What I have in common with Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of the Eagles. I did’t now we had something in common.

I wanted to write about this since a while, but I never really found the right words, so I kicked the can down the road. This week I heard the sad news about Glenn Frey’s death and that gave me the motivation I needed to write about it. I didn’t even know that Glenn, a founding member of the Eagles, was sick and tortured by the same evil disease.

Glen Frey passed away January 18th, 2016.

 “Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia,” 

That was the statement on his webpage and it took my breath away and an icy chill went down my spine; I sat there quietly for some time, thinking this could be me. Who would have thought that I have something in common with one of my favorite musicians.

I didn’t study medicine; I am not a doctor, just a patient, so everything that I will write here on my blog is my personal experience, my research, my translations and most importantly, all of it are my studies and my conclusions.

I remember when I got first diagnosed I thought, “What is the big deal? Many older people have arthritis.” I didn’t know better, I didn’t know the difference. Rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis was the same thing, so I though.

The main difference between osteoarthritis (arthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis is the cause behind the joint symptoms. Arthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints. (WebMD)

arthritic_joints

My immune system is sick since a while. I got diagnosed in May 2014, just a few months after I quit smoking. Quitting smoking might have triggered it, but nobody really knows. THEY don’t have the answers; their guesses are as good as mine.

Arthritis

Something triggered my immune system to attack myself and THEY say it can’t be reversed. I have an autoimmune disorder; I heard the word “disorder” and it made me think that if something is in out of order, you should be able to bring it back in order. “Disorder” that stands for confusion…so what confused my immune system?

In January 2015 –almost a year ago- I walked into the office of a rheumatologist, because I was in severe pain. I couldn’t walk very well; my hands and fingers were swollen and stiff. I couldn’t move my neck, felt exhausted and very tired. I had an ongoing sinus infection since weeks,  my chest felt heavy and I had hard time breathing. Even my eyes were hurting, and all I wanted that day was immediate relief.

THEY were very sympathetic. THEY didn’t say “We told you so,” but I could see it in their faces. THEY had told me a few months earlier that I needed to be on medications, because it is an aggressive disease. I went home with a few prescriptions, started to take the steroids and the other medications as THEY wanted me to. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was necessary at the time. 48 hours later I felt so much better and was able to fully function again; I was pain free and felt good.

pills

I am writing this, because I had another doctor’s appointment just recently and I walked in with my head held high and with a smile. I am not taking any medications, beside sometimes a few OTC pain medications when I get a headache or when I am hurting, because I worked too hard.

Today I am to 99% pain free and I move around just fine. I do wear Arthritis gloves when I work, but they are more for precaution and they look super cool. I stopped all the medication, against my doctor’s advice 8 month ago. I stopped them, because the long lists of possible side effects scared me. DMARD’s (disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs) work pretty much like chemo therapy and suppress the immune system, what didn’t make any sense to me. THEY had warned me about possible fatal infections and I thought, “No frickin way!” If you put my immune system down, then there is nothing left in my body that protects me. I didn’t want that and I was willing to try almost everything, to avoid the medication.

I might sound naive, but I picture my immune system like little soldiers and I call them “my watchdogs.” These watchdogs did a very good job for many years, then something happened and they forgot what they needed to do. They are still soldiers, but for whatever reason they decided to attack me, instead of protecting me.

immune-system-holiday-wp

I looked everywhere for answers and alternative treatments. I searched and researched for hours, talked with many people all over the world. I am not the only one who is living comfortably without medication, there are many…even though THEY don’t like it.

THEY (They is the word I use for my doctors and the pharmaceutical industry) don’t like people like me, because we are party poops.

One of the first people I met in the blogging world is the author of “Simply living over 50.”He has to be as stubborn and determined as I am, because he got diagnosed with Type II diabetes and decided to change his life style. He didn’t want to rely on medications either and I always admired him for that.

His journey had some up and downs as well, but he succeeded and the way it looks like…so did I.

DrugFreeZone

A doctor in Asia wrote to me a while back. He said, “We are all different, we have different life styles, different genetics and we all come from a different background, so why are we all taking the same medication?” I thought about it for a very long time and it made sense to me.

What works for me, might not work for the next person and vise versa.

I am not saying that we all should put down our medications -by all means many diseases can be cured with the right treatments and the right medication, I had a few of them myself- I am just saying that there might be alternatives that we should try, if we are willing to make some changes.

I learned a lot during the last year (still do) so I thought I am going to share part of my health journey once a week with my readers. Who knows, maybe some of the things that I learned might help someone else.

 

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18 thoughts on “What I have in common with Glenn Frey

  1. Hearing more and more stories of people who are fighting bad the overprescription of medications. I think it’s a real problem. I believe there has to be a domino effect somehow requiring yet another and another med to counteract the first one. Right now I’m fighting with my endocrinologist about insulin. I am simply NOT going on it, even if I have to starve myself to death. What interested me about your story, Bridget, is your mentioning it might have been the ceasing smoking that brought it on. I’ve been handling my type 2 diabetes just fine since I was diagnosed in 2003. Then in January 2014 after my experience with my friend at the tax office, the sh*t hit the fan for me. Suddenly NOTHING was working the way it always had. There was just something about the stress of it all that put such a load on my immune system. I am really struggling to get it back under control two years later. We just never know what situations are going to throw our bodies into “disorder” as you called it. I wish you well, Bridget. You were very brave to stop your meds. I admire you.

