Our guest gives us another great example of how applying the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis with consistency can dramatically reduce symptoms.

We discuss in this interview:

  • Ursula’s first onset and diagnosis with RA, with severe symptoms
  • Attempts with medications and her encounter with the Paddison Program, which immediately led to a reduction in pain levels
  • How she was able to come back to an active life from barely walking
  • Managing medications while on the Program
  • Dealing with setbacks
  • Hip exercises
  • Qi Gong
  • Wrist exercises

Clint – Thanks for joining us. We have a guest today who’s going to share her transformation with rheumatoid arthritis. She’s going to tell us about how bad things were at one point and how far she has come. She’s part of our coaching group with the Paddison Program, she’s implemented our program, she’s got tremendous results, but I’m going to hand over to her. Her name is Ursula from Canada to tell us how bad she was and then how she is today. And then we’re going to get into exactly how she did it. So it’s going to be a very, very helpful interview. She loves to share, she’s an amazing personality. So, Ursula, tell us how bad were things and how are things now?

Ursula – Okay. The things were really bad that I actually was bedridden there for a while. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t lift my arms, I barely could get out of bed. I was always so tired, the fatigue. But most of it, it was the pain. And I never realized that stuff really could get that bad. So when I got diagnosed with rheumatoid, first of all I was really scared and I didn’t know really what to do. So I followed I just followed my own diet, but it went downhill there for a while. And like I said, at my worst it was oh, I don’t wish it on anybody until really I found the Paddison Program. And before when I got diagnosed, my CRP was actually really bad but I did manage in about 3 or 4 months by myself to bring it down to normal level, and by normal level I mean by five. Because what happened was this I didn’t have a rheumatologist at this time, we didn’t have one in town. So the doctor said, just take the Advil which I did and tried not to take because I was really anti medication. So I thought I should be able to do it with food, so I got this done but the pain, the pain was still there like and I was at five so I didn’t quite understand it.

Ursula – And I saw in my diet I’m missing something, I must be missing something. So I still did cheat, like I was not 100% vegetarian but then once I found the Paddison Program and this was like kind of up and down for me, I started the program, I believe about two years after I got diagnosed. I kind of sailed along till I found it, and I just bought the program, read it, and jumped in, and that really was the amazing thing. Like I would say in about a week, like I said, I barely could lift my arms, I had the pains, and in a week those pains were gone. So I knew it worked, and the Paddison Program for me was the missing link and I had something which I could follow like I needed structure at that point. Right? Like, I tried this, I tried this, I tried this, what worked? What didn’t work? I kind of knew, but I didn’t kind of nail it down. Where your program just gave me that. Oh, wow, that is great. And I also have to say, the pain right in here in the arms never did come back, those pains. But then really with the Patterson program, my journey actually then just started.

Clint – Exciting, exciting. So let’s just continue then on this momentum you’ve got here. Let me clarify, were you on meds at this point?

Ursula – I didn’t go on meds for three years, okay? I did not go on meds. When they wanted to put me on meds, I’m going, no, I’m not going to, I’m not going to do it, let me try it like this first. And then I discovered, like I said, that was before even when I was so bad, I started doing qigong. I started off very, very, very slowly, you know, maybe about five minutes, ten minutes, ten minutes a day. And it was just so I could get the movement in because I really couldn’t walk. And when I mean walk, I barely made it around the block. I also have to mention I always worked, I still worked when I needed to go somewhere, I’m a contractor, I took some pills. And I can’t take strong pills because I still need to be able to drive, I still need to be able to function. And when there was lifting or whatever, I would take somebody with me. I would wear braces. Right? So people wouldn’t, oh, can we help you. Right. Because somehow it was always affected my wrist the worst. Okay. So people would actually help me. But when I did it, then I was laid up for two days afterwards because it exhausted me so much.

Clint – The work?

Ursula – And it wasn’t really hard work, but whatever I did just it was the exhaustion on top of it. So going back to the Paterson program, okay, so I started this and I think on the basic I stayed on it for about 3 or 4 weeks and then started slowly adding things. And I’m the person who’s not very patient right? I’m going to add two. Right? So and really watched about my pain level, and my pain level really, really decreased. Doing the qigong I became more flexible and more flexible, so then about six months into the program my blood levels were all of them were normal, okay. They were normal, there was absolutely no problem. I went to the rheumatologist and she said, what are you doing? Because first he measured my movement, right? And all of a sudden I could lift my arms, I could do this, I could bend over, like from what I was before like I was a totally different person. So then I thought, well then I skied for a winter too. So then just before the pandemic hit, I decided I’m going to go on a trip. Okay, so I went for five weeks to Thailand and Cambodia. So the reason why I mentioned this is because they eat lots of soup, lots of seaweed, lots of sushi. And I told them I’m a vegetarian, I had given up meat by that time, so it was just great and I actually felt really good. I took very little Advil, I still wore my braces because of the fact the thing which really hurt for me was my wrists, they always have bothered me.

