We discuss in this interview:
- Elvira’s struggle with chronic pain and inflammation and limitations as a professional performer
- How that condition started to affect her mood
- Her connection with Clint and the beginnings with the Paddison Program
- Immediate results and pain reduction with full commitment
- Finding a supportive rheumatologist
- Methotrexate and side effects
- Tapering down medications
- Stress as a trigger for inflammation and how to manage it
- The effect of a healthy lifestyle on other diseases
- The importance of a right mindset
Clint – Thanks for joining me today at RheumatoidSolutions.com. A special guest today is going to tell the fabulous transformation story with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s going to be very fun for me because I have followed her for many years online since we were first connected by a mutual friend. We’ll talk about that in just a moment. But first, I’d love to welcome Elvira to this podcast episode, just to see her smiley face and thank her for coming on this episode.
Elvira – Hi, Clint, thank you so much. I’ve been looking forward to this day since 2016.
Clint – Wow, 5 years go by quickly, doesn’t it?
Elvira – It sure does.
Clint – I’m really busting to sort of start telling the story of how we were connected, all about the details of your improvements, and all the challenges that you’ve had as well. But first, let’s see that quick before and after. What can we expect to hear in this episode?
Elvira – I went from being at my worst and my worst was always feeling a pain level of 10. If we’re going on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 would be the degree of my pain. It mainly targeted my hands, feet, and shoulders. I was on Methotrexate, Plaquenil, Prednisone, Celebrex, and a couple of other painkillers that were needed but none of that worked. It only got worse over time and it didn’t stop the joint deformity from happening. From that to now being pain-free or no inflammation, I am full of energy, I’m back to enjoying the things that I used to prior to all of the severe illness. I’m also back in dance classes, and even training for a little mermaid adventure coming up in September in Italy.
Clint – Wow, that is just absolutely massive. Congratulations. How does it feel to share that?
Elvira – It feels just amazing to have my life back. Then I am so grateful that I came across your program and that was an inspiring story.
Clint – It’s almost like who gets to tell it. Well, let’s both share our versions. It’s not a miraculous kind of crazy scenario. We have a mutual friend whose name is Adam Dean. Now, for a little bit of context here. I’ve been doing stand-up comedy entertainment for 20 years now. During those years, you get to know a lot of the other entertainers in the business. At first, you only meet the other stand-ups because you go to the little sort of dodgy comedy clubs. Then, you get to know each other and you spend five minutes on stage. Then two hours talking to everyone at the back of the room. But after a few years, you start branching out and you start doing things like cruise ships. Wherein, you and I have spent a lot of time, and you meet other types of entertainers. You meet magicians, ventriloquist artists, dancers, piano players, and all sorts of stuff. I have known Adam Dean, who’s a professional magician for probably 17 years. Adam and I share a very nice friendship, and we’ve done many night performances together. Both good shows and those little rooms that I was talking about. I’ll pass it over to you in just a moment. He then started doing cruise ships almost exclusively. So he was out on the ships. I want to say something like doing 30 ships a year. I mean, he was living on the sea and then this is pre-covid. You guys met like five years ago or this story takes place five years ago. Then he was out on one of those cruise ships and I received a phone call from him in a sort of an urgent kind of tone in his voice. He’s was like, Clint, I need to talk to you. Why don’t I pass it over to you and see how this thing went from there?
