Tamara Clears Her Symptoms Of Early Stages Ankylosing Spondylitis
We discuss in this podcast:
- The first eight months after Tamara was diagnosed with Axial Spondyloarthritis
- How she has been able to overcome pain with the Paddison Program
- Her choice of looking for alternatives to the conventional drug treatment
- The importance of exercise for ankylosing spondylitis
- Water fast, 2-day cleanse and diet change
- Cold showers and cold ice baths
- The importance of combining all elements of the Program
- Learning to listen to our body’s response
- Bikram Yoga
Clint – Today’s guest is in South Carolina and the last time we spoke was in April of this year. So that’s about four and a half months ago. And she contacted me for a one on one consultation for sacroiliac pain, she had early stages of ankylosing spondylitis. So we jumped on a Skype call, just as we are today, but the vibe was very different. She was in a lot of pain and really, really confused between the suggestions from her rheumatologist and also what she knew intuitively, which that something must be causing this. And there must be a way that she can influence the pain and inflammation that she was experiencing naturally. So we put a plan together, and I’m pleased to say that today she has a tremendous story to share after just four and a half months of making these changes. So, Tamara, thank you for coming on and telling your story today.
Tamara – Thank you very much for having me. I’m very happy to be here to share my story.
Clint – Yes. And you’re looking so well. And as I just said, before we hit record here, it’s not that you weren’t looking well before. It’s just that you’re really glowing now and you have a big smile, much more than we did and when we did our first conversation.
Tamara – Yeah, I’m much happier now being free and happier.
Clint – It’s it really is wonderful. So why don’t you just set the scene for this conversation with a little like a movie trailer of what we’re going to expect? Tell us just in a sentence or two how it was before compared to how you are now.
Tamara – Ok, so I was diagnosed with at early stages of Axle’s Spondylo Arthritis in September of last year, I was eight months in pain. I had good days, but most of the days and nights were very painful. And then eight months after I came across Paddison program and everything started getting better. So my nights were very, very almost every night was painful, but right now it’s like I have no pain at all during the night. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing at all. Also my mornings, the first time when I get up from my bed was very, I had aches and pains and it was hard to, you know, put the socks on and everything, but that’s gone as well. So I’m very happy for that. And also, I’m able to exercise now much more than I used to do. So overall, I think I made a lot of a lot of improvements.
Clint – Yeah. It’s always. As Dr. McDougal says when he hears good results from people who follow his recommendations, it just never gets old. Like, it’s just such it’s like beautiful music when you hear someone who’s feeling better, you know, and like, this is your life. This isn’t just some stupid TV commercial promoting some stupid product. This is like eating good food, exercising, having an outlook of optimism, sharing with each other how each other improves, and just really implementing it, and doing it and trusting the process. So, it’s always a little I always get fired up and excited when I see someone like yourself just doing so well. So let’s go into the details here. I recall from our first conversation that you were being presented with the option of Humira as one of the drugs. What were your thoughts around the Humira? Did you want to you know, was that one of the main motivating factors to look at alternatives or were you already looking for alternatives?
