We discuss in this podcast:
- The importance of being able to achieve long lasting results
- How Ted has drastically reduced pain with the Paddison Program
- Finding the right time to reduce drugs
- Exercise options during COVID
- How Ted has been able to take her job back
- Physical exercise to fight pain
- Discussion about Sjögren’s syndrome
- Inspiration and the importance of setting goals
Clint – Thank you for your precious time today, enjoying myself and my special lovely guest on the Rheumatoid Solutions podcast.
Clint – Today our guest is Ted, and she’s making a second appearance on the show because last time she was on the show, it was about 17 months ago, not quite a year and a half. And she detailed all of the tremendous improvements that she made on the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis. And she covered in detail a lot of the difficulties that she’d been through over very many years of rheumatoid. Now, today, I wanted to bring her back on the show so that we could get an update for her one, because I love Ted. Number two is because often you’ll see success stories online for other types of eating patterns like paleo diets and keto diets and all sorts of weird and wonderful, trendy kind of dietary patterns that are very transient. And someone can post a testimonial after going and changing their diet to something like that and posting it after a week of doing it and say, hey, I feel so much better. And that gets shared to all the crazy, passionate, crazy paleo people around the world. But then in six months time, the person’s no good again, we don’t see that, we don’t know that.
Clint – Now with Ted, just like many other guests who have had back on the show, she’s going to tell us today that not only is she just as good as what she was nearly 18 months ago, but she’s even better. She’s taking slightly less of one of the medications, she’s feeling great despite getting through the pandemic of COVID, and it’s just inspirational. And there’s a special bonus as well that she’s going to talk about, which is a really uplifting and motivating aspect that’s not related to food, not related to diet, not related to exercise. And it’s about being able to resume work again after not being able to work for 15 years. And that’s how well she feels. And so, Ted, with that big introduction all the way from the Netherlands. Thank you so much for coming back on the show.
Ted – Thanks for your invitation Clint. Hello.
Clint – I really did give you a big intro there. And you and I just spoke about how we might dovetail from our previous episode into this one. And I thought, can you give us just a less than five minutes recap of what we covered last time for people who may have forgotten some of the details? You have so much to cover, but let’s see if we can just bring everyone up to speed of where we left off about 17 months ago.
Ted – Ok, I’ll do my best. Six years ago, I got my diagnosis, rheumatoid arthritis and this Sjogren syndrome. And yeah that’s the two most important, And I used all the medication that there is Prednisone, Methotrexate, and the last 10 years, I use biologics, but all those years were with pain, with disability, with a lot of trouble. And there was no medication that works perfectly 100%. And year after year, I got worse and worse and worse, my situation worsen. And at the deepest point, four and a half years, five years ago, I couldn’t walk, I wasn’t able to do anything, my husband had to take care of Me. I had a lot of pain, I couldn’t sleep. Then I discovered the Paddison Program and I started. And within 24 hours, I experienced a big reduction of pain and a starting of a new possibility to do things. I started to walk again, to take care for myself. So I was very, very inspired, and, well, it was for me, the solution for a better life.
Clint – Absolutely wonderful. And let me just clarify, when you first started there, we had a glitch and I think it sounded like you said six years that you got your diagnosis, but you’ve had rheumatoid for many more years than six.
Ted – Sixteen,sorry.
Clint – Yeah. Now it’s just a technical thing, I think was so sixteen years. Wow. Okay. And then you’ve been part of our support group for many years and I’ve watched and helped and watched everyone else who you’ve been friends within our support group over those years. You know, just see how well you’ve done, and you’ve expanded into sort of a more of a diverse whole food plant-based diet. You’ve got the classic exclusions, the ones that I recommend, too, which is, you know, we talked about the no added oils. We talked about low fat, and a clarification of course, it’s not no fat, it’s just overall lower fat than Western society. And you’ve got, no animal products in there’s no including dairy. And so you’ve got this wonderful platform that has kept you healthy, kept you stable alongside your medications that you have the same ones that we were talking about 17 months ago. But you’ve been able to lower one of the drugs. You’ve been able to reduce methotrexate from 10 milligram to seven point five milligram. How did you go about doing that?
Ted – It went perfect, no problem. And I’m sure I can taper it down further until zero. But my rheumatologist is very carefully, so I have to do it very carefully. And that’s the way I have to try it.