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  2. We know our own bodies and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. It’s good that you’ve done a lot of research on this and have a positive attitude about it. Thank you for sharing this and I do believe your story or stories will help other people in some way. I, for one, did not know that a autoimmune ( in my case…they called it a disease) disorder is triggered by something. I just thought it was a simple disease like any other that people get for one reason or another. I have no idea what has triggered mine…lichen planus, but I have done some research on it as well and I’m still working on what triggers the symptoms to be worse sometimes than others, and fortunately, I’ve been able to control it to a certain degree and it is mild compared to how bad and widespread it can get. Thankfully, we do have doctors, but they do not know everything and we have to do our part in helping ourselves the best way that works for us.

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  3. Being careful with medication puts you in good company. There was a program on our national TV investigating why Australia ( and the US) have some of the highest rates of over medicating and over prescribing of drugs. It also brought to light than many operations are just as unnecesary.
    The health systems in Australia are run for profit above all else. Many healths service are now privatised and syndicated into hugh share market listed companies, managed by people with MBA’s. A profit has to be made for shareholders to get dividends.
    I was adviced to get an eye operation called vitrectomy. I should have been wiser. From diagnoses to operation, all private with smooth well practised talk. It was so expertly handled and expensive to boot, but…my eyesight did not improve and there was no after operation care.
    Of course most health care is good and medication can help and prevent but it would be wise to keep in mind that money in public health care is often the main operation factor in overtly capitalistic countries.

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    • I am still here, because I have been given good and heavy medications (chemo) when it was needed, that being said…many of us are in my opinion over medicated.

      RA and other autoimmune disorder are a modern disease, many of these diseases like Cyliac disease (gluten intolerance)weren’t existing one or two decades back what made me wonder about that.

      I am sorry you went through an eye operation that didn’t work the way you hoped it would/

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  4. I’ve had RA since I was 27. Fortunately, it has been in remission most of those years. These days, my Osteoarthritis is so severe I can’t tell which is doing what. All I know is that it hurts. I do NOT have ulcerative colitis, but I had massive ulcers and as a result, I have no stomach. You can live without a stomach. The ulcers almost killed me. Most of my stomach was removed in 2002. That surgery failed, and it was done again (correctly this time) after everything ulcerated again (2007). My spine is completely encased by arthritic calcification, my hips are permanently inflamed by RA. My hands have both RA and OA and oh yeah, I have heart disease — and had two kinds of cancer.

    If I took all the medications they want to give me, I’d probably be dead of side effects. We all have to be very careful about what we take, how much. We have no sane choice other than to check out alternative ways of managing symptoms. If a diet works, do it. I take a lot of blood pressure medication because if I screw up this replacement heart valve, I’m dead. So while I experiment with diet to deal with my gut and arthritis, I don’t mess with my heart. I’m compliant and careful and I take my blood pressure every night before I go to sleep when all my meds are working. I like seeing those low-normal numbers. It means I’m likely to keep on living.

    I can’t — or more to point, am forbidden — to take NSAIDs. Including aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. Which leaves Tylenol (and generic versions thereof) and Demerol. I’m allergic to all opiate derivatives.

    I take some NSAIDs anyway because I want to avoid being entirely dependent on Demerol. So far, so good. But it could easily backfire and bring on the ulcers again. Demerol is a lot easier on my system. It also knocks my blood pressure down, which is a great side effect. I do not (yet) have diabetes, but it runs in the family. That’s where diet helps.

    All of life is a process. You cope with what life throws at you — or you die. That’s it. You also learn to laugh, or there’s nothing left but tears. I’m not courageous. You’re not courageous. We are survivors. And that is a very good thing to be.

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    • Last year THEY told me that I had severe RA. My rheumatoid factor was sky high and they found other abnormal things (go figure) and THEY assumed I could have Lupus as well.

      THEY told me then, that only people with mild RA could ever be medication free and I shouldn’t even think about it, because my case was severe.

      I get my blood work done every 12 weeks (by a different doctor because I am not a dummy) and my RA factor went down and down and down.

      I had a my fair share of serious diseases as well, but they don’t define me. I know I am not immortal and I am fine with that, but I want to have a say in the way I will deal with my health as well as with my illness.

      I wrote this, because I know now that nothing is incurable. I am more than ever convinced that THEY are enslaved by the pharmaceutical industry.

      I was stunned, just stunned what kind of alternative treatments I found all around the globe. I was flabbergasted when doctors and patients from all over the world wrote back to me.

      We, meaning the U.S. should be more open to alternative medicine.

      I thought somebody in my position might be interested to hear about my journey.

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