Elvira – I’m going to back it up just a little bit. I was an entertainer, a singer, and a dancer, on cruise ships for many years. I’m an actor, singer, dancer (inaudible) for 20 plus years. I was in early 2016 and I was doing a contract on a cruise ship out of Australia. We were coming into Sydney and I met Adam, who is a fellow performer on board. At that time, I was struggling with chronic pain and with inflammation. But it was really difficult at that time because I was battling depression as well. I’m sure everyone can relate to this whoever is listening, and going through what we’ve gone through with that daily pain and it really gets to you emotionally and to your mental state. After that, it’s starting to become limited in the things that you’re physically able to do, and starting to question whether you can continue working or continue doing the things we love and that’s where I was when I met Adam. I’m sure the energy about me was kind of dark and gloomy. He noticed it and he asked me if I was ok but I wasn’t in the best mood. I said no and probably with an attitude. He was really patient in asking me what was wrong. I thought, I’m going to tell this guy what’s wrong with me and he’ll shut up, because who wants to talk about RA or anything like that. He actually listened and said, actually I have a friend who has what you have or had what you have. He also said you’re going to have to talk to him because he reversed it and he did it naturally, and I don’t want you to give up. He also said he lives in Sydney and we’re going to be there tomorrow, and I need to call him to get you on the phone. Before he went into all of that, I thought he was going to tell me something about supplements or turmeric or some quick fix. A lot of people are very kind that I know they mean well and they have solutions. But we’ve all experienced it and it’s more complicated than that. I’m glad that something in me said to be quiet and just listen. It is because it had only been a couple of days before I had been meditating and I’ve been praying for guidance. I really was at my wit’s end and I was really scared that I was not going to be able to continue working or doing the things that I love. I also thought that my life was at the end time. I remember I asked for his guidance and this could be it. I was just quiet and I also just listened to him. I’m glad that I did and now here we are.
Clint – I think we went over some basic stuff on the phone. Adam sort of passed the phone to you. It wasn’t like we sat down and did a solid hour of planning. I just went over some basics and said, this is what I suggest, and do this. I think I gave you my cruise ship recommendations, which I had for myself. On cruise ships, you’re talking about both opportunity and challenges in equal measure. The opportunities that you’re often moving, you going up and downstairs, and you’re walking everywhere. You can be really much more active on a cruise ship than what the other passengers do even what you normally are on land. It is because there’s nothing to do in the cabin, so you’re always up and about. Then the other aspect is when you come to the buffet and the eating. You have to be like a ninja to work out how to negotiate. The food’s on there because everything’s cooking oil, even the rice. I mean, you’ve got steamed rice and that’s oily, and the challenges are great. So with that, we don’t need the detail in all that. But we went to a cruise ship plan to get you through the rest of your contract on the ship. Then we talked about back on land and everything and we communicated through our support group. Why don’t you then share your journey? Then after that, we’ll get into all of those sorts of tips and your suggestions for everyone. It is because that’s always is really fruitful. We often hear different things from different people. I’m really looking forward to your unique recommendations for people as well. Let’s go through those in order.
Elvira – I actually was really lucky because I only had a couple of weeks left on that contract. I immediately implemented all of your advice and really stuck to it. Lucky for me, my job required a lot of movement and so there was exercise every day. It was painful, but I had that going for me. As soon as I got home, I immediately made an appointment with my rheumatologist and I had to wait about a month but I continued on the plan. When I got home, I downloaded your book and I signed up immediately for the support forum, which was absolutely wonderful. I’ll get to that in a moment. I got everything in order and I cleaned out my refrigerator. Then, I talked to my husband about what the plan was and explained it to him. He was very supportive and on board with everything. He just took it one day at a time. The first weekend that I was back, I did the cucumber celery juice and even my mother came over. I was really lucky to have that support. Like we pulled out the futon and we pick the movies to watch for the weekend. I mean, full commitment to just hunker down at home and get me started on this plan. Let me tell you, by Monday you could see the difference on my hand. The inflammation was noticeable, like how much it had gone down on these joints right in here. The pain level probably went down from, I would say from 10 to about a 6, or, 5 or, 4. It was at least half the pain and that was a huge encouraging sign. I was thinking that this is totally worth my while and I wasn’t suffering for 3 days. It was the hardest part for me because as of Monday I implemented what came next, which for me was the buckwheat, quinoa, seaweed, and the bok choy. I actually enjoyed and I love the taste of it. I also love the greens by the handfuls like they were chips or something. I actually love the taste of cucumber celery juice. If it’s really cold, I just I really enjoy that. It was getting it was close to getting summer and for hot weather, it’s really a nice drink. For me, it wasn’t difficult to make that transition. With each day, the pain became less and I was probably about two weeks into doing the baseline foods. I could completely open and close my hands, and I didn’t have the inflammation on my joints because it wasn’t coming back. There was considerably less pain at the balls of my feet, which is everything. When you walk, all that pressure is right there. For me, that was like getting another chance and I don’t even know how to explain it. Like another chance at life because I really felt like my life was practically over when I had arrived at home.