Tamara – So I would say I was already looking for alternatives because I’m not at this stage of my life. I mean, I was diagnosed with when I was thirty one, I’m thirty two now, so I was kind of too young to take medications for the rest of my life. And that’s enough, to my lifestyle. And when doctors told me that the taking medications are not going to may not solve the problem and may not, you know, heal me, that was a big question mark there for me. So I was not why to take it, you know, why to you know, to have that many side effects and everything from the medications. But I can do maybe I can do something different. So then I was just, you know, thanks to the Google and the World Wide Web, I came across your program and I was reading and listening to other people, you know, and to the success stories. And something clicked. I was like, this is for me, this works for me right now. And then, yeah, so the taking medications were not enough for me. Maybe that was the last option,
Clint – Yes, the last option. And if I can recall my using just off the top of my head the steps that we went through, we applied some logic to your situation. And what we discussed was that you were getting what appeared to be autoimmune pain. Your scans, and when I say that it was tenderness, it was a bad when you stopped moving, you also had scans done that showed inflammation for an MRI. So we knew that there was active inflammation in an area that was, very telling or very indicative of ankylosing spondylitis. The two rheumatologists that you saw both said that it was early stages of this condition. And so you were also concerned with exercise. You weren’t sure if it was going to make it feel better or you weren’t sure if it was going to make you feel worse. And then we we did a leap of faith, didn’t we? We said, well, okay, I’ve worked with some people with ankylosing spondylitis very closely, some long term coaching that projects, some of which have never appeared on the podcast because of personal reasons. They just want to remain private and that’s fine. But I drew upon those experiences and said, look, what works so well is just relentless exercise, especially with ankylosing spondylitis. Okay, so this is what I’d seen transform people. Unfortunately, some private people and I can’t get to just show the dramatic changes. But as I said, you’ve got to exercise basically. And then secondly, we said, well, if it’s autoimmune, then let’s take a couple of days without eating. And pretty quick, you’ll know if the pain goes away, then it’s coming from all this microbiome, oxidative stress, the whole sort of gamut of autoimmune paradigm. Right? So you did that and you emailed me a couple of days later. And what did you find when you stopped eating for a couple of days?
Tamara – Oh, I felt amazing, I felt amazing. I mean, otherwise than being hungry, I was I felt in my that not eating was helping my, you know, my pain go away. So and actually, I didn’t have the those two days. And I think that was the right way to start the healing process with me, and I think the program was very. I found it very personal because everything that I read in the in your book and everything you wrote there, I really agree with everything with exercise, you know, changing the food, sleeping and, you know, all the mindset and everything, I really, really agree with that. So actually, the beginning of the program is very hard, not easy. Like, you know, nothing is easy, not everything is you know, you have to push through some things, you know. But it really helped me, it really helped me. Like the beginning was the key to, you know, to believe and to have faith for the future.
Clint – Yeah. And I think that what we just had established then is some clarity. And that’s what we were after, because there was such uncertainty when we first spoke as to whether or not you should, which path you should take. And just finding some certainty because of as you said, your age, the diagnosis, the early stages, which makes you feel, gosh, it’s a strong drug for very early stages and all of this uncertainty. So what we had then established is that it’s very likely to be autoimmune, as your diagnosis was, because we had found, okay, the pain goes away when you don’t eat and you do it 2-day cleanse with celery, cucumber and lots of different leafy greens. And then you then email me and we are on email and we said, OK, well, we’ve got clarity. Go for it. Just do the program because it’s basically designed for autoimmune inflammation. So you’re all set. You know, you’re not a special case. Just roll this out. Okay? Now you rolled it out, you haven’t needed the medication, you’ve explained earlier how much better you feel in functioning. Tell us what you did. I mean, most of your audience know or have the Paddison program. They know what’s involved. What aspects of it did you emphasize and what worked really well? What was your sort of special sauce?
Tamara – Ok, so first of all, when I started the program, it was middle of covid pandemic and it was locked down, so I was home 24/7. So I had all my time to dedicate to my food and health and exercise, you know, and everything about the program. I was very lucky, to have all the time just for Paddison program. And yeah, I think I mean the most, there is no just one thing that worked for me, I think the combination of everything so like really, really, really good and healthy food, good exercise, Bikram yoga. I also started doing not right away at the beginning, but maybe after a month or two months, I started cold showers and cold ice cold baths, which also I think helped. Yeah, and just staying overall, staying healthy and, reducing the stress and all the other stuff. There’s a kind of one nice package of the healthy things that I was doing which all helped me.
Clint – Yeah, I want to ask you about how you did the Bikram at home and what, you know, videos you followed and if you used to eat and stuff. But before I get to those specifics, here’s a question that I haven’t asked for a long time. What does healing feel like to someone who hasn’t experienced it?
