Larry's Story 

My Battle with Ankylosing Spondylitis
(Rheumatoid Arthritis)

                When in my early thirties, I began having eye flare-ups, called iritis by the doctors. The first occurrence was especially painful. I remember sitting up all night, hugging a pillow and rocking from the intense pain. My eye was bright red and felt like a fireball. The ophthalmologist prescribed pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, but for nearly two months I lived in a darkened room. My eyes were so sensitive to light that we had to cover the windows. After a slow recovery, which took nearly five months, I was finally back to normal - until the next fall. The entire cycle then repeated again - pain, drugs, dark for months. Needless to say, this was inconvenient, because I couldn't stand the light to work and except for the Lord meeting our needs, our family of five would have been in desperate condition.

                During my thirties, this problem reoccurred every year, sometimes twice in the same year. I tried several different specialists, but they all said and did basically the same things: pain killers, steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs. I shouldn't have been surprised, because they all were trained in the same medical system, but I was hoping that someone would have a new approach to the problem.

                Finally, one doctor asked "What's causing this?" He felt there must be some underlying reason and suggested that I see a rheumatologist. That seemed strange to me, so because the symptoms were again being relieved, I put that thought aside and got on with my life... for awhile....

                Soon I began noticing new additional problems: I had difficulty bending low enough to get in and out of the car. My lower back had constant throbbing pains, which were sometimes sharp. My neck became stiffer and stiffer and finally wouldn't bend much at all. Strangely, I felt shorter than normal, after being the tallest for my whole life. We finally put the clues together and made the appointment for the rheumatologist.

                I felt very lucky, because the doctor I chose was well recognized in his field. He held seminars and taught other doctors about arthritis. After an extensive office examination, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the spine. My back x-rays looked like a bamboo fishing pole instead of discs and vertebra. Blood tests supported the diagnosis. Well, what is the treatment? Pain killers, steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Sound familiar? At least, I thought, we are finally treating the real problem, the arthritis inflaming my spine.

                I will never forget a conversation I had with the doctor at one of the office visits. He informed me that my life expectancy was ten years less because of this disease! Why? My rib cage would eventually begin to fuse and my breathing would become shallower than normal. I would be highly susceptible to pneumonia. Then he informed me that at some point in time I would need to choose whether to be straight or sitting, as my spine would permanently fuse in one position or the other. In other words, he was offering no hope for a cure, just symptom relief for a time. Almost yearly we had to change to stronger and stronger drugs. The relief from each prescription seemed to diminish with use. Finally, special injections were suggested, but the side effects were liver and kidney damage, along with a list of other probable things. This top rheumatologist didn't have anything else to offer.

                It was at this time I became aware of a doctor who had rheumatoid arthritis, and was actually getting better, not just getting symptom relief! He taught me that what we eat directly affects our bodies and can be the root cause of arthritis as well as many other diseases and problems. He had tremendous insight into what was causing my body to malfunction and offered homeopathic and nutritional products rather than prescriptions to begin the process of repairs. I learned that the steroids and pills the other doctors had prescribed had actually worsened my digestive system and added to the underlying problem I had- the Standard American Diet! (S.A.D.)

                My wife began researching foods and arthritis. It became clear that the things I had normally been eating were causing the arthritis to worsen and the things my body needed were not on my preferred list to eat. I was my own enemy! With tremendous support from my wife, I began to cut back on dairy, meat, sugar, and many other processed foods. I started having carrot and celery juice in the morning. We added Barleygreen® and AIMRedibeetsTM to the juice to supply a powerful nutritional package. Snacks now became fresh fruit instead of candy. Lunch became dark green salads instead of hot dogs or hamburgers. We also learned about other natural products that would support the friendly bacteria our digestive system needs to get the fullest benefit from the good nutrition I was now eating.

     As the months and years go by, I can measure the improvement I am feeling as my body heals itself using live foods rather than the dead food I used to eat. I have begun a morning exercise routine that starts my day right. At my job (I am a TV repairman) I daily lift 60 pound televisions, and even help lift and carry projection TVs – without pain!  I no longer creep from place to place, I walk briskly. Instead of fearing stairs, I actually look for opportunities to get something from the basement or second floor, just to have an excuse to use up some of the new found  energy. I like having my future back, too! My life is totally changed from what it was!

                God has created a wonderful, intricate, self- healing machine called the human body. In our modern, fast paced lives, we are typically eating the wrong foods/fuel for health. If we stop consuming the useless processed dead food that is the normal fare of the majority of Americans, and instead give our systems the fresh, live foods it was designed to use, our bodies will repair themselves and function at their highest levels.

                We now believe and teach an E R S method: Eliminate the dead food and harmful things in our life, Replenish the body with fresh foods, Supplement for special needs that we have. My good wife, Carmela, has written a wonderful 45 page booklet filled with helpful suggestions for those who want to improve their diet but don't think they can make the changes. It is called "The Junk Food Lover's Step-by-Step Guide To Healthier Eating."

                If you would like more information about the diet changes we have made, tapes, booklets, product information, or to host or attend a health meeting (if you live near Chicago!), please contact us at:    larry@riversidehealth.com 

(Barleygreen® is a registered trademark of Y.H. Products)

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