Elvira – About a month into that I have lost a considerable amount of weight, but it wasn’t anything alarming. I think I lost about 10 pounds and for my frame, I was OK with that. When I did get down to a point where for me, I think I won’t be comfortable losing anymore. I started having orange juice and the weight just kind of stopped. It didn’t go any less and I was eating the same. I went to see my rheumatologist and she was not on board. She was not happy with me and she said some really horrible things. I was just in complete shock that somebody would say such things. To paraphrase what she said, her patients that did a juice cleanse diets only made their situation worse. She also added that it was the biggest mistake that I was making and I was going to end up completely deformed. She had grabbed my hand and she kind of twisted it. I was so shocked that I was actually speechless and I just left the room. Then, I went to the front desk because I was supposed to do a follow-up appointment. When I got up to the desk, I just kept going for the front door, I left and I never went back. I went to the parking lot and I screamed at the top of my lungs in the car, I was so angry. She said I feel like I failed you and all I kept thinking was the medical system failed you because you don’t get it. She didn’t even bother to ask what the protocol was with the reasoning behind it was. She didn’t ask any questions and she just went straight to the worst mistake you can make. She also said people have done this and it’s turned out badly. Needless to say, I found another rheumatologist and I never went back to her.
Clint – Yeah, that’s just fundamental flaws with making assumptions.
Elvira – Absolutely.
Clint – She’s just made an assumption.
Elvira – But not only that, she wanted me to go on biologics but I said I’m feeling better. I wanted to talk about maybe starting to reduce medications and not going on something completely different that I’ve never been on. Anyway, I didn’t go back to her and it took me a while to find a new rheumatologist. But I have found one who I’ve been with for over four years. He’s always been very supportive and he hasn’t asked a whole lot of questions. But at this point, he has seen so much change in me that he does ask questions. He sometimes even ask me in detail, what am I eating or what are some of the other things that I’m doing in addition to the nutrition as well? He had some questions there and sometimes that’s kind of a teachable moment, and that’s where we are in the progress. My rheumatologist is absolutely thrilled and we’ve just done 4 milligrams of prednisone now, and we’ve been taking it down. I have another appointment coming up with him next month and hoping to take it down 1 more milligram. My test looks great and they are within normal range. I was anemic at the beginning of all this. I’ve not had any issues and that is without being like a huge meat eater or anything. It is because you usually hear about this. At the beginning or years ago, when I described what the diet was that I needed for me and people were asking me, how will you get iron, protei and you’re going to become anemic? But that was never the issue. If anything, my serum levels completely went into a normal range. If they wanted proof or if the doctor ever wanted to, how can you argue when they’re looking at labs to get gauge where you are?
Clint – Inside our support forum and also in rheumatoid solutions, there is training around this. Without spending too much time on it, anemia is often from inflammation. My rheumatologist said it can be anemia or a chronic disease. You’ve got to treat the inflammation first and then the anemia actually resolves itself. It’s really interesting on how the body does that, but that’s for another discussion.
Elvira – Right, it’s all the digestive system and then how stress impacts it. I actually hit a few walls along the way and it took me about two years before I could say I have consistency with my inflammation levels. They were being gone and being out of that pain. It took about two years, but I was sick for many years. I was diagnosed in 2008 and I started all those medications that I mentioned Methotrexate Plaquenil, Prednisone, Ibuprofen, and off and on Celebrex. I was off and on for medication from 2008 to 2016. In 2017, I went off with methotrexate. One of the reasons for that, I actually don’t know if it’s because as I was feeling better or maybe I was experiencing more of the side effects from the drugs. I’m not sure I couldn’t really say, but I did notice a huge difference when I was taken off of the Methotrexate. I felt so much better, my energy was just jumped up to the next level, and I didn’t go backwards. It is because I had that new discipline of taking care of myself, being mindful about what I was eating, and exercise as well.
Clint – Absolutely, I had the same experience and I feel like this is a bit of a broken record. I’ve said this several times, but it’s the old scenario again. I came off it and I didn’t feel any different whatsoever except more energy. But this comes with a massive disclaimer that I, like you, had been going as hard as I could on my gut health for several years prior. My results may be very different from other people’s experience and even tapering a little bit of methotrexate. We all have these very different personal journeys. In this instance, though yours and mine were identical with that.