Tamara – Tough question. I would say I was the from the beginning, I felt that systemic healing, like you, explained in one of your podcasts. So I felt like my whole body is feeling better, not just my S.I. joint and pain around. I was I felt my whole body feeling better and I had more energy every day. And I was just being more, I was smiling more every day because of that. So, yeah, just that I mean, it’s very hard to explain. It’s very hard to explain how this feeling feel, but it feels good, it feels very good. And you know that you’re doing the right thing. And I I knew and I know right now that I’m doing the right thing. So because the response I get from my body is, I mean, nobody can give me that, you know, so my body is telling me everything.
Clint – It’s very subtle, isn’t it? It’s not like when you take a painkiller and then within a couple of hours you say, oh, yeah, I can feel, you know, quite a quick change to my state. And with something like a painkiller, if the fingers are swollen, for example, with rheumatoid, you know, they’re still swollen. You just don’t feel them as much. But with a healing process, you actually just as you described it, it’s more of just a gradual alleviation of all of the body’s concerns, pains, inflammations and stresses over very, very stretched out period of time so you don’t suddenly feel anything different. It happens over in my case, like months and years, but and in your case, weeks and months. But it’s slow and it and it just sort of it’s more of like a sun rising as opposed to turning on the light.
Tamara – Yeah, correct, I agree with you.
Clint – And so now let’s talk about the Bikram you know, a lot of people are faced with a similar situation with covid and thinking about trying to do a yoga class at home. Did you turn up the heat or did you steam the bathroom up or did you just to follow a video online in your living room?
Tamara – So for I did not Bikram at home because when I saw the program, everything was the yoga studios were still closed because of the covid. So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t go to do Bikram outside. So I was doing some light yoga. That was only the first month, I think. Yeah. So I was doing some like beginners yoga classes at home. And then after that, after about a month, I started going to the Bikram yoga studio for like about three or four times a week, which, like it was amazing, I mean, I tried Bikram few years ago, so I knew exactly what to expect. But right now and just this, my condition and everything, it sounds really good. Actually, I was a little afraid to do some things in the class, some doses and everything. But every class got better and better. And right now, I’m the best in the class.
Clint – Isn’t that brilliant? I just want to say this, first of all, that my recommendations for you, again, were based on the collective wisdom and feedback and anecdotal stories that I’ve had from others with ankylosing spondylitis success stories. And I recommended to you that swimming and Bikram yoga are your two most powerful positive impact exercises for the area, that you are inflamed. And it’s just so encouraging, and reassuring, and reaffirming to me to hear that you did one of those two and you got the same outcome as others who have the same condition and have done that as well. So there’s nothing like there’s no luck involved it’s doing it. So I’m. You weren’t able to swim, were you? That wasn’t an option.
Tamara – I was of one for swimming just a few times, you know, so but I kind of picked Bikram over swimming and I also started doing some training, like gym training with mostly bodyweight exercises and some machines, nothing too crazy, nothing too heavy. And that combination of Bikram and gym training and eventually started running a little bit, I think that works for me right now. So I kind of picked that over swimming.
Clint – Yeah, my magic combo for a decade was Bikram yoga and the gym. I mean, that’s a vanilla-flavored how to get well. So, yeah. So that’s awesome. Tell us then, you were a little concerned about these exercises at the Bikram. Can you can we just take a short step back and say what? What are the early stages of ankylosing spondylitis? Try and describe the point in which it affects the body, the part in which it affects the body. And therefore, which postures in the class were concerning for?
Clint – All right, so I used to have pain in my of course, in my S.I. joints, but it’s not always there, so sometimes it was my hips, so sometimes I have left hip and then after two weeks, right hip and then it’s hip flexors and then it’s again back to S.I. So it’s kind of it was moving around, it was moving around. So with Bikram the to be honest, the hardest pose for me was just lying down on my back savasana. Because then you’re flat in the back and, and toes so you turn your toes out and my I guess there is some sort like very minor movements in the S.I. when you do that pose. So that was like, I was in pain when I was doing that pose, you know, just lying down. But again, after a few weeks, I was able to do it. But every other pose was, when I do it slowly with a lot of control, and focusing on the right muscle group and everything, everything was good. I am always even right now, I’m always careful and I’m always doing everything slowly, everything with a lot of focus.
