Been browsing the forums for a little while, and finally decided to jump on board. For my first post, this is probably a bit long-winded, but I'm really hoping for some feedback if you'll indulge me.
I'm a 36 yr old male, and since 18 have been a poster boy for the 'bad' American diet (ton of sugar, processed, pre-fab foods). I also never excercised and carried 30 or so pounds of extra weight around.
Early this summer, I went to a podiatrist because of sore feet that had been going on for about 8 months. After a 6 day steroid taper, and a month and a half of anti-inflammatory pills (prednasone, I believe), my body went completely crazy. The day I took the last pill, I woke in the night and felt like my entire body was on fire. Every joint was excruciatingly painful, and I couldn't even roll over, or muster the strength to pull a single thin bedsheet over me for warmth. Thinking I must have the flu, or something I waited about a week before going to see my regular doctor, who after testing for things like lyme disease, lupus, rheumatoid factor, etc, came up empty and suggested a trip to the rheumatology clinic. After waiting 3 agonizing months to get in at the end of September, the official diagnosis came back as psoriatic arthritis. I'm very nervous about drugs, so I was started on indomethacine, a more begnign (relatively speaking) drug. Over the course of a week and a half, I gradually felt better, but starting having heavy blood in my stools and awful headaches. After a trip to the emergency room ($500), and my rheumatologist telling me to stay off the indo for 1 month (and take nexium to repair my stomach - so I could START THE INDO AGAIN in 30 days), I spent a week coming off the medicine and feeling worse and worse each day, til by the end of the week, I was in agony again. He was also convinced that the bleeding was the result of an ulcer, and strong-armed me into to going to a gastroenterologist for an upper endoscopy ($1300), which of course came back negative.
At this point, out of sheer desparation, I started to investigate the diet/arthritis connection on my own (it was the first question I asked my rheumatologist after the diagnosis, and he shot it down as quickly as the words left my mouth). I began with a 2 day water fast, and was astounded at the improvement. With this alone, I was able to go from needing 4-6 advil to survive the day, to needing none whatsoever (although I was not completely pain free).
I still haven't hit my groove 100% with the diet yet (it's been almost 2 months to the day), and I'm not McDougalling (yet), but I've mostly been leaning towards macrobiotics, which seems to share many of the same ideas. What first drew me to McDougall, is that his work was the first place where psoriatic arthritis was mentioned specifically (even the Arthritis-specific materials and books I read rarely mention it by name).
Over the past 2 months, I have gradually felt better and better, and have gained back some lost flexibility recently. I've also dropped the extra weight, and have been doing light excersing (mostly walking, and pilates type stretching). I'm still working through the food-allergy thing (I'm pretty sure soy is one for me, and I'd been eating ALOT of it prior to my 'attack'), and really feel like I'm heading in the right direction.
Here's where things get weird....
Yesterday, I had my first follow-up with the rheumatologist, and while I was fully prepared for him not to be thrilled about my drug-free time away from him, I was not prepared for the verbal beating I was subjected to.
The doctor flipped out on me. Literally screamed at me for 15 minutes, and then stormed out of the office without saying 'good luck', 'good bye' or even, 'pay the receptionist on your way out". It was scary. I'm talking being alone in a room with someone who's got a screw loose type scary.
He kept calling me a "buddhist", and accusing me of challenging his 'religion'. He also said if I was a buddhist, then to go do it somewhere else and not waste his time. He said he refuses to be my doctor if I won't get back on drugs immediately.
I was absolutely numb when I left there. The worst part - he pretty much deflated me, and made me feel that all the work (and POSITIVE forward movement I've made since I saw him last) was a complete waste of time. In my heart I guess I don't believe that (based on how my body feels), but it was still like taking a boot to the stomach.
I didn't even get a chance to tell him what I'd been doing on my own, or how I was feeling, or anything. All he did was count my swollen joints ( 13, DOWN from 17 2 months ago), and look at my grip tests (normal at 300 each hand, UP from 250, and 140 in September), and then he used me for his verbal punching bag because the nurse wrote on my chart that I was off the drugs. He told me that in 2 years those grip tests weren't going to be like that, and my joints would all be swiss cheese.
He also told me last visit (2 months ago), that in 30 days I'd be BEGGING him to be back on the drugs - that was before I started exploring other avenues.
I'm seeing 2 naturopathic doctors next week for consultations to get their take. The brief conversations I had with them on the phone yesterday (along with the things I've read on websites like Dr. McDougall's) make me feel that I'm not completely crazy for listening to my body, and wanting to try something other than drugs.
Bottom line - I think my doctor sees these other ways of thinking as a challenge to his authority and a threat to his livelihood. I don't feel he had any right to treat me that way (especially when I said NOTHING to antagonize him - I pretty much stared at my shoes while he screamed).
If you've read this far, thanks for your time.
Advice????? Any similar experiences out there?