Ursula – So I traveled there and it was absolutely wonderful. It was like, oh my God, I almost feel normal. Right? I still at night, like I would get up early, do things all day and 8 -00, 8 -30 at night I was done, that was it, I need to go lay down, sleep till 6 or 7 in the morning, I needed my eight-hour sleep, but the food really helped me there, which was so great. Like all the fresh fruit and like I said, and the sushi and not even fish, I did everything vegetarian. So I came back, and then maybe it’s the weather here too, all of a sudden then it went downhill again. That was also a week before the world closed down, before the pandemic. We just got out of there before a week and then everything was cancelled. So then, I was just at home. Anyway then, I just really kind of sailed along, it wasn’t too bad, I still did my qigong, and I didn’t let that bother me that it was the pandemic, I was a homebody anyway I couldn’t do much. So but then one becomes a little bit lazy, and also I have to say is that even when I was always by myself, my husband worked out of town, so he only was home on the weekends, so I had no help. Like, even when I was really bad, getting out of bed, my kitchen, I had everything placed outside so I could cook, like, instapot, steamer, whatever you can imagine. Every little thing I bought and I had and that so but I needed everything up because I couldn’t lift anything. So everything had to be at eye level and my drawers are really hard to open up even my cutlery, my everything, because I couldn’t. Even so I felt good, but it was my wrists, my wrists killed me. So then I went back to the rheumatologist we took some x-rays and I did have some damage. But the thing was I never understood is all my blood work was normal so it was fine. And he said he did I don’t remember what test he did and said, you know, your rheumatoid is really active. But how can it be so active if my blood work is fine, and everything like from the liver or whatever, they check nothing, all in normal range.

Ursula – So he said, you know, you really should go on medication and I’m going, no, I’m not bad enough yet, I don’t want to. But then it’s my rate and I think I cheated then at that time to, went a little bit off the program and you know what? It affected me right away. It’s like, this is like you become almost complacent. Yeah. I’m good now, you know? Yeah, I can live with this. Right. So anyway, so then I think actually I wrote that down in September, in September 2021, I got diagnosed in 2017, that’s the first time I took medication and I went down on Plaquenil. Okay, 200mg. And what that did to me, it made me fly down the stairs. Okay. Because I seemed like I got dizzy spells or missed stuff. And that was right in the right in the beginning. I landed on my hip on my bad one too. Oh yeah. I guess I’m blessed, I have a really high pain tolerance. So I got up and just racked it off and say, okay, let’s get moving.

Clint – Okay. So because of an association and may have been around the time after you started the medication, you felt very light headed and one day you fell and you really hurt one of your hips that had already been damaged.

Ursula – That was already damaged but not from not from the RA that has been going on for a long time, but it just landed on it. So then all of a sudden I can’t walk again, right? Like it was, that was really bad. And then, you know, like it. Then all of a sudden it went into my ankles, then it went back into my shoulder. Then I mentioned it before where I laid down, and I actually had to pull up my head. So I understand people, my neck hurt. When driving, I have one of the vehicles where the steering is really hard I couldn’t drive it because I couldn’t steer. The steering was too much for me so I needed to get another vehicle. And they couldn’t show the check because I had to turn like this, like it was, I don’t know, it was frustrating. And sometimes, you know, I come home and I just broke down, just cried because I’m going, why me? Like, really? Why me? What did I do? So I think everybody goes through that. So I kept on taking the, plaquenil and still ever so often did throw in did throw in an Advil because I couldn’t stand the pain. Like I would go to bed at night and I would go, no, I’m not taking anything. 2 -00 in the morning I would wake up, oh my God, I can’t sleep, the pain is just so bad. Get up, take it, then in the morning, do the exercises again, back then I started back on the basics. And that went that kind of for some reason went up and up and down. But the thing is I kept on pushing, and I did my qigong, and then I got then I actually what I meant before in 2019, 18, 19, I got I tried to get certified in medical qigong, and I did so much research on all of that and it did work. But sometimes I also have to say, when you’re really, really down and out and you really can’t move, then it just doesn’t matter. Like there were times where I said, I’m going to give up and then the next day is, okay, no, I’m going to go for it again. But it’s just like I said, it was an emotional roller coaster for me. And then I had to get the Covid shots and they nearly killed me. Okay, I have to honestly say that, but I had no choice and that doesn’t matter, it’s an individual choice anyway. Right? So after the third one, I was all of a sudden everything was fine. I did the six weeks and I’ll be honest, I tried the six weeks program where you just choose, right? I said, you know what? Can’t lose anything, right? But what happened to me? I dropped, I think, 25lbs I was so much underweight. But when I went to the office, even my wrist had no pain. But I knew that I couldn’t sustain that, and I didn’t even want to sustain it. Because for me, it’s not the right lifestyle, like it’s I’ll be honest, Paddison was always in the back of my mind. And I’m going, but you know what? I’m home. Let’s try it. Right. And then I got the third shot, and then I had the highest rate, which you can have in CRP that just shot up. And then I went down the rabbit hole because I felt so good. So why why is that happening? That I went from really so good. And that was in a matter of about three weeks that anybody can go downhill that quickly.