Clint – Yes. Mindfulness, awareness. Yes. Good, good. I think that’s a good reminder to all of us. I’m exactly the same. I haven’t done a class since the whole covid thing kicked in. They are open again, but I’m just finding that I’m enjoying going to the gym at the moment and I get on the stationary bike each day for my cardio. But totally when I’m in the class, I’m always thinking about my own imperfections in my body. And being mindful very, very much so about those areas and things that I make slight modifications for in certain postures just as you’ve described. We’ve got to be careful when our bodies compromise, we have to be super careful.
Clint – I just brought up the email that you sent me before we did this call. And you’ve actually mentioned here’s something that we haven’t talked about. You do over a water fast, you’ve been doing a water fast and with green juice just once a month.
Tamara – Thirty six hours once a month. I would like to do it more often, maybe every two weeks, but right now I’m doing just once a month.
Clint – Yes, and is that preventative or do you still have it like these still notice that you get like shave another one or two percent off any underlying situation?
Tamara – I think it’s more preventative and I think it’s good for overall health, you know, and for the immune system. So why not? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I’m doing every other little aspect which can be helpful for my overall health and I feel good. I feel good when I do it, I mean not that I’m enjoying not eating, but the overall after that I feel good and my body feels good and clean, very clean. So that’s why I that’s why I’m doing it.
Clint – You also have mentioned here something that I’m observing when I talk to you. You appear to be a similar weight or the same weight as when we spoke, you know, four or five months ago. And one concern that some people have who just do the eating component and don’t work out, who don’t use their muscles, don’t do resistance training or Bikram, which has a, you know, a component to it where you’ve got to build muscle and build strength. So my question is, how were you able to maintain your weight or if you lost a little weight at the start as the body’s making these adjustments and healing and detoxing and so forth. How did you then put the weight back on or was it something that just evolved because you do a lot of physical resistance work?
Tamara – So, yes, still at the beginning, I lost about 13 pounds, but I knew when once I started eating more and exercising more that I’m going to gain that back. I mean, I know my body so much that happened. So just eating more, eating better foods, doing resistance training, it helped me to get back to my normal weight, which I’m very happy with. So yeah, it wasn’t too hard for me, it wasn’t too hard for me. I’m just now even when I when I eat better and when I when I’m finally able to exercise regularly, I feel that my body kind of changed in a better way, that, you know, that I’m stronger and then I feel better and I can move better. So, you know, good food gives me the energy to do good exercise and that’s how it is every day.
Clint – Yeah, the good food gives you the energy to do the exercise is so true. And if anyone’s listening and they’re concerned about being underweight, the first thing you have to do is start challenging your muscles. That’s the first thing because fat can spontaneously appear on the body by eating poorly, by eating high-fat foods, junk foods. But muscle does not spontaneously appear, it has to grow as a result of being challenged. And so we need to start with challenging the muscles. And then what follows is more hunger and more appetite, leading to higher calorie intake to fuel the muscles and the body begins that positive cycle. So, so that’s where it starts with asking more of the body.
Tamara – Yes, I would just like to add that right now when I learned a lot about nutrition and about my body, I don’t eat just because I’m hungry or just because I have to eat. I eat to feed my body, and to feed myself, and to feed to get that energy from the food. And I also am very focused on I mean, I’m not perfect, I don’t eat everything 100 percent perfectly. But I’m like most of the time I’m focused on the quality of food that I eat. And there is a reason why we put that food in our body, because that’s what is doing something for us, healing us or giving us energy and feeding our bodies. So, yeah, that’s just the one thing that I realized is I wanted to share with you.
Clint – Yeah. That’s a really nice point. We get in the habit of just eating because we’re hungry for no other reason. We’re hungry, so we eat. And you’ve made such a good point is that we should be hungry because we’ve asked the question of our body, hey can you do this? Can you do that for me? I need you to lift that. I need you to push that. I need you to take me up to the top of the hill, whatever it might be. And then the body says, OK, I’ve done that for you now I need some replenishing. And so you should replenish it and reward it. And your point, you know, is that we shouldn’t just be hungry for doing nothing and feed junk into us and then just be hungry again. That’s pointless, isn’t it?