Elvira – When I went off of that medication, then I slowly started tapering off some of the other ones and I was doing well. It’s very obvious when you’re doing well. Then the next day something’s flaring up and you’re freaking out because you’re thinking, here we go again. It’s that fear that we feel again. After being in practice or living this way for a couple of years and the first thing you think is, what did I eat or what did I do? You kind of start backtracking about what you’ve done. When I first started, I used to journal or I used to log everything down but now I don’t know. I just have to kind of think back on, what was in that food or what did I do? At the time it was hard because it took me a while to realize it wasn’t the food necessarily and there were other triggers. For me and like you said, everybody is different and everybody reacts differently. For me, my body does not react well to stress and there were a lot of stressors in my life. There are a lot of triggers for me and there were a lot of things going on during that particular time. It is when I started making that connection. My reaction was the equivalent of eating a whole block of cheese. It’s that instant and it’s bad, and I had no choice. When you are feeling horrible and you’re starting to have those physical symptoms, I started journaling and trying to figure out what it was or what the stressors were and I started figuring that out for myself. I started to remove the stressors in my life and I saw it this way. You nourish your body in many different ways and nourishment is not just the food you put in your mouth. Nourishment is what you put or what you’re exposing to your mind, heart, and spirit. These areas in my life were being exposed by a lot of different negative things that were really having a serious impact on my health. In a similar way that having high fatty foods or alcohol or too much meat or cheese created the same kind of rheumatoid arthritis reaction in my body. It was so obvious to me that it wasn’t even a question. It’s hard as it was I had to make some really hard decisions in my life. As far as the environment that I was in, we moved locations. I’m currently in a location that is much calmer and I get lots of exercise around me because I’m near the mountains as well. All that just crazy city energy wasn’t working for me anymore and relationships as well. The type of work I was doing and all of these things. I really had to have a deep self-reflection about it. Then the other thing I just realized today is if I don’t get enough sleep, it really is tempting that sleeping bear. I have to sleep at least 7 or 8 hours but I could get away with 6 hours in maybe one day. But definitely not two or three days in a row. If I do that, I start to feel a little tingling in my fingers or my wrists. These are the things that I call non-negotiable. Sleeping is an absolute must 7-8 hours every night. Rest is allowing my body to calm itself and heal is very important. In addition to watching what I eat and in addition to minding my stress levels, self-care is really important. You have to make time to do the things that bring stress levels down, whether that’s meditation. I love meditating and that’s the thing that I do. I do find them online on YouTube or I’ve even created some of my own. It could be 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes or whatever you need. I’m a musician and music for me is extremely calm and it is another form of self-care. It’s kind of like at a clinical level self-care. It’s like little prescriptions to kind of bring that stress level down. For me, the combination of a very mindful diet that’s suited to my body, exercise, and the self-care practices that include proper sleep and meditation. All of that in combination for me has made a huge difference. In addition to not watching as much TV and not being on Facebook as much. For me, those things were triggering for a few years back and it’s been very difficult. Do anything to bring down the stress levels, and not have to reach for pills or things that are only going to mess up your digestive system and compromise your gut. Then you find yourself in a situation again where your inflammatory situation is all over again.
Clint – What a great sort of monologue there! All of the wonderful things that are so helpful to you and obviously good for all of us and I made several notes. I’ll summarize these when we get to the end and that was just wonderful. You can see how in touch you are with your stimuli to the environment around you. I’m not sure which aspect to ask you more questions about and I’ll throw this question instead. Out of all the stressors which caused you such inflammation, which do you feel was the most important to change or which one has the biggest impact?