Clint – I can completely relate and I don’t want to distract from your story. But remember when I had a setback? I ate a big oily meal several years ago. I jumped on the, I decided, okay, I’m going to exercise now at a level that I haven’t in a while get back into. And then I had a biking accident and that hit my left knee, exactly what happened to you, which was the one joint that was most compromised, took the damage, and then that inflammation came back to that knee. And then all my focus for the next year and a half was around the knee. I ended up having to get a knee immediate knee replacement because I couldn’t walk. It was just a total disaster from that one meal led to a biking around places I hadn’t gone accident, and it all fell apart. Just like what you’re talking about. And so when the inflammation is high in the body from a trauma, an accident, and we can’t then exercise, we’re stressed. There’s high inflammation circulating through the body which ends up getting to the gut wall causing more intestinal permeability. We get caught because of that one traumatic event that’s triggered the body to completely fall out of balance. And so I can so relate to your story because that hip accident caused a downfall of events that would have probably been avoided had you hadn’t had that accident.

Ursula – It down spiraled like it was crazy. And I just went to some of my because I’ve got it back till uh, uh, 2012, you know, all my medical records and all the tests. Right. And everything was pretty well, normal until that, from that fall. But then I think my biggest problem was when I got so bad after I had the Covid shot. Like I really I gave up and I’m going, okay, I’m so bad anyway I might as well eat this and then I really harmed myself. I harmed myself more than anything. I’m going, okay, you know what? It really doesn’t matter. Like, it seems like so it took me almost a year to climb out of this. My favorite was cheese, for example. So every so often I would have a piece, I would have a piece of cheese. Which of course I could feel and the really weird part is, is because I make up lots of my own recipe. I see something and I’m going, yeah, okay, I can make that the way what I can eat with and what I never realized that I do lots of curries. But I always added in the organic tomato sauce, the organic tomatoes. Which regular tomatoes don’t bother me. And I’m always going afterwards. You know what? What was in it? There was nothing in there really, which would harm me. So then I went away, and this is just. And I didn’t make my curries or whatever, anything with tomato sauce in it for about a week or two weeks. All of a sudden my wrist got better. Figure that one out, you know?

Clint – What did you put it down to?

Ursula – I put it down. There was something in the cans because I don’t eat out of cans. Really? Like, everything is made fresh, even my beans. That’s just an emergency where I use a can I do mine in the in the instapot packages, freeze them, put them away when I need them, I take them out. So. And it was that that I cannot have any tomato sauce or any canned tomatoes in anything. If I put the fresh ones in, I’m okay. Should that one that made a huge difference for me for some reason. But anyways, going back, going back to climbing back out. Okay. I quit my qigong, I quit pretty well, pretty well everything and kind of felt sorry for myself. Yeah. Until this, till I kind of had to kick myself in the butt again because I never asked for any help from anybody, so it was really hard for me even to when I joined the forum, just to tell you to ask, to ask for help. Because when I’m down, I just want to be by myself, and I’ve never learned in my whole life to ask for support on that. I was taught to deal with it yourself which is kind of silly, right? Because I know I could have learned so much before. But anyways, I struggled, I went through it and I came back out again.

