Written by Suzette Wenzler
Hello, I’m 38 years old, female, 5’2″ and 95 lbs. Although I have been relatively healthy for most of my life, approximately 2 and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Lupus, but only after a seemingly sudden and mysterious onset of symptoms: Vasculitis (BP went to 200/105), branch retinal vein occlusion in the right eye, uveitic glaucoma (intraocular eye pressure of 60 mm/Hg in the right eye and 40 mm/Hg in the left eye), I developed cataracts (had cataract surgery in both eyes in 2010), and severe joint pain in nearly every joint in my body. After being referred to a rheumatologist by my retinal ophthalmologist, I finally received the diagnosis of Lupus. Although it was a relief to finally know the explanation for all my health problems, I felt that I was basically sent up the veritable “creek without a paddle.”
Having been practically turned away by my rheumatologist because I didn’t want to take the prescribed treatment for Lupus (an anti-malarial medication called Plaquenil) after it played havoc with my gastrointestinal system and effectively squelched any semblance of an appetite), I have been left to my own devices, and ibuprofen. After extensive reading about dietary factors (ahem, GLUTENS!) leading to the inflammatory processes in the joints, I started thinking that I would benefit by cutting back on my intake of glutens. Little did I know that they should be eliminated completely in order to break the inflammatory response cycle, but as luck would have it, I recently stumbled upon your book. Around three weeks ago, I cut out all the glutens. Never having been able to digest legumes, those were easy to eliminate from my diet since I rarely consumed them anyway. I’m lactose intolerant (self-diagnosed) so it was also not a problem to limit my dairy intake. I’ve mostly been buying unsweetened coconut milk to use instead of cow milk anyway, knowing that soy milk is a painful experience for me.
Getting to my point: your approach to eating the Paleo way has been a life-changing experience for me! I haven’t been this pain-free in my joints since I was literally a teenager! For the first time in YEARS, the joints in my feet don’t shriek out in pain when I first get out of bed in the morning. Going up and down the stairs doesn’t leave me weeping from knee and hip pain. Typing on the computer keyboard doesn’t leave my fingers tingling with joint pain. I told my Dad that if I were not agnostic, I would forsake any deity that I had previously chosen to worship, and I would worship you instead! (As for Dad, I’m still working on converting him to the Paleo lifestyle, but he’s pretty opposed to cutting out his beloved grains and legumes….) Having given up my bicycle years ago as the result of “unexplained joint pain,” I’m actually shopping for a new one right now. I realized that I don’t have to excuse myself from going hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains where I live!
Thank you soooo much for your efforts in writing about the Paleo lifestyle. As a healthcare worker myself, I am exposed to many patients on a daily basis with all the typical health problems: obesity, diabetes, CVD, arthritis, etc. I want you to know that I have been spreading the word about how you’ve helped me, and with persistence, we can keep spreading the word as often as we can. I think that people facing health crises will tend to be more receptive to this information than those who are not yet aware of the time-bombs upon which they’re sitting, but I’m going to be working on the latter group also. Thank you again, Robb.