Elvira – Wonderful question and that’s a really important question. I think that was the key to breaking through that wall or that barrier. I had to bring up that again because I was doing really well. Around 2018, I hit this massive wall and I just couldn’t get past it. I couldn’t figure out what it was until one day I figured out. It was a certain person that I was around and there was a certain environment that I was around. I thought that as an adult, I had made peace with these specific or particular relationships and in this environment. But it really turned out that I had not. It required me in being honest with myself about it and saying it’s connected to my pain. I’m feeling pain almost immediately and I don’t want to feel any pain. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and I cannot allow this to keep affecting me this way. I started journaling first, and that really helped me release a lot of feelings. It also explored a lot of what I was feeling in this relationship with a couple of people and in an environment that I was in. I got to a point where I felt like it was too much for me to deal with on my own, I actually sought help. I went to see a counselor about it, who safely guide me through that, to work out and release those emotions. I didn’t even realize I was carrying all of that. There were things triggering me because it was triggering memories from past situations. For example, traumas that have happened to you recently or something that happened to you when you were 4 or 5 or 10 or 15 years old, These things can impact our lives until we deal with them and that’s what I came to realize. It is because I had a very physical reaction where I would start having either digestive issues or heartburn. I couldn’t really swallow properly and I was having a very physical reaction because I wasn’t hungry at all. It wasn’t until it was pointed out that it was very like a reaction that someone when they’re in a fight or flight chronic stress situation. I made that connection and I realize that happens every time. If that’s happening every time, I’m not producing the enzymes and the acids to properly break things down. I was having reflux as well, so I was low acidity and that was a sign of low acidity. I started making all these connections and it all pointed that things aren’t digesting properly. By the time they’re getting to my small intestines, they’re overworked because it’s supposed to be broken down and now they’re doing stuff they’re not supposed to be doing. When they’re supposed to be dealing with (inaudible) and now there’s extra mucus, it’s all leading to like leaky gut. It’s not all breaking down properly, backing up and oxidizing. It blew me away while I make that connection. To me, removing those stressors was the equivalent of following that baseline protocol to the tee. It was part of the regimen and it was part of as important as exercising every day.
Clint – I love it and it’s like an elimination diet.
Elvira – Absolutely. But it really does affect your digestive system. If we think about the imbalance in your digestive system or how that leads to a compromised microbiome or how that leads to intestinal permeability and it’s all connected. If you’re under chronic states of stress, it didn’t even matter at the time. I was eating perfectly and I was following the protocol. I was still reacting because it didn’t matter how perfect or clean that food was for me or if my body was not properly digesting. It is because I was in a chronic like fight or flight state of chronic stress. Until that was resolved, it didn’t matter because it was not going to land right in my stomach and in my gut. Then it’s just a domino effect from there.
Clint – There are so many valuable insights in this part of our chat. First of all, there’s a couple of studies that I have inside the guide for rheumatologists, which is more just basically a guide for all of us. But I just happened to have given it that name and that’s how I remember it. If people want to grab that, it’s frayed over at www.paddisonprogram.com/guide-for-rheumatologists/. From that, there are a couple of studies that I recall on top of my head. First, folks with rheumatoid arthritis are more susceptible to interpersonal stress. Whether that was diagnosed of them or whether that was a self-assessment survey study, I cannot recall. But I know that the results and the conclusion of the study were, people with rheumatoid arthritis tend to be more sensitive to interpersonal conflicts and interpersonal relationships. Then the second thing that I remember that’s so relevant to our discussion and this is a completely separate study. But I link them obviously together because they go together. According to study, prednisone and steroid use are linked to higher interpersonal stress also. If you have RA and if you’re on prednisone, then you have double-barreled interpersonal stress or sensitivity. This means that if you have a pre-existing state of stress from bad relationships or past trauma and then triggering that with conversations with certain people, then you’ve got three things going on. You’ve got the existing issues, then you’re exacerbated with your health condition and then further exacerbated by the drug that you’re taking. No wonder it all becomes so significant that you cannot then get breakthroughs even when you eat perfectly and you exercise great. There is so much stuff there and what did you do? I know we don’t want to get into too many specifics here because this is our real life or this is your life. We don’t want to name names or go there too much. But what was the mechanism that you use to reduce the exposure to those stresses?
