So, before cancer, I had this autoimmune thing.

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I woke up one morning, with this random swollen wrist.  There was a knot on it.  It hurt.  I had no idea what the deal was.  Did I maybe whack it on the nightstand in the middle of the night?  No clue.  They did an X-ray.  Nothing.

My elbow hurt.  I went in to get it checked out.  Tennis elbow they said.  Wear this strap, it will make it feel better.

My fingers got this weird numbness to them, turned white, I lost feeling in them for a few minutes.  That thing had a name.  It was Raynaud’s phenomenon.

My ankle hurt in the mornings.  Really bad.  Like, when I first woke up, I was limping something fierce on it.  Another X-ray.  Nothing.

At this point, my awesome doctor suspected something, and ran some blood tests.  The blood tests were ANA – Antinuclear Antibodies.  She recognized there was something amiss, and knew what to do.  The results came back with not great news.  She gave me this news during a time I was home due to snow days.  She called me from her personal phone, I talked to her while I was standing in my dining room, I had been working on a puzzle.  She said, the way the run the tests, they keep doing dilutions to see if there were antibodies present.  Mine were very elevated, no chance there was a false positive.  She recommended that I see a rheumatologist.

I was actually able to get an appointment fairly quickly.  Someone had cancelled due to the weather.  They did a whole slew more blood tests.  Any autoimmune thing that could possibly have my symptoms.  Things I had never heard of, scleroderma…things I have heard of, like lupus.  All negative.  Thank the Lord.

They settled on non specific connective tissue disorder.  They wanted to give me medication.  Medication with a host of side effects.  I didn’t want to take it.

I went back in a few weeks, and the doctor said, are your symptoms getting better?  I said no.  By this point, I had a finger that was super swollen, I couldn’t even bend it.  I knew what she really meant.  I sucked it up, and took the prescription.  She also gave me a prescription for a steroid, to help with that finger.  I started to lose some hair, then some more hair….next thing I knew, my hair was super thin… of the side effects of this medication.  It sucked, but what could I do?

Then the rash showed up.  Allergic reaction to the plaquenil.  Not just any allergic reaction, something I’ve never witnessed before.  I got a rash, that started on my torso, and over the next days and weeks spread to the rest of my body, somehow sparing my face.  Ever other inch of my body broke out in this rash, and it took MONTHS to go away.  That’s when I googled, “How to reverse autoimmune disease.”  I found my lifeline.

I found this blog, and the book:

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I bought it, and read it cover to cover.  Basically, I couldn’t eat anything.  Tomatoes – out.  Peppers – out.  Dairy – out.  Potatoes – out.  The protocol says, eliminate all possible triggers, then slowly re-introduce them.

Amazingly, this helped.  My symptoms started to recede.  It was awesome.  Thank you, Eileen for your book, and your strength.  I also lost like 10 pounds during my inability to eat the crappy foods I had cherished previously!!

I don’t know how this would have helped me long term, because before I knew it, the cancer diagnosis came in.  The one, single, positive thing to having a cancer diagnosis?  Chemo somehow suppresses autoimmune issues.  Call me lucky?!  Is it permanent?  No clue.  Guess only time will tell.  But, thank you, thank you, Eileen for everything you did for me!!