Clint – Let’s now fast forward a little bit. So then you can fill in the blanks between where you’re up to and today. But, uh, you’ve just recently been given more approval for more reductions of medications we’ve been working on, talking about things like improving the range of motion through your wrist, more activity through your wrist, and all that sort of stuff. Where did the methotrexate come into the picture?

Ursula – The methotrexate came in after I had Covid, and everything went through the roof and I went to the doctor and I said, please, I want the needle, I’m done I cannot handle it anymore. I was in so much, you know, just like this, right? And I canceled most of my calls because I just couldn’t do it and it was the exhaustion. So they so they started running, my doctor gave me a shot just to bridge me over. And then I saw the rheumatologist that they worked really close together and he said, okay, you got to start this. I started you on a low dose on 8 milligrams, that’s where I started. And he said it should really it should really work for you. My doctor said you got to watch out for this and this. And of course I did all my research and I would say in about, didn’t take that long because the shot worked, it worked in about two days, that’s how strong a shot she gave me. And I wrote it down. I don’t even know because I didn’t even want any shots. But like I said, I was done with everything. Just medicate me up. Help me.

Clint – That was a a, uh, steroid shot, right?

Ursula – So that was actually the only steroids that I ever had in my life. I have to say that, too. Okay. And then I started methotrexate and that really worked for me. And then it went really upwards. But the behind the other side of methotrexate is, oh, it works, now I can cheat. Okay. So I mean, you know, that’s human nature, right? And by cheat I don’t mean I’m going to go out and have ice cream, and I’m going to have processed food whatever. I can have a couple more slices of sourdough bread or bread. And, and I did have a tiny little bit of cheese. The cheese doesn’t go over and I’m going, what are you doing? Anyways, I stopped that again and that’s what I keep on saying. The methotrexate worked great for me and I feel horrible that I didn’t start it sooner. I could have saved myself a lot of pain, and I could have saved probably a lot of damage to my wrists, which are locked now. I can’t bend them and I live with that. I can’t blame the doctor, I only can blame myself because I was stubborn. I’m not taking any medication and that sailed along. My rheumatologist unfortunately retired, but he brought a young rheumatologist in and she took me on as a patient. My rheumatologist is wonderful because he listens to me. He knew exactly when a new study was coming out and I would say who did it, what the pharmaceuticals involved, or who paid for the studies. I always ask a question and he was so patient with me. When he retired he told me, I got to tell this story, which rheumatologist comes over and hugs you and says, you were a great patient. Going back to the rheumatologist, I asked, can we start reducing the Plaquenil? I’m going to take it every second day. Then she said, let’s do it every second day. I would say in the next months I’m going to go off of it on my next appointment. Then, I’ve been on methotrexate for a little bit over a year. After a year I said to her, I feel good and can we reduce it? Then she said, let’s reduce it. This is the reason why I said this because I could travel again. I was going to Europe to see my family and they wouldn’t give me the doses. I just reduce it to six and it will last me until I get back.

Clint – That’s funny. We don’t want to seem rebellious or ridiculous, but like it’s your story. This is what happened and you’re just sharing.

Ursula – Anyway, I called my rheumatologist and said I need your permission for that. If she would have said no, absolutely not. Then, yes, I would have gotten it. However, it was the principle of it for me. Then she said, try it and as soon as there’s anything, let me know. She said, call me right away and we can increase it to whatever works for you. Now, I’m on six and the less I go, the more I have to watch to go back 100% on the program because I know that’s the only savior. Okay, I still keep on exercising. However, I’m a bit reduced because of my hip, but I still do all of my other exercises. I started to go full swing into Qigong again. Also, exercise is the key for me I don’t do specific exercises. Well yes, it’s the Qigong but I try to move all day. Like when I drive, I flick my fingers and I do this because I’m sitting there doing that doesn’t distract me. I just go but it’s always I always try to move and that has saved me. However, there were times and I said in the fall when I had to pull my head up, I couldn’t do left or right. When people talk about it, I know exactly like when it moves around, like one minute it’s in the knee, the next minute it’s in the shoulder, then it goes into your neck, and then it goes back to your ankle. Also, yesterday was a good day. However, today I barely can walk and I can’t lift my arm and neck. Like every time you do anything because you use it and that was so bad. I don’t even know how I could cry just thinking about it. Then, all of a sudden it seemed like it was gone, which was the weird part. I did some bizarre exercises I researched and I did Feldenkrais, I did like there was a whole bunch of little things which I tried slowly. Then, all of a sudden it hasn’t come back.

