flare up. Um, but yeah, I’ve found that along with being absolutely committed to the diet, the Paddison Program on a day-to-day basis, I never took it beyond what was happening that day. I learned not to worry about the minutiae on the diet. You know, it’s very easy to think if you have a little twinge here and there or something, you wake up the next morning and you’ve got a couple of swollen fingers to think, Oh gosh, was it the oregano I sprinkled on that last night or was it this or was it that? I learned just to be in that day and wake up in the morning, go, No, let go of that. That was yesterday, this is today. So I’ve really tried to focus on the day-to-day and not the eventual outcome, which is hard for me because I’m a goal-setter. Um, so I really pulled back from that and tried to visualize how I’d feel when I was healthy. But that wasn’t my goal, my goal was day-to-day.

Clint – Yeah, this stuff’s really, really important, fascinating and difficult. I know that, it comes back to sort of the whole power of now sort of book and how. If you want to make yourself feel bad, it extrapolates today’s problems into the future. I mean that’s like the like a marketing. Yeah. Marketing 101. People want you to buy something, they say you’ve got this problem today. Well, imagine how this looks if you don’t fix it, how bad it could be in the future. And then we immediately resonate with that, the fear of what could get worse. And it really gets you a downward spiral.

Lisa – Yeah, it does. So I just I found it fascinating and it’s what I apply now. You know, I was walking the other night and my toes on one of my. I think I told you I’ve got a couple of toes that swell up a bit and they get a bit and think I don’t think it’s osteo and under my foot. And I was out walking and I had about two kilometres to go and it was getting really painful and I thought, okay. Start yourself talk. So I did. And, you know, within 200m, the pain of my foot had gone. And I just kept talking myself all the way back to the car, got back to the car, and it was like, hallelujah, this is amazing. I can’t believe this. I didn’t expect that. So when you get something you don’t expect because you’ve used something that was once foreign to you, you know, the joy is immense.

Clint – Having some kind of control over it, that especially is something that feels pretty easy to do and something you can draw upon quickly. I mean, it’s really, really empowering. So, um, that’s fascinating. I don’t think I’ve tried that technique in 17 years. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to talk away or affirm away the existing pain. But that’s fascinating.

Lisa – Yeah, it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t always work. But when I feel that downward spiral happening, like, Oh no, here we go again. Oh my gosh, my life’s just going to get worse and worse and I’m going to be, you know, on crutches. And when I felt that kind of heaviness happening around pain, having those tools to dip into was just sensational.

Clint – This might be a little bit put you in a little bit of a vulnerable position, but are there any really sort of deep sort of affirmations that you say or that beliefs that you hold that might reveal to us partially as well that has helped for your success? And by way of example, way before I ever got rheumatoid, I’ve always believed that I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I had that thought before I had any substantiation evidence that that was the case. And when rheumatoid struck, it certainly put that under enormous amounts of questions. However, I think maintaining that belief, even in the face of what appears to be absolutely evidence against it, it just helps you pull through coming back to these things. Are there things that you believe about your life at that level that you think are helping you throughout this journey?

Lisa – I think one of my big learning points was learning to go from sort of, I guess we’re all slightly a triple plus people that get some of this autoimmune disease. But learning to go from this compulsive, busy, chaotic person and I’m allowed to be because I’m an artist and we’re busy and chaotic and strange people. But learning to have some self-compassion. That’s what came out of this whole 12 months, learning to have some self-compassion around how hard I was on myself over things that weren’t quite lining up to be the way I expected. So self-compassion. But just like you mean, hashtag gratitude is everywhere now. But how could I not be grateful for the life I had? How could I not be grateful that my long-term prognosis, both when I was in the wheelchair with my leg, was not that this is going to be your life in a wheelchair? How could I not be grateful that every day I got up to live an extraordinary life? So I tried to bring gratitude to each day, along with the self-compassion not being so hard on myself about achieving and ticking off things in my life that I felt that we all have regrets. So, yeah, just bringing a deeper sense of calm into my every day. And I think the endorphins from the movement, the mind body work and then just having a gut that felt settled, that felt calm. That took a while because it does take a while on the Paddison diet. You know, you’re on and off the loo a lot to begin with because even if you are a plant eater, which I was, you know, you’re really treating your body differently.

