Updated April 11, 2014
I’m happy and honored to be able to share my story with you about how the McDougall diet changed my life.
I’ve had some ups and downs with my health, but when I woke up with such severe pain in my hands that I couldn’t lift my son out of his crib in the mornings, it was terrifying. All of a sudden my feet and knees were aching all the time. There were many days when it was difficult for me to get out of bed because I was so fatigued. My husband and I were concerned about the symptoms I was having so I went to see my doctor who referred me to a rheumatologist. By the end of my first appointment, I was told that I had rheumatoid arthritis. I was worried that my diagnosis would mean a bleak future for me and my family. I pictured myself becoming disabled, unhealthy, and reliant on others to function. The doctor prescribed methotrexate and I was desperate to take anything that could help me feel better and stop the disease from destroying my joints.
As the next few years passed, my symptoms would come and go. The methotrexate caused all sorts of side effects because it suppressed my immune system. It made me nauseous, caused me to contract viruses easily, and I constantly had cold sores in my mouth. I read articles about the detriments of this chronic, incurable disease – my life span was cut by 10 years, I was two times more likely to die of heart disease and I had a greater risk of getting cancer. I tried to stay positive, but there was always a part of me that worried about how the rheumatoid arthritis was hampering my body and my future.
I decided go back to work after staying home with my two boys and tried my best to overcome the disease. I was thrilled to accept a job as the director of a non-profit preschool because I had the opportunity to do what I love: work with young children and their families. The job was wonderful and I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, as time went on it became harder and harder for me to go to work each day. My rheumatoid arthritis progressed very rapidly and I wasn’t able to function well enough to work. After being at the school for three and a half years, I had to quit my job because my joints were so inflamed that it was difficult and exhausting to move.
For the next nine months, I spent most of my time on the couch due to the pain and fatigue caused by this disease. Fortunately my husband, Brendon was incredibly helpful and supportive. He really held our family together because I didn’t have the energy to do so. I continued to feel worse and worse.
I scheduled an appointment with my rheumatologist because I needed help. She said she had never seen my joints so inflamed and recommended a stronger set of prescription drugs for me to take. I asked her to give me some time to think it over. With this new class of medications, one of the side effects was an even higher risk of developing cancer, and although I didn’t want to go ahead and take the risk, I didn’t feel I had any other options. I had been dealing with this debilitating disease for eight years and it was getting worse. Something needed to change.
I started to do some research and that’s when I came across Dr. McDougall’s website. I emailed him to ask what the best solution would be for me and he quickly got back to me. He advised me to start the McDougall program diet and avoid gluten and soy as well. I ordered his book The Starch Solution and started following the diet immediately. Within two days, I could feel a huge difference. The fatigue and pain that had been part of my daily life for the last eight years disappeared. The next week I went off of the methotrexate, and I haven’t had any joint pain or fatigue since.
I went to an appointment with my rheumatologist later that month and she went through and checked each of my joints, which had been so swollen and tender just a short time before. She had tears in her eyes as she told me that I had no inflammation in any of my joints. She said that she had never seen anything like the change that had occurred within my body.
It’s now been five months since I started the McDougall diet as well as being gluten- and soy-free. I have more energy and continue to feel great. My husband also jumped on board and is following the McDougall plan to support me and to better his health. I recently accepted a job at a local elementary school. I’ve been doing all sorts of projects around my house that I didn’t have the energy to do before. I’m able to exercise daily without the fear of pain and fatigue. I can wrestle with my sons again and have the energy to be the kind of mom, wife and person I’ve wanted to be for the past eight years. I no longer feel concerned about my future and being a burden to others. In fact, I’m excited to see what life has in store for me.
I am so proud to say that I have cured myself of rheumatoid arthritis by following the McDougall program! I healed myself by changing the way I eat. I’m living proof that the program does work. Thank you, Dr. McDougall, for helping me get my life back!