Clint – Incredible, previously you had all of these things going on your neck, shoulder, knee, ankles, and wrists. You’re also struggling to get out of bed. Now, you’re only on six tablets of Methotrexate.

Ursula – No, I do the shots.

Clint – Oh, you do the shots.

Ursula – I do the shots, once a week.

Clint – So you have methotrexate only as your drug and you work full time. Then, you are only affected in the wrist primarily. Then, you do all the other lifestyle things to keep all the other stuff that used to be there out of the picture.

Ursula – Yes. The other thing is, which is gone when I used to be in pain and it was always the fatigue. I would get that probably last year. I would have to get up and I would say, I’m sorry, I have an RA day and that means I’m bound to the couch. I can’t do anything and I have no energy. Then, I would rest for a day just rest. Then, the next day I would be good again. Like, it’s listening to your body. When I was in Europe in October, I got COVID and just to tell you, I didn’t even know that I had COVID, I thought I had an RA day. I said I think I traveled too much or extended myself. Today’s the day that I would just lay on the couch and do nothing. Maybe watch a little bit of TV. I can’t read because I can’t do it. The next day, I got up and I was good to go. I don’t know if that happened, but you have to listen. I knew now when my body said enough even now okay, take a rest day and that’s it. I’m not going to do anything or I don’t cook anything. I have my tea, drink lots of water, and that’s about it. I could also have a salad, but that’s the most important thing to me.

Clint – Okay, you rest on the days where you feel no energy, but you said that hasn’t happened in a while.

Ursula – No, it hasn’t. I also notice when I get out of bed, I do some little exercise before I hit the floor. When I sit down, I’m doing the first step. Like, I used to get up and it’s like walking, and just really walking on nails, you know. However, that’s all gone and I’m almost normal. My wrists are slowly improving. It’s just so nice in the forums because you learn so much. You know when you think you know everything, you know nothing. You always learn and that has helped me. As I mentioned before, I should have done that a long time ago. However, I don’t ask for help. I only say when I’m good but bad stuff is happening behind me. I dealt with it, but it was tough and it’s a long road. It doesn’t go from today to tomorrow. Sometimes you never give up, you never give up.

Clint – How would you describe your quality of life now compared to the average person, say, out of ten?

Ursula – I would say I’m about eight. There are a few things like, but it’s hopefully going to be a ten soon. Once the stuff is resolved with the hip I want to go skiing again. I want to go biking and I tried a bike. They have the strings to press into the gears. This is my thing and I’m not sure, but I used to paddle board, which is good for balance. As I said, I’m going to try that because it’s good for the balance. However, I can’t do it right now because of my hip, you know. I want to do all of those things, and just get out and enjoy things. The quality of life for me since I had that went down and I’m trying to get it back.

Clint – Yeah. Absolutely. Why don’t we talk about the hip a bit more? I know more about that situation than what we’ve shared here on the call. As you said, we’re in the communication together. Why don’t we talk about the risks? I know those risks have improved over the previous few months, as we’ve been sharing back and forth about strategies around the risks. Then, I want you to share as many tips as you can squeeze into other people across a spectrum of RA management, from mindset to happiness to determination to little hacks, tips, and stuff with the time that we have left. Let’s begin with the hip. I know that did a lot of damage that fell on top of a very bad long-term hip issue. You have been waiting on getting that hip replaced, haven’t you?

Ursula – Yes, I just got a phone call yesterday, it might be sooner than later.

Clint – Yes. Okay. All right. It’s because that could bring back into balance all of the future plans that you have on wanting to do all these things. Once a joint is that bad and I know how bad it is from communicating with you regularly. Once the hip is that bad, it’s all bone on bone and it’s affecting how you’re walking It’s the only major joint, right? That’s kind of in this situation. If you can bring that one back up to speed with the rest of your body, then it could open up so many more avenues for recreational enjoyment.