Clint – Yeah, absolutely. You know, there’s really not any reason to rush a reduction of a drug when it’s giving you a good quality of life and there’s not many side effects. I mean, if we rock the boat, it can be real hard to restabilize it. So I think it’s fabulous, conservative approach on the reduction is fantastic. And then the other drug, so everyone is clear on your current medical plan. You have Cimzia that you take, which is a biologic drug, and you found that Cimzia gave stability when Enbrel eventually stopped working some years ago after you’d had, I recall you having lots of infections after it was your wonder drug for a while. But then there were infections with Enbrel that eventually meant that you had to stop it and stop.
Ted – But there’s one point I would like to say about something. When I started the Paddison Program, the new lifestyle, I thought, well, a few months and then my problem is gone and I can live like before without medication and no diet anymore. I thought the program was a quick fix. And it’s difficult to understand that it’s a new lifestyle for the rest of your life, and that is also why I say the (inaudible) tapering is a slow process and that is for me very difficult. But I’m convinced it’s the only way to achieve my goal. Yeah. So it’s not a quick fix.
Clint – And I think anything with our health is like that. But this with, you know, trying to minimize a chronic autoimmune disease is certainly an extreme example of that. Everything is slow, everything is so slow. And accordingly, the medication adjustments are slow. One of your fellow Netherland’s guess who’s been on the show many years ago called Hannah. Now, Hannah got down to 2.5 mg a week of methotrexate. And at that dose, I know that some rheumatologists think what’s the point of taking it? Because it’s below a level that they would consider to be sort of a functional or an effective or clinically relevant, not clinically relevant, but a dose at which plays a significant role in the body for this condition. But she stayed on 2.5 for a whole year before then, finally taking that 2.5 out of her routine.
Clint – So I don’t think there is a to slow approach. And I would just say, look, the fact that you in 17 months have not only maintained where you’re at, but you’ve actually improved to the point where you’ve reduced one of your drugs a little bit. Your health is so good that you’ve been able to maintain through it or to exercise, period, it’s great. I want to talk about the exercise. So many folks, so many people emailing me saying I’m not exercising at the moment, the gym is closed or I’ve fallen out of my routine because of covid. How has covid affected your exercise? How has that in turn affected your health?
Ted – Well, covid had a big effect on the possibilities to exercise because I went for swimming, for physiotherapy, for cardio fitness nearly every day I had an appointment for working on my health and weight with exercising, and all those things weren’t possible anymore. So from day one, I decided that I had to do it by myself. And my yoga school had yoga lessons online, so I followed the yoga lessons online. I went walking with my husband, well, not every day, but a few times a week and cycling. Cycling is for me the ultimate way to exercise, do a little bit cardio fitness and to enjoy outdoors, to be outdoors. And that was possible here because I live in an area that is not too crowded so I can be in the outdoors and nature and that’s, of course, a big bonus for me. So I use those things to work on my exercises during COVID periods.
Clint – That’s absolutely brilliant. It’s a cliche, but it’s wonderful, isn’t it? About the duchess and their bicycle’s, you know, the bicycle capital of the world and with very few hills and lots of beautiful landscape as no reason not to get out there and get amongst it. Well, that’s just sensational. So you’ve found, you’ve been very resourceful and you have taken the situation as it is and thought, OK, look, I can’t do the usual ways I exercise, what else can I do? We need to adapt or survive. You’ve adapted and that’s brilliant. And now, I want you to tell us about, one of the things that well, I wanted to bring you on the show about the fact that you’ve been able to resume work again. I mean, it’s just so, so uplifting to the human spirit to know that you’re able to then go and do things that previously we weren’t able to do. And a job is a big one. So tell us about your role that you’ve been doing and what it felt like to be able to work again after losing your capabilities 15 years ago.
Ted – Well, I had a job for nearly 40 years as a nurse in University Hospital, I was a pediatric nurse specialized in oncology. So I lost my job. That was very, very difficult for me. Well, last year when I felt I was doing so well, I thought maybe that is something I can do, I can start again because I feel so good. And why not? And then there was an advertisement for and they were looking for and how do you call it that you bring meals to people as a career, a career. But for an organization that brings meals to people with special needs, mostly elderly people, people with Alzheimer. And there is a social aspects, you also have to take a little bit care for, does he open the door? Is the refrigerator working? Does he eat? Does he or she eat her meals? So this social aspects from this organization was very, very attractive for me. So I emailed them and I had an appointment for an interview. And that was for me, very exciting on my age to have an interview again. And I thought to myself, I don’t tell anything about my rheumatoid arthritis. That’s the first time in 60 years that this will not be a point, let’s see where it ends. And after the interview, the manager asked me what I thought and said, well, I think I’m able to do this. It’s only two days a week for four hours, and let’s give it a try. But what do you think? And he said you are perfect. I should love it if you want to take this job, because also of because of my background from being a nurse. So I started and it went perfect, and for me it’s every time a sensation that I’m able to work four hours, face it, all those apartments with a lot of floors, and I walk the floors, that’s for me it’s raining. So if somebody lives on the fourth floor, I walk the stairs and now I’m walking back from the tenth floor. There are some clients who live on the 10th or eighth floor, and I walk all those stairs downstairs. So every time I think, well, what a great gift that I can do this again. Do you understand what I mean?