Elvira – I moved, which is pretty drastic, but I literally physically removed myself from the situation and sometimes that’s what it takes. It really does take that amount of effort. Whatever is your power to control, you should make every effort because you deserve that and you have the right to make those changes for yourself. It is because sometimes our health completely depends on it. It was a relationship where I’ve been just giving of myself in so many ways for so many years. I realize that not only was I not getting back that equal amount of care and attention, but I wasn’t giving that to myself. I had a pattern of being that caregiver that I developed since childhood. As I said, it took a lot of self-reflection, it also took some work for the counselor to end, and also some journaling to get to that point. It was done to make that realization or to accept that with myself. With that, I can start making the changes to practice self-care. In a way where I didn’t feel guilty about taking care of myself, which is why I needed to work with a counselor. Because with that I could work through each of those issues and figure out, how I got there? There were a lot of times that I didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to face these things. But I remember how it leads to pain and it’s so not worth it to go backward. When I have experienced just a little bit of improvement, you just never want to go back. When you lived so many years with so much pain and your life literally gets ripped away from you. You know what that feeling is and you never want to go back to that. When you have a moment or even if it’s just a day or a couple of months of feeling better or feeling that hope again for the first time in a long time. There is no way you want to go back to living that life of being in chronic pain every day and also being scared for your life. You are worried all the time and it just doesn’t make any sense. Every time I felt like I don’t want to go to the counselor or I don’t want to deal with this, I just remember the past. I ask myself, do I want to go back to being in pain every day? My answer would always be, no and I don’t want that. I can be uncomfortable sitting in an office talking for an hour. If that’s better than living 8 years of pain, taking methotrexate and a bunch of other drugs, and also not having a life. I always believe that feeling better is the best motivator.
Clint – That’s so true. Thank you and this has just been so insightful. You’ve just shared completely openly with us and you’ve held nothing back in terms of the real issues. We’re not talking here about whether or not you tested properly or not. We talked about you needed to move and these relationships were holding you back. The ability that you have to make the connections and see how those very subtle with non-tangible parts of your life were very obvious, clear, quantitative, and measurable impacts on health. It makes me wonder outside of our community of folks with inflammatory arthritis, who don’t have the alarm system of the inflammation in the body, these interpersonal stresses are manifesting in different ways. It could be the seed of a different health condition but that’s not the one that we always talk about. All the breakdown of other organs in the body and we get that trigger or that inflammation. For us, that’s a red light alarm system going off.
Elvira – Yeah, there’s always an alarm. After being through so many years of having RA. I forgot and I didn’t mention this before, and this was prior to being diagnosed with RA. I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2003 but that has also is completely reversed. I haven’t dealt with any symptoms of lupus in many years. Living the lifestyle that I do now and being mindful about what I eat, just helps me in that area. These are 2 major Autoimmune disorders that have been reversed naturally. I received guidance from my rheumatologist and I’m so grateful to have his support. It really made the difference as well for me and knowing that if anything did go wrong he would be on standby. If anything really ran away from me, I could go back on Hydroxychloroquine because he felt that was the least invasive of the drugs to begin with. I always kind of had, I don’t want to say security blanket, but somebody was allowing me to do what I needed to do naturally. I knew that if I needed the help, it was there. Speaking of support, that was another reason why I had to move away from this relationship. They were not supportive relationships and going through this journey, it’s so important to have that support. My husband’s been very supportive but he doesn’t eat the way that I do. He really does try but he doesn’t question what I’m doing and he encourages me. I don’t have a huge family and for me being part of the support forum online was like my adopted rheumatoid family, and that really helped me. I wasn’t much for writing or sharing a whole lot, but I did read a lot. I followed a lot of people, I read all the research you share, and I listen to the podcast. The podcast has gotten through so much, and I want to thank you so much for providing a safe space to learn and share. Also thank you to everybody else who’s shared their stories. I don’t feel completely comfortable and I am usually an introverted person, but it’s also just not about me. I know that there may be something that I might share that will resonate with somebody else and it might be the difference between quitting this program or continuing. They just need that little extra bit of encouragement and that’s what I have found with these podcasts in your forum, and I’m so grateful for it. Support is very important in this journey as well.
Clint – Well, that’s why I set up that support platform now going back about 7 years ago. I go there every day, I log in, I read everyone’s comments and I respond to every question. I do not consider it as work and it just feels like my daily routine, like brushing my teeth. As you said, there are so many resources in there. Often I just need to put a link and say go watch this. For example, watch this video on anemia or you want to cortisone injection, and here’s the whole section about cortisone injections. Also like, how frequently you can get them, or where they work best, or where you should get ultrasound guidance assistance? We’ve got 7 years of contributions from people and all of the monthly calls. This isn’t a discussion all about the support platform.
