Testimonial written by Ila Crocker:
I am writing to tell you how life-changing your Paleo philosophy has been for me. I am a 44-year-old woman from Colorado with a long history of auto-immune disease and inflammatory pain. Your book, The Paleo Solution, has completely changed my life.
At the age of 2, I was diagnosed with psoriasis, which runs on my father’s side of the family. Through my childhood, I controlled the skin lesions with topical steroids. Not once through my childhood or early adult life did any doctor explain to me that I had an auto-immune disease. I simply thought it was a skin condition.
Looking back now, I can see how and when my inflammation began to affect and control my life. All through school, I participated in sports, including gymnastics, cheerleading, track, and long-distance running. My first occurrence of inflammatory pain occurred when I was running cross-country as a junior in high school. I began to have severe hip pain and was diagnosed with bursitis. This was my first cortisone shot and the beginning of my love affair with prescription Motrin.
While in college, I worked full-time and went to school full-time. I did not play sports, but continued to run for exercise. By this time, my lower back pain had become so severe I was taking 1,600 mg of Motrin per day. Still, not a single doctor mentioned to me that my joint pain was related to my auto-immune disease.
At the age of 21, I ended up in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer from the Motrin. I had lost so much blood I was required to stay for 4 days to have several blood transfusions. During the upper endoscopy procedure to cauterize the ulcer, the gastroenterologist discovered a constriction in my esophagus, which he diagnosed as a Schatzki ring. That condition became so severe over time that I was having scopes to stretch my esophagus every six months to a year. In later years, through a biopsy of the tissue, the diagnosis was changed to eosinophilic esophagitis, which has been treated with a steroid spray that I swallow daily.
In my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol. In my early 30’s, I added high blood pressure to that list, despite the fact that I remained very active. In fact, my husband and I have been partial to the P90X workout for many years. I eventually began having chronic tendinitis and joint pain that was treated with cortisone shots. I resisted the auto-immune suppressing medications for many years, because I worked in healthcare and knew how bad the side effects were. Finally, in my mid-30’s, I relented and began taking Methotrexate. My hair routinely falls out and I have painful sores in my mouth. In addition, I have continued to take other prescription anti-inflammatories, such as Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex. In my late 30’s, my medication list rivaled those of my 60- and 70-year-old patients.
In September 2009, I had my first foot surgery, due to chronic inflammation and calcification of the big toe joint. The orthopedic surgeon performed a cheilectomy on my right foot. At this point, the pain in my feet became so severe, that my exercise regimen became non-existent, and I began to gain weight. I could no longer run, snow ski, water ski, wakeboard, or hike – all of the things I loved to do.
In September and December 2012, I had arthrodesis performed on each foot. This is a procedure to fuse the big toe joint of the foot. My foot pain had become so severe, I could barely walk. There was simply no cartilage left in those joints. By this time, I was taking the Methotrexate, two blood pressure medications, another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, Prilosec, and the steroid spray for my esophagus. My hands were so swollen I could no longer wear most of my rings. My feet continued to hurt for months after my foot surgeries and I wondered if I would ever again have the full use of my feet. To top off everything, I was now 30 pounds overweight.
In September 2013, my inflammatory pain soared through the ceiling. I had such a bad flare up that it required two Kenelog steroid injections within six weeks and my Methotrexate was increased to the maximum dosage. One day at work, I was tearfully telling a co-worker that I was considering applying for disability, because my pain was keeping me awake every night and I simply could not function during the day without sleep. I was taking a lot of sick time at work to deal with my pain and insomnia and I was not keeping up with my workload. A couple of days later, that friend and co-worker, Michelle, stepped up to my desk and handed me your book. She knew I might be resistant to the discipline required to eat a Paleo diet, but told me I had nothing to lose by trying it for a month. I was desperate enough to try anything and began devouring your book.
Within a week of eating a Paleo diet, I felt significantly better. My joint pain was gone, even in my feet! All of those months that I thought I was having prolonged post-operative pain in my feet was really just my inflammation. I could suddenly wear those rings I had not been able to wear for a couple of years. Within five weeks, I had a health check at work that involved weight and measurements. I had dropped six pounds, 5% body fat and 18 total inches all over my body since my previous measurements a few weeks prior. I could not believe it. This was ONLY from the diet change; I had not even yet begun to exercise again.
Since then, my inflammation has totally disappeared. I can now exercise without pain and have continued to lose weight and inches. In fact, my husband and I have resumed the P90X workout. I have slept better since changing my diet than I have since I was a small child. I have not yet had the recommended extended blood work listed in your book, but continue to work to convince my rheumatologist of the changes I have experienced.
I had another co-worker, Lisa, bring me the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook by Julie and Charles Mayfield. I have since acquired my own and actually won a soup contest at church with the Chicken Tomatillo Soup recipe. My family is enjoying the great food and I am enjoying a pain-free life for the first time in almost 30 years. I am forever grateful for your research and my friend, Michelle, for introducing me to your book. I pray God blesses you immensely!