Clint – Oh, my God. Like, do I understand? I can picture it and imagine it, and feel it for you and yeah. It’s emotional, it’s just absolutely like a second lease on life, I think you’re okay with sharing that you’re sixty nine. You told me you turn 70 next year. Now when most people in their late sixties are winding down and wanting to quit work and wanting to retire, here’s you having had seventeen coming on seventeen years of diagnosis of one of the worst diseases anyone would ever want to have. And you’re like, I want to do more work, I want to get back into work and it’s uplifting for you and it’s just created this whole new sense of being hasn’t it.
Ted – It’s unbelievable, I’m happy every day that I work and if I guess if you allow me to give an example. Tuesday is for me, a very busy day, but it gives an insight about what I’m able to do now. On Tuesday, I get up at six thirty in the morning. Have breakfast, and then cycle to my physiotherapist, and that is in another town, it’s about 12 kilometres, I think hill upcycle. First I start with swimming 30 minutes of my own swimming laps. And then 30 minutes physiotherapy in the water, I cycle back home. So then I cycle to about twenty five case and I had a one hour of exercising in the swimming pool, and then in the afternoon I have my job. And I leave home at three o’clock in the afternoon, I am back at eight o’clock in the evening and all this time I’m walking. Of course, I drive by car from one address to the other, but that’s very short periods, most of the time I’m walking. And I climb all those stairs, and then that’s my Tuesday. And then on Wednesday morning when I get up, I have no problems at all. And that’s the ultimate test my rheumatologist told me long years ago. If you notice the next morning when you get up, no problems from the day before, then you are on the right track. And that’s every Wednesday morning, the same.
Clint – That’s just fantastic. It’s interesting you hear that from your rheumatologist about the next day. I’ve been saying that for as long as I was diagnosed is that if the exercise doesn’t make you feel worse the next day, then that is the right exercise for you or that certainly not harmful. So, isn’t it incredible what the body can do and the body loves movement? I watch my dad. He’s 70. Oh gosh. Is he’s seventy two or seventy three. He works on a farm out in the middle of rural Australia. We would call it the outback. And he just doesn’t stop. I mean, he gets up around the same time as do you do on the Tuesday, six thirty. He works until he can’t see any more outside until such darkness that he can’t actually, like, do anything, and it prevents him from doing anything further. And during the day, it is absolutely non-stop walking, lifting up, pushing, pulling, climbing sometimes on the back and get up in the tractors. And I mean, it doesn’t stop. And it’s just like touch wood, he just keep going. And it’s just the body just seems to respond fantastically to constant movement. And Dr. Gregor, obviously one of the most sort of well recognised plant based medical doctors. He does all these podcasts on the treadmill. I asked him, why did your podcast on the treadmill? When I interviewed him, he’s like, I don’t stop moving all day. You know, the body wants to move. And you’re just an example of how and with rheumatoid, there’s no exceptions. We’re not excluded from that general rule.
Ted – Yeah, that’s beautiful. Yeah.
Clint – I love how you cycle, then you swim, then you cycle home and it just creates this beautiful image in my mind. Do you feel that cycling has helped with your very bad right knee that you had for many, many years? Do you think that cycling is actually an improvement strategy for the knee?
Ted – For me, absolutely, because also in the most worst periods when my knee was very swollen, very painful, I kept cycling. It was even dangerous sometimes because I couldn’t move nearly. But I want to cycle because it’s a possibility to be outdoors, and I like to be outdoors. It’s an aspect that’s very important also to be outdoors, and nature is very healing, and that is what I wanted. And I like to move quick, so with walking, I can’t move quick. But with cycling, I had a feeling, I felt I and I feel the wind on my face and I have the idea that I can move quicker. And that’s for me, a very positive way to exercise. Yes.