Ursula – I did like it again with the hip so I can move it. I did special hip exercises all the time. I just do what I feel is good for me and I never push it. Then, I see how it works out the next day. Sometimes I overdo it and it’s not good. At least now, I’m pushing myself because I do almost 5 to 10,000 steps at a minimum. My husband walked with me and said, I can see you limping. Then I said, I don’t want to hear that. He said, are you sure you don’t want to sit down with me? Then he said, I’ll come and get you with the car. Then I said, no, I’m going to walk home and there’s absolutely no way. The movement and the exercise are together, and it has improved my hip. As I said, tomorrow I can get up and go, oh what happened? Not even doing anything might have been the way I slept. I know that’s the same with the knee and that’s what I’m hoping to resolve. Also, it’s now going on to my wrists. My wrists jump from one to the other like last week I had. I think it’s sometimes how I sleep at night. I started wearing braces again and it’s just to remind me they’re not tired or whatever. It’s just to remind me not to lay your hand on it, or not to put it on the heel. It is because I can injure them myself. For example, I picked up a package that was over 40 lb. Then, I needed to lift them differently and I hurt my wrist again. So I did that myself, don’t do that again. It’s mostly self-inflicted because I know if I don’t use them much or don’t lift anything. Then, they’re fine until I do something crazy again. By crazy, I mean I lift heavy stuff, I lift it wrong. I would like to say they were so bad at cleaning, like just using a broom or writing my name. I couldn’t hold a pen, that’s how bad they were. I could not hold the pen or write. Also even cutting something wouldn’t work for me and I could not do it. It’s because most of the time I was by myself, I had a really hard time. I gotta say this because I’m still laughing about this. I saw a kitchen chainsaw and that would be perfect. My husband said, there’s no way because I can see you slicing your finger off.

Clint – I haven’t ever heard of one. How big is this thing?

Ursula – It’s only about this big. I said, wow, that’s really neat. Anyway, every time I think of doing a melon or something else, I think that would be happy if nobody was there. I just dropped it on the floor because those were my challenges because I live by myself. Most of the time now, my husband is retired, he is home. When I was at my worst or when there was nobody around most of the time. As I said, I never go and ask for help. Also, a funny story that people might appreciate. I had COVID and I was by myself at home and I said, could you pick me up something to drink? I really don’t drink pop and I have to say that. However, I had a real craving for ginger ale as they call it. They said, okay, we’ll leave it outside the door. How am I going to open it up because I can’t unscrew it? I look for lots of tools like vise grips. Those are the stories that make me laugh, right? It is because of all the crazy things I came up with to get something done. It’s all because you can’t use your hands. Thus, you have to get creative. I have to see that sometimes because if I look at only the bad part, it’s depressing to me. I gotta look at the fun part, because of how I resolved some problems where nothing goes. How did you come up with this? I said because of desperation. If you want something, that’s what you do. So anyway, this is how I dealt with some stuff. Not to say sometimes I broke down in tears and I’m going why? Once you pull yourself out again. Then just think of the bright side of what you have accomplished and how you did it, all of your pains make it a little bit easier.

Clint – Yeah, absolutely. What works for your wrists? What do you do other than resting them? It is because that’s not as proactive a healing strategy as I like.

Ursula – By resting, I don’t mean not doing anything, but resting. I mean, I’m not lifting anything heavy like I do. I always do different and always move my fingers. Then, I have the bands where I pull up and down. Then you told me, to do this and that works. Then, back and forth like I do. Those are the things that I do pretty well all day long when I think about it. I don’t mean I sit like this when I mean resting. By resting, I mean, I’m not lifting stuff around. This is my biggest downfall because I always overdo it. I can do it right and that’s what I mean, and that’s how I am when I rest them. No, you’re not going to lift 30lb or 40lb today. No, you’re not going to do this. You’re just going to keep on moving and use your strengths. The bands, I’ve got them hanging at the door you know. When I walk by the door, I give it a quick pull. I have the string script and Carl showed us some exercises. I take a yogurt container and just grip it like this and that has worked wonders for me. Like, my grip has probably improved, I would say 60-70% because I hold people’s hands and say, look at this. I squeeze their hand and go, oh my God, you got strength back. This is so great, right? This just comes from movement. I also use screwdrivers a lot. I work with tools a lot, and it’s all those movements if you do them too much. I had to redo a whole bunch of equipment and use little screwdrivers and tiny things. Then, after eight hours doing all of this, the next day, I said to myself, I did it. Because it’s always the same movement. In short, just with the training of moving them and doing back and forth and all of the finger exercises which are always looked up and that works for me. Just keep on moving like dancing and I love music. When I’m cooking, I’m dancing and it’s just movement. I had students staying here at one time and they’re going they’re looking at me. Are you nuts? I’m going no, you got to keep on moving.

Clint – I love it! I’m so glad we clarified that, because the takeaway message for the risks for some people, had we not, would have been, Ursula’s risks are improving. She’s resting them, but that is very misleading. You’re resting really what we’ve defined that as is not overloading them.