Tamara – Yes.
Clint – I like that. I’m going to be thinking about that today. Okay, so, look, sometimes we get some audience members who are still sitting on the fence and they say to me that email and say, yeah, but X Y or year, but this and, you know, and I like to try and break down the year, but in our interviews now, so that there’s not much left to sort of challenge, someone’s going to say, yeah, but you haven’t had your MRI done all year, but you’ve not had a blood test since you made these changes. Tell us, what do you expect when you go and have those scans and tests done? What do you expect is going to show up or not show up?
Tamara – I’m not actually thinking about it right now, I just know that I’m feeling better and that’s kind of enough for me right now. And I will try to continue doing things the best that I can. And then we’ll see what’s what all the scans and everything will show. I think I mean, I would love to see some very that I’m healed 100 percent and everything, but that’s then why not let it happen? Because of the, this is a kind of a lifetime disease. Well, that’s how they call it. So, yeah, I will say I’m not too stressed about it. I don’t want to think too much that I must get better. I must see, you know, certain numbers or certain scan results. I don’t want to just be too obsessed about it. I want to enjoy the process as much as I can.
Clint – That’s a really, really important point, that last comment you made. I have something like 60 blood tests, scanned blood reports that I have from the period where I was on methotrexate for three and a half, four years and then blood tests prior to that. So 60 might be, I mean, let’s say once a month for four years. So that’s for 12 to 48. So that’s in a couple. I might have between, say, 40 and 50 blood tests over three and a half, four year periods so thereabouts. But then I have like three ever since. Okay. So in like the ten years since that my blood has been really measured for C reactive protein, except in circumstances where it has had to be. And where I’m at my point here is, you know, when we’re feeling well, we’re not in the cycle of being tested and being judged on that and being manipulated or having our drugs changed on that. And it’s a completely different paradigm to when we are in the medical sort of manipulation period. And so what is always challenging with these sort of scenarios outside of a clinical trial setting is that, you know, you want to maintain the positive feeling, outlook, mental attitude and momentum that you have in your mind as well as in your body. So you don’t want to go into another lab and be jabbed and be and have any kind of feeling that you currently have influenced by a slightly less than ideal result. You just want to continue to improve. And having a number messes with your mind or having a discussion with someone who disagrees with what you’re doing. It messes with your mind. And so I understand this feeling of, look, just keep crushing it, just keep feeling better. And when the day comes, when you feel emotionally calm and stable, you can get the blood test done. You can get the MRI done because you’re in a position where you’re not going to be influenced by the outcome. You’ll be neutral and you’ll be like, OK, I can handle that, because whilst we’re still a little vulnerable, still a little green, still a little wet behind the ears, we don’t want to be, you know, negatively influenced by a number.
Clint – If you were worsening, if you were feeling bad, a number would be really helpful to see if a decision needs to be made with meds. But if you’re crushing it, you’re in no pain, I mean, come on, do we really need to go and, you know, play with the lab rat when the rat feels like jumping around the cage? I’m sorry about that silly metaphor. I mean, that applies to all of us, not just, you know, making that silly comment about your specific case. So, yeah, wonderful. Well, you know, it’s been just the cold showers. How do you do the cold showers here?
Tamara – So I was also researching about that. Like, if that can help with my condition or with any autoimmune disease. And I found some research that it could help. So I just started a little by little I mean, that was the one thing that I said never I’m never going to do that, I hate cold showers. But when you know, you just have to educate yourself and to see why are you doing that? Not just because you read somewhere, somebody told you. So I tried to educate myself, to see, to see why is that good for me and for my body, and then little by little, we started doing like a hot shower and after that, like lukewarm and then colder and colder. And now most days of the week, I do cold showers and it actually feels very good. It doesn’t feel that cold like at the beginning. And then approximately like once a week, I do like a cold bath, like ice-cold. I just sit there for like, seven minutes, eight minutes, depends, I’m not too obsessed with a number, with, you know, I have to do ten minutes or I don’t want to to to put too much on my plate. So if I feel good doing more that day, I will do more minutes. If not, I will do shorter. So whatever works for me in that moment. It actually feels good, it feels good. And you feel kind of. I don’t know. It feels refreshing, very refreshing for the whole body.
