Testimonial written by: Johnny Repass
I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis at age 18. I was unable to hold a pencil for more than a few seconds, typing was a painful stop/start affair, and getting comfortable enough to sleep was nearly impossible. I was scared and depressed; everything I read suggested that RA was a progressive, degenerative disease and that things would only get worse. I would look at my swollen hands and imagine a grim future.
The next 4 years were pretty ugly; the more immunosuppressing drugs my rheumatologist prescribed, the more my immune system ramped up its attack. So far I had managed to avoid serious bone deformation, but I was maxed out on Methotrexate, Leflunomide, and Humira. I had also been taking Prednisone since my diagnoses and the inclusion of an IV treatment such as Remicade was under discussion. The following letter from my doctor paints an accurate picture of my situation at the time:
Thankfully, I avoided Remicade and have slowly reversed my disease over the last 7 years using diet, movement, and functional medicine. I’ve dropped 3 out of 4 meds while lowering my disease activity significantly and hope to eventually be in full remission.
Robb’s book and podcast have been incredibly instrumental in my recovery. While I had already began to figure out that movement was an essential component to controlling the RA, things didn’t really fall into place until I got my nutrition figured out. For the first time in my life I could actually focus and a lot of depression and anxiety eased up. I also experienced a significant drop in inflammation/RA activity over time.
Robb’s podcast then introduced me to Dr. Ruscio, and I’m now a patient of his. We found that I also had SIBO, and treating this has led to a significant reduction in RA symptoms and fatigue. Functional medicine tends to be incredibly expensive, but Dr. Ruscio has really gone out of his way to keep the costs down and has ultimately been very cost effective.
Robb is also the reason I’m currently tangled up in this alternative farming movement. I attended a lecture he was speaking at a few years back that was hosted by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and was introduced to Joel Salatin, polycultures, and holistic management. I’m currently trying to turn around my late grandfather’s farm and while it hasn’t been without its challenges (Robb, when I’m chasing cattle, sheep, or fixing fences I curse your name!) it has also been incredibly rewarding/therapeutic.
I’m coming up on the 10 year anniversary of my diagnoses and I can’t help but think that my life might be a whole lot less awesome (and probably a lot more painful) if Robb hadn’t put in so much hard work getting this information out there. Not that many years ago, I was on much more medication and couldn’t stand for the duration of a concert—I’ve since completed 100 mile hikes without pain and have even bigger ones planned. Thanks Robb!