Clint – Resting in Ursula’s terms is lots and lots of light movements. Throughout the day well-defined resistance movements through bands in a way that doesn’t irritate them.

Ursula – Yeah, that’s exactly it.

Clint – I’m really glad that came out because that’s the Ursula I know from your weekly updates to us in the group, not resting is going on whatsoever. Now tell us, we’ve got a little time left. Can you just tell us how impactful qigong is for you at the moment has been, and how much you’d recommend that to others? First of all, quickly tell us what it is and then answer the other questions.

Ursula – Okay, Qigong is a slow-movement exercise where you move your whole body in different ways. It covers every joint and the muscles from top to bottom. Okay. There are all different exercises and it’s very slow-moving. It’s dynamic like compared to yoga where yoga is more static. It’s what I like because of the dynamic movement, you don’t feel like you’re doing anything and it has a great impact. I actually posted some, but I posted it in the forum and I don’t know if it ever made it. The three videos that I started were like six minutes in the morning or eight minutes. It’s an elderly fellow, who explains it down to detail how you will feel the difference, and that’s what got me started. Now, I can do an hour and it will work. Everything from my shoulder, neck, ankles, wrists, and everything is covered in it. It has saved my life because even the rheumatologist said, we’ve never seen you. However, I’m more flexible now than I was in my 20s, just to tell you. As I said, I can stand up, touch my toes, and pull my ankles. I can’t bring my legs up and I can’t cut my toenails standing. I can bend down like this, which is impossible. Right. The strength you gain like I was climbing almost a little mountain. It was for about 45 minutes going up very straight. It was hot and it was in the summer. Then, I was walking with a group and they stopped. Then I said, what’s wrong I don’t even feel my leg yet. This is how you notice when you test it out. Then I said to myself, where does all that strength come from? I thought it must be the Qigong. I’m standing on top of a hill and I’m saying, okay, let’s do a few Qigong exercises. It is because everybody said, we thought you had RA. Then, I said, I do, but this is what that did to me. I’ve been doing it now for 6 or 7 years.

Clint – I’m sorry, I just need to cut you off just to wrap this section up quickly. But also, your hip orthopedic surgeon said you were in fantastic shape before surgery too, didn’t he?

Ursula – Yeah. He said I’m in the top 1% and that all comes from the Qigong. I get up in the morning and there are five movements which I make, and that’s just warming up all my joints. Then, bringing fluid into your spine. Then, there are four movements that you need to make so that you regenerate your spine. Then, even if I don’t have time, those are the most important exercises for me. I do Qigong in the evening and you get the best sleep.

Clint – I have those videos from inside the coaching platform. Let me grab those and I’ll post them for everyone else. If they’d like to see those introductory videos that you showed.

Ursula – It was that video that got me started, which got me started.

Clint – Okay, awesome. I’ll be over at www.rheumatoidsolutions.com. We have to get the last thing here. What would be maybe 3 or 4 top tips for people who are inflamed and want some new insights, or some reminders as to what to focus on to ensure that inflammation is as controlled as it possibly could be?

Ursula – First of all, stick to the diet and that to me is very important. I went off and tried just even not to cheat for a month. Just stick to it, okay? If it gets boring, what I did is take the food that you can eat and create something. That’s what I did, okay? Create something of your favorite recipe. Make it with the foods which you can instead of oil, just use water. It’s one that’s what I did and it never gets boring. When it gets boring you go to the other side. The second one is to keep moving, keep moving. I find as soon as you sit down and sit too much. Get up, and take an RA day if you have to once a week or once a month. The other is to push yourself or you have to push yourself if you want to get better. I know there were times when I was ready to give up. You got to get out of it if you want to heal. It’s for everybody in a different situation. We’re not all the same and what works for me might not work for you. Try research, ask questions, try different things, and always listen to your body. That’s the main thing I found even with the exercise, right? If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. When somebody might be able to do this okay? This way you can modify it, so it feels good for you and that’s what I had to do too. Like there were some Qigong exercises right? I can’t do that because I can’t use my wrist. So why don’t I modify it? It doesn’t matter to do it right all the time. It doesn’t have to be the perfect form as long as you do it, and that’s the way I feel. As long as you do it, okay? I might make mistakes and just ask. As long as it just keeps on plugging away and doesn’t look at the form so much. That’s what I had to learn. It’s because you always want perfection like it needs to be just perfect. No, it’s not about this. It’s about continuing that you that you do find something else. If this doesn’t work for you, go do the next exercise. All I can say is to anybody who checked out that Qigong like me that saved my life. Keep trying you know it will get better and don’t give up. I gave up a few times and you know what? When I look back I’m going, oh my God, thank you that I kept on going. I’m thankful every day for the way I am. Yes, there are the little risks, it’s whatever, right? We’ll deal with it. Just see the little steps, all the little steps you made and it’s all progress. As I said before, I can’t change my wrists anymore to live with it because I cast it myself. Keep moving forward and that’s it for me just moving forward, and look what you still can do. This is the way I look at it and I still want to go skiing, biking, paddle boarding. I want to do those things and I might have to wear wrist guards on some of them. When I’m out there doing what I used to do and that’s when you set yourself a goal. That’s what I’ve been doing because I want to travel here and I want to do this. However, I have to be healthy enough and good enough to do it. I sit around on the couch and feel sorry for myself, I’m not going to get there. Just get off the couch, get off your chair, and do it. If you have to dance all day, do it because it’s all in the movement.