But just jumping back a little bit, this is quite I feel this is quite important. In 2018, I was in India and I was on a yoga Ayurvedic retreat for two weeks, which was just amazing. As part of the program, you had an hour with an Ayurvedic doctor and I had a very old Indian doctor, he was a beautiful man. And for the first 20 minutes of the consultation, he held on to my wrist and he just had his eyes closed and he was mmm. I was sitting there and was thinking, Oh, okay, this is a long time. But I just sat there relaxed and sort of got into the rhythm of his mmm. And at the end of it, he came out and he goes, Oh, you have everything. I was like, Pardon? He said, okay, tell me what you eat and tell me what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I felt really proud of myself because I was doing the Nutribullet smoothie with, you know, spinach and chia and hemp seeds and this and that and that. And then, you know, I’d always have a big salad for lunch generally, or a nice salad sandwich or something like that. And dinner was always fish and vegetables or a pasta or and, you know, I’m not perfect. I loved my coffee, had the odd glass of wine, not I’m not a drinker. And, you know, I like baking. So, you know, it wasn’t perfect, but I was really proud to tell this Indian doctor about my diet. And he said, The trouble with you Westerners, you know, you think you’re doing so much good to yourself, but your digestive system, your avatar. It’s going to be too heating for you, you shouldn’t be having all of this. You should be having banana and milk in the morning or banana in water blended up. You should be having softer things. You should not be eating so much raw vegetables. Raw vegetables are fine, but for your constitution, lightly steamed vegetables with your raw vegetables. And he said one thing you should definitely not have is oil. No oil for you. This is what he said to me. And I was like, oh, yeah, but he’s meaning French fries and, you know, he’s meaning that. Not the beautiful extra virgin olive oil I put on my pumpkin as I put it into the oven with my sesame seeds on top, he doesn’t mean that. So it went in one ear and out the other. Um, but I recently got out the sheet that he printed for me and it’s really interesting to see. He told me to have rice flakes for breakfast, not oats, no oats you have rice flakes. So I got into that and I still do that now. I have rice flakes heated like porridge. Um, so, yeah, I’ve sidetracked a little bit, but it was so interesting to go back to what he said four years ago, and it made me realize, yeah, there’s a lot more going on backstage than any of us ever tap into that any of us ever bring drag forward and apply to our daily lives because we want to fix it. We want to put a aid over it. We want the Paddison Program to work for us so that we don’t have to think about other parts of our lives. We don’t want to bring up past traumas and regrets and stresses and deal with those. We just you know, as much as we want Prednisone to fix it, we get the Paddison Program and we go, Oh yeah, I want that to fix me. And once I’m fixed, I’m fixed. So for me, the big thing that came out of all of this was you’ll never be fixed, you’ll never be healed. This is how your self manage your life going forward. And you’ve bought all this other learning on how to deal with catastrophes in your life by not catastrophizing about them because your brain now is managing a way forward and a sustainable way.

Clint – Fantastic. Love it, love it. I’m thinking that that could be like a little snippet from my book right there. Um, that was just, I think I’ve.

Lisa – I think I talked too much. Clint. I think I’ve over talked. Sorry.

Clint – Not at all. Not at all. Is there anything else that you think that we need to add to complete your sort of, uh, story or your, your journey so far here, something that you do that’s different? So another learning that we could extract from you that could help people.