Clint – Hmm. I’ve never done that. And I’m super impressed because I’ve watched sporting stars as a basketballer called Ben Simmons, who’s from Australia, and he plays for one of the basketball NBA teams. And I watched an interview him I what’s an interview with him? And he was sitting in an ice bath during the interview. And I remember thinking, gosh, that that’s just got to be I watched him get into it and I thought, how would I ever do that? And so when I you know, you’ve just described doing the same thing. So that’s got to be on my bucket list to be able to get into an ice bath. I’m so impressed.
Tamara – Why not?
Clint – Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you. This has been totally enjoyable to sit here and hear about all the things that you’ve been doing to improve your health. You’re obviously gone against the grain and gone against the typical path that someone with your diagnosis would now be on. And I think you’ve wisely pointed out that that doesn’t mean that there isn’t, it’s not like rainbows and fairies for the rest of your life. It’s hard work, discipline and a constant checking in on how things are periodically. But we have to celebrate every small victory when we have an autoimmune disease. I used to celebrate just being able to walk an extra 10 metres past a stop sign and back each day. That used to be like that used to make my day. I walked an extra 10 steps, you know what I mean? So compared to walking an extra 10 steps, when you’ve eliminated the pain that was agonizing you for eight months and, gone on a path that’s uplifting you and making you smile every day and making you feel better as well as getting rid of the pain, there’s cause for massive celebration. So hopefully this has lifted everyone’s spirits and helped them also to to see that, constantly applying these positive changes can yield extremely positive results.
Tamara – Yeah, I totally agree with you, I totally agree with you, I feel the same way with walking and also with running, so I started running a little bit. And I was not able to run before that, I mean, even right now I’m very careful and I’m, listening to my body. But even just running just, for five minutes is a big accomplishment. And we should be thankful for that. Yeah, we sometimes take our health for granted and we are like, oh, it’s OK, you know, but sometimes it’s, you know, just doing a little things is is a big thing, actually. So I totally agree with everything you said.
Clint – Yes. Running creates euphoria. Running is just like an elixir for the body, it’s just such a beautiful experience. And the studies show not that you have any osteoarthritis in your knees, but studies have showed that people with existing osteoarthritis in their knees by running regularly, it does not aggravate or worsen the osteoarthritis in the knees. People are concerned about running as being potentially harmful for arthritic joints unless anyone specifically experiences the pain the next day, and aggravation from running then run, run, run. Because it is euphoric, it makes us feel alive. It it is exactly like you say so like makes you feel like you’re achieving something that previously you couldn’t. So look, I’m just so chuffed and happy that you’re able to do that and continue to push, push, push, push, become as athletic as you can. Like, make athleticism and health just an obsession. And that will be the greatest way of preventing the issues from showing up again in the future.
Tamara – Yes, thank you. Thank you very much for that. I’m very, very, very grateful to you for Paddison program because, it’s a totally new and healthier way to treat a disease, and it’s sustainable. So it’s it’s just feels great, it feels great and I’m very happy that I’m able to exercise and to run and to sit right now with all the pain and everything. So, yeah. Thank you for this.
Clint – Well, thanks for sharing your story, Tamara. It’s been wonderful to see you again and looking so great and having such a great story to share after such a short period of time. Well done, I’m going to let you go and have your dinner because I think it’s about dinner time for you.
Tamara – Yes, it is.
Clint – So go and enjoy your nice, nutritious plant based meal. And I look forward to maybe chatting with you another time down the track if we check in there in the future.
Tamara – Yes. Thank you very much. Thank you.