Elvira – It’s been a very important part of my journey. Talking about the formula for me, it has included the support forum. It is because I don’t have a huge family and it’s been very difficult. I’ve lost friends because they don’t understand people who are very social about going out, eating, and drinking. I’ve never been out for drinking a whole lot. But when it came to diet, I can’t participate in these things. I was just not invited as much to things and eventually wasn’t invited all but that’s ok. It is because I have my life back and that is invaluable.
Clint – Yeah, I wonder how many podcasts there are where we can have conversations where like, I’ve got my life back. We’re looking at just sort of trying to reach a few more people and do some sort of really 101 kinds of marketing activities. Then, someone sent me a form to fill out to assist me with that and said, who are your competitors? I’m thinking about it and I’m just thinking who else sort of does this? I guess there’s a whole sort of autoimmune protocol world out there that I pay very little attention to. Other than that, I’m thinking there’s not a lot of plans out there and sort of systems out there. Wherein, we just have a community and we’re trying to all help each other get well. We share free information and then have some plans to follow to help you get well. Then I’ll have guests on and say, I got well and thank you. I’m pleased to say that, but it seems to be a nice bubble that we’re rolling.
Elvira – It’s a nice club to belong to and that’s for sure.
Clint – Even if the club seems crazy to a lot of other people.
Elvira – As hard as this journey has been, I’m sure you’ve heard other people say it before to. It may be the mindset and that’s the other thing I didn’t mention. Mindset is absolutely a key. I don’t think I would be doing as well if I had fallen into that way of thinking. I don’t have or I won’t picturing the negative. When I meditate, I usually use what you can call visualizations. I’m either envisioning my life as I was living it in my happiest or at my best. It is because I’m envisioning myself returning to that physical state of freedom and energy. I’m also making plans of what I’m going to do when I’m feeling better, what I’m going to do, when can I walk again, when I can move again, when can I move my arms and shoulders freely? It is good to have that positive outlook, goals, and something to move toward. Instead of falling into that downward spiral of sadness and negativity is where you end up. It’s hard enough because you might end up in this depressive state. It’s just hard to crawl your way out of that situation. Depression-like stress will have a similar impact on your digestive system and it’s really important. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between an actual traumatic event or negative thoughts. They’re both negative things and your brain can’t tell the difference, and it will react the same way. Sending signals to your digestive system to stop everything because you need to run or survive. Your digestive system will stop producing the acids and the enzymes. We need all your energy to run the heck out of here because it doesn’t know that you’re not actually in danger. These are the areas where we have control over how we’re impacting or affecting our own bodies. It can also be trying to think positively. If we have trouble with that, I like using guided meditation. Sometimes when I’m really stressed, I couldn’t get out of that loop or that cycle of negative thought. Then, I started searching through YouTube and some friends recommended some as well, and that’s how I found my way there. It really made a world of difference and helped me just kind of calm down. Then again, working with a counselor at the beginning or when I just couldn’t stop chatter in my head with that just fearful thoughts and all of that. What I’m saying is that negative thoughts and stress impacts the mind in the same way. It’s connected to digestion and as I said before, that all leads to an imbalance in the gut or it can result in a leaky gut. Also, things getting into your bloodstream that shouldn’t be there, and then your white blood cells go nuts. You already know the whole story that goes after that.
Clint – It’s just a good reminder to us about how almost everything is seems to affect the microbiome. Wherein, it’s the engine room of our immune system. It also affects how we’re going to feel our mood, our thoughts, and it’s all impacted by gut bacteria. We have to do all that we can, just as you have highlighted, to impact the microbiome in positive ways. What I’ve learnt from listening to you today, which has been an absolute pleasure, is that you have had to address all of those things with equal importance to your diet.
Elvira – Absolutely.