Clint – Yeah. I haven’t run for a long time, but running is just so, such an exquisite feeling. And I just the feeling of the wind in your face that you’ve described, or especially when you’re running down the hill, especially quickly. Yeah, it’s just a wonderful feeling and certainly on a bike, which I’ve done a lot of. Yes. I love that feeling of the wind on the bike. And we’re just we’ve just gotten back to Australia and the whole family’s going to be buying bikes because we can ride our bikes on a bike path to get down to the beach. And it’s funny, I want to ask you a question that just popped into my mind. With your Sjogren’s, which you said that you also were co diagnosed with. Do you get dry eyes and do you have to wear special glasses to stop the wind blowing in your eyes as you bike ride? Or is it not an issue?
Ted – I have eye drops and eye cream for my eyes, for my dry eyes. And I always use sunglasses always even in winter, if there is no sun, I always use sunglasses. Yeah.
Clint – Good. And if you found that the eye drops and I cream have been effective for Sjogren’s, have they had any side effects? Did it take you a long time to find the right brand?
Ted – Yeah, it did took a long time to find the right brands, and that was with the help of the rheumatologist. And I’m so used to it, I have no side effects, but I can’t miss them. It’s in the evening when I go to sleep in the middle of the night, I’m putting it in and the morning if I get up, it’s, well, a way of life. I’m so used to it and it’s very helpful.
Clint – Well, okay, great. I wonder if you might share which brain that you used because I know that I get inquiries about this and I’d be interested to grab that. If you can’t think of it off the top of your head, you can just email it to me and I’ll put it in the transcription notes and the end of the show. It will go up on the Rheumatoid Solutions.com website unless, you know, off the top of your head.
Ted – Well, one of the drops is (inaudible), and that’s a wonderful brand and the cream, I’m not sure about it anymore, but I will email to you.
Clint – Ok, yeah, that’ll be helpful. Always looking for these, you know, helpful tips and resources, because once we have something that works, it’s good to share it amongst everyone in the community.
Clint – Okay, well, look, that’s everything I really wanted to cover. I wanted to get you to talk about all these, updates and especially how you’ve now been able to work, how you exercise through the covid period, how you’ve been able to, improve despite a very challenging worldwide year for everyone. So thanks for coming back on, and let’s do this again in another year and a half. Let’s get you back on and look forward to getting your next update where you might even be a little lower on the methotrexate. You know, and that would be just right, just a bit lower, not rocking any boats and just feeling good. I mean, that would be a great outcome for the next year, next year and a half, I think, if not more. Up to you.
Ted – That would be very nice. I’m working on it every day. Yes. Thank you.
Clint – Have you got any other messages for anyone who would be watching and still sort of trying to find that healing groove? Are there some words of wisdom that you wish to impart?
Ted – Well, for me, the most important thing is during those 16 years, to have the inspiration. And inspiration for me is very important and, well, the big inspiration to you. But also on the forum, all those other members, but also a book you read about it or podcast you listen to it. And the other thing is that I always have to give myself a goal, a goal to work for. And it’s not a big goal, when I started 16 years ago, my goal was to be able to visit my son in New Zealand again because I couldn’t because of what I had so much problems and that was my goal. But I have also smaller goals. And I can remember that when I could walk again, my goal was going to the forest, walking in the forest. That was a beautiful goal. Starting working again is a beautiful goal. So inspiration and having goals to work for, that are the most important things for me.
Clint – Wow, yeah, that’s absolutely wonderful. I do the same exact thing myself. I like listening to uplifting podcasts and I have always had goals not just for my health, but for other aspects of life. And in fact, before returning to Australia, we listed all the things that as a family we wanted to achieve between now and the end of the year. And that includes things like, you know, going on the Sydney Harbour ferry together, going to the Opera House and watching a show, and things like that. And, for me, with my personal health goals, I want to be able to get back into being able to do chin ups again. And so, there’s very specific but being able to look forward to those and work towards those and picture those in our mind, gives us a purpose, doesn’t it? And it creates a vision of a better future, and that’s just so crucial when a lot of the things we hear about our condition, talk about are more challenging and a less pretty future.
Clint – So thank you so much, Ted. Look, I just think you are wonderful. I have a lot of such, you know, deep, warm, loving feelings for you and what you’ve done. And thank you for all of the wonderful things and that you’ve done inside our support group as well. You’ve got so much support and love and, thank you for what you’ve shared with us today and all the things you’re doing.
Ted – It was a great pleasure for me. And of course, thanks is to you, Clint, because the program was for me, the start of a new life. And I’m realising also now, after all these years, this every day. So thank you very much, Clint.