Lisa – Oh, that’s a tough one, I think. You know, so many people have contributed wonderful ideas about that. I don’t have a huge amount to add. You know, I would say don’t get too caught up in the process. You know, educate yourself, educate, educate, educate and plan, plan, plan. You know, I don’t have young children at home, but I can imagine someone like you or another working mom who’s trying to cook for 3 or 4 kids and work and have a husband and a house who doesn’t have the time, that I have to be able to prepare and put meals aside. But preparation plan ahead, never allow yourself not to have food in the house. You know, I learned that the hard way. It was like, Oh my goodness, I don’t have any buckwheat, I don’t have quinoa and I don’t have oh, my celery is looking really soggy and I’m starving. So plan, plan, plan. Freeze, I freeze a lot of things now. Freeze bags of spinach, bags of kale straight from the supermarket or the farmer’s market. I wash and spin it and put that in bags. My juices. I freeze. I bought some big ice cube freezer trays, so I freeze that. Probably a scientist would say, well, you’re losing all the benefits. I don’t know, but I’ll put shortcuts. You know, I’ll make up alike, I love dressings on anything. So now I make a from Cali Bodrug you had her, I think Cali on the show. Did you have her on your show?

Clint – No, I don’t think I have. It might have been a different. Maybe I did.

Lisa – Yeah, it was. It was.

Clint – Oh, plant yourself. Plant yourself.

Lisa – Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Clint – Yeah, yeah. I she has been on the podcast.

Lisa – Now that’s what I should say too. Before I saw your TED talk, when your TED talk came up, I thought, I know this guy. And I’d been listening to Simon Hill on the Proof for about a year before Polymyalgia because I’m interested in that. And I scrolled back and I’d listen to you on the proof. And so, yeah, so I prep dressings in the fridge and I’ll do a cashew nut and chili dressing, which is just oatmeal, garlic, coriander, cashew nuts. You soak the cashew nuts for ten minutes in boiling water. So I have a big one of those and that will go on salads. It’ll go through a pasta bake with some zucchini that I’ve just thrown in the air fryer with some tempeh. It’s got to be quick, it’s got to be really easy. I’ll do a big salsa, which serves with Now I can eat a few corn chips now and again or a bit of sourdough, but then I’ll have a little bit left and I’ll think, Oh great, I’ll just make some little something or another and put that through it and we’ll have that with rice. So it’s being prepped and having things there. So you’re not hungry because that’s the worst thing when you’re doing a program like this. You can go off the rails very quickly if you haven’t got food there.

Clint – Yeah, that’s. That’s fantastic.

Lisa – And just try and learn new cognitive and behavioral patterns. That would be my other thing, you know? Look inside, go inside, work out why these things have happened over, I’ve had a long life, so I know some of the triggers. I know some of the stresses and things that I’ve had back in the past that added to my gut being so totally out of balance despite eating a good diet. So yeah, go inside.

Clint – Love it. Lisa Well, thank you. I’ve just sat back and enjoyed every moment of this. You’ve been, tremendous to listen to.

Lisa – I’ve enjoyed. Thank you for sharing. And, you know, thank you. And Melissa, too, particularly Melissa. You know, I’ve watched some of her recipes in the beginning and just having someone so supportive and beautiful and yeah, all the work you’ve done, I mean, I don’t know where I would have been if you hadn’t done all that hard work. I mean, we’ve just all, all of us, we just step in and pick up this nice, tidy little program and take off. And you did, you know, you did those few years of hell. Yeah. To enable us. So you’re a great enabler. You’re amazing.

Clint – Thank you Lisa.

Lisa – Yeah. Really appreciate it.

Clint – Yeah, Thank you very much. Fantastic. I’ve made a lot of notes here, actually. I’m going to. Yeah. Request that I could use some of the text transcription from some of the things that you’ve said here in my book as a snippet around the food preparation and a few other bits and bobs here. So thank you very much, really enjoyed this. And what’s your website for your artwork and do you sell online?

Lisa – Um, I do. I sell mainly limited edition prints online, but I have three galleries in Australia that sell my work, which is great. And my Instagram handle is just lisamorganart.

Clint – Well, wonderful. Well, tremendous. I’ll follow you on there and you might get a question or two from people around rheumatoid arthritis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

Lisa – So I even thought about starting a little Instagram account. I started saving some photos, but then just no, I’m just too busy. It’s just I don’t think I’ll do it right.

Clint – Well, it sounds like you’re busy enough. Yeah. Congratulations on all that you’ve achieved. Thank you. Thank you.

Lisa – Thank you so much, Clint. Really appreciate it.

Clint – Bye bye for now. Bye.


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