Clint – You’ve found the right rheumatologist who is supportive of you in your journey and that required you to make a big decision, which is dumping your first one. In which Dr. McDougle says, if your doctor doesn’t work with you, then get a new doctor. It’s not like you’re being rebellious. You’re being resourceful and sensible because the second one was perfectly fine. It wasn’t like you had to search the earth. These days, rheumatologists that are happy to be more open-minded are much more common. It’s not like when you were first diagnosed in 2008 and I was in 2006. Having said that, my (inaudible) has been just amazing from day one. At the time, I think a little bit of an exception, and the horror stories I’ve heard over the years have been remarkable. You’ve got your perfect rheumatologist, you’ve worked on your diet and you’ve got that right, and that’s the foundation or that’s the concrete slab of the house. We get the diet right but rarely, is diet enough? You’ve then gone and done all of the other foundational work for the house. You’ve got your sleep right and you’ve literally moved house so that you can avoid a negative relationship. It is because proximity exposes you to those sorts of things.
Elvira – Absolutely.
Clint – You’ve changed and you removed yourself completely being the biggest intervention you could. We didn’t go into this, but you’ve put yourself more into a lifestyle-friendly environment. You’ve said before we hit record that you’re near the mountains, you can go hiking and do wonderful things while being out of the city. I used to live in the city in a one-bedroom apartment and that’s not the place to be if you’re trying to heal. Think of moving if you can’t live in the center of the city and you’re struggling. Then, meditating to reduce those stress levels or calming yourself via music. Since you are a musician, it kind of avoids the pun that resonates with you. Then you’ve reduced stimuli that are negative like Facebook or these social platforms and television. You’ve also got professional help to help you deal with this emotional side of things. I realized recently that professional help, when it comes to emotional or psychology sort of topics, isn’t the same level of kind of social criticism or social judgment that it used to have. I’ve got family members and friends that were like I went to see someone about this. I was like, it must have been just me but like I shouldn’t go and see someone about this stuff. Now I feel like, if I wanted to see someone about some sort of challenges that are, in my mind emotional, and that’s totally normal holding onto a silly thing.
Elvira – I think it’s a generational thing, and I think you and I are about the same age. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I mean, it’s definitely more accepted nowadays and it’s also culturally accepted. I’m mixed and it’s a part of my culture. In fact, it’s part of therapeutic practices because the community is very much a part of the healing practice. There’s a lot of talking, expressing, and rebalancing. And that’s also another reason why I’ve approached my situation the way that I have. It’s not just being mindful about food, but being mindful about bringing everything into balance. For example, how does the body nourish food? It also brings the mind the heart and spiritual life into balance. If these things are out of balance, any one part of it because it’s all connected, they will all be affected. Those were my big aha moments and they continue to be my big aha moments. Even now I’m still tweaking and then working on things that can continue to improve. I look forward to continuing this down on this trajectory of improvement. But be mindful that these four areas; body, mind, spirit, and heart are all connected. They have to be worked on to bring balance back in. The part of the work that I did with the counselor, and it’s not just going to be counselor, took me a while to find the one that resonated with my beliefs and spirituality. It is because that’s how it would help me. But the issues that I was dealing with were throwing my mind and my heart out of balance. It was affecting my body, causing digestive issues, as I said it’s all connected. Those were the big aha moments that I’ve had. I have made a huge difference in getting past those blocks or moving on to that next step to continue healing and reversing all these symptoms.
Clint – Yeah, I love it. Thank you.
Elvira – You’re welcome.
Clint – On my list, you mentioned the mindset and the visualization. We spent several years together communicating inside our support platform. There’s that ongoing invitation there for anyone who would like to come to join us and get some help. It’s not just from myself on there, but the superstars are all the other people who are crushing it with their stories and exchanging ideas. What was the last thing? Something I wanted to close on was this lovely thing that you said, each of these things that we do is like mini prescriptions. We’re giving ourselves a little healing dose when we’re going to bed on time and a little healing dose when we meditate. These little prescriptions are such a nice little metaphor that our diet is like medicine. But all these other things are little prescriptions also and that just is a really beautiful way of looking at it.
Elvira – I’m glad that resonates, thank you.
Clint – Thank you very much and this has been a pleasure. You look so healthy and well, and I hope you continue to thrive and continue to hit all of the next goals that you have on your journey.
Elvira – Thank you so much. I’m so happy to finally be on the other side of this and to be here to share it with you. Thank you!