Upon finding that western medicine has no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, and that it’s minimally controlled through the use of powerful biologics (which shut down your entire immune system leaving you at the mercy of Tuberculosis, various cancers, and every cold and flu that comes your way), along with powerful pain killers (something I’ve never taken and can’t with stomach ulcers), I did quite a bit of research on natural remedies. You know…for just in case.
I didn’t say much to anyone about the gene that had been discovered in my blood. I knew how low the odds were of actual disease and I didn’t want anyone giving it energy. But something alarming was taking place right at around the week of this discovery. I mean…almost in unison. The cosmic timing on this was like it couldn’t have taken one month longer for me to find out what I was finding out. Suddenly my body seemed to be breaking down all over again, with emergent momentum and force.
The nighttime rib pain was creeping into my spine in a way it hadn’t before. Trying to sleep through the night was often impossible, and the next day’s repercussions were incredible stiffness in my entire spine and ribs…thus disabling me from flexing my back in any direction without feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me.
Simultaneously, my SI Joint inflammation had spread back over to the right and was now on both sides, combined with sometimes severe pain in both hip joints that made walking downright excruciating. Costochondritis was back and was wrapping all the way around from my sternum to the area under my shoulder blades, making it impossible to breathe deeply. Overall, there was no way I could move my body, night or day, without increasing the pain in multiple areas.
The findings of my research had been exclusively focused on diet and gut healing. Lactose and starch were particular enemies. I was satisfied that many patients were claiming real results from diet alone, and tried my best to focus on doing my stretches and protecting my injured body. If I did get the diagnosis, I’d put the whole thing to rest with proper dietary control. There’d never be any necessity to tell my family about this.
But as the days and nights passed, I found that keeping it a secret was only causing me to obsess over it more. I resolved to call my folks and disclose to them what the gene in my blood might mean.
With my condition oddly worsening and feeling more like the description of AS by the day, I couldn’t help wondering whether I should go ahead and begin the remission diet…even without a diagnosis. But the thought was so creepy; I didn’t want to entertain it as any real possibility.
Out of nowhere I received a call from a nurse. It was late September, about 2 ½ months out from my rheumatology appointment. She informed me that there’d been a cancellation and was an opening next week. Did I want it? YES! My holiday season would no longer have to be weighed down by this cloud of uncertainty.
These doctors listened well, patiently nodding as I told my entire story of 3 ½ years. They listened as I described with conviction how my injury had become complicated and changed over time. Then they conferred a while, leaving me alone in the room.
Upon their return, I was told that I was “a textbook case of Ankylosing Spondylitis”. Based upon my research, the collagen protein miracle suddenly made sense…As a general low-starch eater, my twice daily rice protein powder had been my only regular source of it until I switched. All the clues my body had given me were dawning on me at once.
I sat, calm as a cucumber, while they gave me basic information, then cooperatively feigned interest as they described the different drug options to me. They stressed that AS worsens while we’re horizontal and then ‘warms up’ with exercise as each day goes on. They said that with my regular stretching, AS would be unlikely to reach its ‘progression’ in my case. “This doesn’t have to be a death sentence,” the doctor said.
That was perhaps the least comforting statement I’ve ever been told in my life. I walked out thinking to myself…if AS is unlikely to progress in me, due to my good habits, what the hell is it like for someone who IS spiraling into its progression?