Clint – I love it.

Ursula – That’s really my message and be excited about whenever you learn something, right? As for me, I’ve always tried this and it turned out so good. Everything I do when it works, and that’s great. Keep on doing it and don’t ever fall off the wagon. The other thing is I used to play Russian roulette with the food, when I try this or will I go off or not? I have to quit that. I quit that now because it doesn’t get you anywhere. You’re not supposed to have it get yourself in a good position. Then maybe, you can try it and I don’t even know which. My downfall is the bread because I’m European and that’s the bread like all the other stuff, the sausage and stuff like this. When I go to people say, it’s so good. Then I’m going, are you trying to kill me? No, I don’t want to eat this. Also, don’t let people bully because I got bullied for not eating this type of food. They will be like, you always have to eat this food, what’s wrong with you? Is it not good enough for you? Then, I say, it’s all good enough and I just want to stay healthy.

Clint – Look, we can talk about this on our weekly calls don’t get too concerned about that. The bread is not going to be a major catastrophe for you if you can continue to build your health and resilience through more diversity of plants in the diet. It could be more resilient through the wrist by building strength around the wrist, through movement and resistance exercises. You’ll be able to have your bread.

Ursula – Like I said, my thing is just don’t give up. We all fall off the wagon. Let’s go back on and let’s go again. I would have never gotten here where I am today if I hadn’t done that and stayed in this little almost like a depression. Thus, you have to pull yourself together. I know how tough it is. Like I said, now I can look back and just go, I got away from this. Just when I look back and people comment on me when they see me now say, wow, what did you do? You look so much better. I’m going, yeah, I feel so much better and that’s all because of the diet, exercise, and the I’m doing stuff. Then, you have to feel good about yourself that you did it and nobody else. You did it right and you have to be proud of yourself and go. I know I’m not going to beat it 100% or maybe I will, right? However, let’s keep on going and see where it takes me, and that’s my message.

Clint – It’s beautiful, Ursula. Thank you so much. I love how you can drive so much information with passion. You’re so enthusiastic and it’s contagious. Thank you very much for sharing with us. I know you’re going to hit all of those goals with your skiing and everything else that you want to do. It is because you’re so determined and you take responsibility. You say this has happened to me and I can’t change that. However, what can I change, what can I influence, and what actions can I take that align with steps towards my big vision that I’ve put out there, which is the life that I want in the future? Thus, that is so powerful, and it comes across so strongly that you are going to get there. Everyone who’s listening or watching this can tell you’re going to hit those goals.

Ursula – Can I say one more thing? I had I have two granddaughters. I was never allowed and I couldn’t take them anywhere because I can’t open the car seats, I can’t lift them. I couldn’t do any of those things. About a month ago, my granddaughter still living in New York, came here. Then I said, okay, let’s go to the mall. Then she said, you can’t get me in the car. I said, let’s try it and I put her in the car seat. I hooked her up and I unhooked her. Then, she said, wow, you can do that now and that is so great. A four-year-old noticed my improvement and told me, you I can’t go with you because you can’t do that. Thus, that’s a big win for me, right? I just wanted to share with you and it’s the little wins that keep you going.

Clint – Exactly, thank you, Ursula. You’re amazing and I’m so grateful to have you today.

Ursula – Thank you, Clint!

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  1. Great interview. I find them very motivating to stay the course. Where on the website can I find the Chi Gong videos?

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