Obviously if you’ve come to my site, you probably have an autoimmune disease or know someone that does. Your body is working against you. So not only is your body making you sick, but perhaps your medications give you side effects or constant popping of supplements has you feeling ill. Or could there be something else going on that you don’t realize, in addition to these things?
I want to tell you a story about a recent experience of mine. I joined a clinical trial because I don’t have health insurance, and I was interested in getting some blood tests for free.
I was of course disappointed when I found out I wouldn’t be paid and the drive was quite far. I would lose a little bit of work here and there, and even more importantly,sleep. Still, I rationalized at the first visit that if I had the real deal and not the placebo, it would be worth the drive. The tests and the pill would add up to a lot of money, so why not give it a shot?
When I got the pill, I rushed to my car and even though I know you’re not suppose to break open the capsule, I did. I eagerly wanted to know…did I have the placebo or the real thing? It was a bright orangy yellow and it tasted, from what I could remember, like turmeric. I was ecstatic! I believed I had received the real thing!
I began taking the pill as described… 2 pills twice a day for one week, then 4 pills twice a day from thereafter.
My blood tests at initial visit showed that my CRP was within normal range. I still had substantial inflammation in my hands, but the doctor was surprised with my “normal” results. My next visit however, about a month later, I was having more inflammation and my tests showed it, along with my joints. I chalked it off as being a “healing crises” and continued taking my pills, thinking they were going to soon give me great benefits.
About a month later, I went in again. This time I was doing much worse. Test results showed higher inflammation, hands were far worse and elbows and other joints, including my neck were starting to become painful and really stiff again, something I hadn’t had in years. If you don’t know what this feels like, it feels exactly as you would imagine waking up from a bad car accident would feel like. Instead of waking up in the hospital bed, with hovering nurses and family, you’re waking up in your own bed, turning off your alarm clock and forcing yourself through the disability and pain to get through your day. Your neck feels like whiplash, your hands and wrists won’t bend and it hurts to be touched. Driving is dangerous and near impossible but you do it anyway.
The doctor told me I could come off the pill if I wanted…he hated seeing me suffer. He said the other guy asked if there was prednisone in the pill because he was feeling so good. But since I’ve taken lots and lots of supplements and experienced the “healing crises” first hand from many of them, I decided, “the worse the flare, the better the pill”. I explained to the doctor what had happened to me on other pills that ended up working out and that I had hoped turmeric wouldn’t do that to me, but since it is, maybe I’m not on the placebo and I’ll be reaping benefits here soon. He seemed surprised and sent me on my way. Secretly I was thinking, “wow, how can he not know about the healing crises?” And I felt FOR SURE that I MUST be on the real thing!
But then things got worse…. I missed an entire week of work. yep, seriously, I did. And I continued taking those stupid pills. I kept thinking, “i’m really going to feel great any time now.” But I didn’t. I got night sweats, aches and pains, extreme fatigue… I was at an all time low, one I hadn’t been at since the beginning of my RA, or at least not for some time. I improved my diet, took more pills of the supplements that I knew worked and felt confused why I wasn’t getting better.
Finally it occurred to me, “maybe I’m not on the real pill.” I came home one evening, made a plate of one teaspoon of real turmeric on one side, and the pill’s contents on the other. My husband and I did a look and taste test. The colors were different for sure. And the taste…. turmeric has a very distinctive taste. The powder from the pill however in comparison, I realized, tasted like flour, maybe???? but definitely not the turmeric on the other side. Nope, compared to that, it didn’t have a taste. My mind must have deceived me when I tried it before! I had been so hopeful! I just stupidly thought that they wouldn’t go to so much trouble and make a powder that looks and tastes like turmeric. Well they did, I was wrong, although the taste in comparison, ISN’T the same, now that I realize.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out all the ingredients that were in the placebo pill. But for sure, I had been taking yellow #5 and yellow#6, as well as potato starch. I am assuming the main ingredient was probably flour.
The day after I stopped taking the pills I started to feel better. Recovery has been slow but consistent. It’s completely apparent to me, that my intake of 8 pills a day of possibly flour and food coloring was the big culprit of my wild, almost four month flare. Since then, I have been trying to eat very cleanly, no processed foods, trying to get my system back to normal again. Luckily I am feeling fairly good again, but I really did learn a valuable lesson. That lesson is, my body doesn’t have “allergic reactions.” Instead, over time, it reacts by an increase of inflammation, damaging tissues, organs, and joints. As a result of this experience, I am far more aware than I ever was, that processed foods and food colorings are a big no-no. Sure, they are extremely hard to avoid on a daily basis, and I have slipped up a little. But in general, I am eating a very clean and organic diet and I’m hoping in time my body will continue to improve.
So ask yourself, what are you eating that might be fueling your fire? Perhaps it’s time to try avoiding it for at least two weeks, which should be enough time to feel the difference. And let all of us know what increases your inflammation, because we’d all like to know! :)
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