My Journey To Better Health
Before now I never really worried so much about my health. I always thought that I was a relatively healthy person because I exercise regularly, and I don’t drink alcohol or even smoke. I had been told I had hypertension, and even narrowing of the arteries, but I know a lot of people with hypertension and on blood pressure medications. I stayed on the medication until I began gaining weight and feeling tired all the time, so I decided taking the medication wasn’t worth it for my lifestyle.
I am an active person and love playing tennis, working outdoors and hiking with my family. My main regret is spending an unbalanced amount of time on the computer building websites and creating graphics. I have never been disciplined enough to start a project and come back to it, so I usually start a project and work long hours until the project is completed. Little did I realize the damage I was doing to my body.
In August of 2018 I began working on a website for a local non-profit organization and finished the website within a 36 hour period. Aside from the usual stiffness in my neck and soreness in my right arm and finger joints, I noticed nothing unusual. Then on August 20, 2018 I was in a third game of a tennis match and had to forfeit the rest of my match because I could barely swing my racquet from the pain in my right arm at my elbow. I finally made an appointment to see my general practitioner because after a few weeks of not playing tennis or working on my computer my arm still hurt.
On September 7, 2018 my doctor’s assistant looked at my arm, felt of my arm and asked a few questions. Based on her examination, she diagnosed me with lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and told me not to play tennis or work on the computer until I rested my elbow for about another 4 weeks. She prescribed the lowest dosage of Meloxicam for the inflammation. She told me that if the pain didn’t go away in about 4 weeks to come back in. After about 4 weeks of no noticeable improvement, I felt it would be quicker just to make an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor to possibly get some quicker results.
The orthopaedic doctor (actually it was the doctor’s assistant I saw the first time) pretty much did the same for me as the other doctor’s assistant except she did order an x-ray for me. She said from the x-ray she could see that I still had a lot of inflammation that was preventing my recovery and along with the tennis elbow, she told me I had carpal tunnel syndrome. She said to continue Meloxicam and showed me a few arm exercises I could try to aid in my recovery. At the end of October 2018 I went back to the orthopaedic for a re-check and the doctor prescribed Naproxen (375 mg. 2 times per day). The doctor told me that there is no danger with using this drug which is another anti-inflammatory and told me Naproxen is basically Aleve, but a higher dosage per pill than the over-the-counter medication. At this point I thought, ok, I want to knock this inflammation out so that I can heal. I was told to follow up in about 4-6 weeks if the pain didn’t go away.
As the holidays were approaching I decided I had had enough and thought that my arm was never going to get better. I assumed that the anti-inflammatory wasn’t doing its job of removing the inflammation. From all that I read about taking Naproxen and Meloxicam, it was not good to take it long term especially since I was at a higher risk for future kidney problems due to my hypertension. I quit taking the medication.
From my perspective my life was beginning to deteriorate and I felt hopeless.` I had made the decision to give up my work on the computer and wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to hit a solid forehand or to even serve in tennis again. I seemed to feel kind of “stuck” and didn’t know what I should do.
Then one morning when I woke up, I remember feeling so achy and sore all over my body. I didn’t know what was going on and began worrying that something was seriously wrong. I pulled myself up onto the edge of my bed grimacing in pain. My first thought was that I must be suffering from some form of arthritis, and knew people who had it and they had to “work through the pain”. If it was arthritis why didn’t anyone ever mention how it could hit your entire body overnight? I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to let this defeat me. I began to do some research online. I had remembered hearing a lot about foods that cause inflammation, and because I am a very pessimistic person I typed in the words: “My food is killing me.” There were a variety of websites and videos that popped up in my search results. I began reading and following links about eating a balanced diet that consisted of plant based whole foods. The most convincing information I came across was the video called: PlantPure Nation – The Official FREE YouTube Release here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBKnG9Y0owQ
This video seemed very professional and I was amazed with all the nutritional information that I had not been given before by those in the health industry around me. My first thought was: everyone should see this. I immediately ordered the book called: “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son, Dr. Thomas M. Campbell II. This book is so thorough and I can’t understand why it’s not taught in our school systems (let alone through the medical industry). After watching the video you will understand more about why money and politics stand between the message and the average American family.
I became hopeful. I still wanted to talk face to face with a medical professional who could back up these claims about how my diet could turn my life around. I remembered a few years back that I had taken my Dad to his doctor. My Dad was told he would have to get cleared by his doctor in order to continue driving a tractor trailer for his employer because his diabetes plus his heart condition was putting him and others at risk on the highway. My Dad’s doctor had talked about many things with my Dad, but I remember he mentioned the China Study and that it showed how a western diet is very bad for our overall health. He recommended that my Dad refrain from red meat and to try to incorporate more whole foods into his diet. He even went as far to tell us both, that personally, he and his wife were eating a plant based diet. At the time, I really thought that eating a plant based diet was really extreme, and I don’t think my Dad took any of this valuable information to heart (no pun intended).
I made an appointment to talk with my Dad’s doctor. I’m glad I did. Because of this new doctor, I now know that the source of my pain in my arms and neck is from disc injury in my neck. I have degenerative disc disease (which isn’t actually a disease, but a condition that we all suffer as we age). Now I know what to expect and how to alleviate my pain through holistic care. I am now eating a whole food plant-based diet, exercise regularly, keep my stress to a minimum and try to get good quality sleep. Since being on a plant-based diet I have managed my inflammation and blood pressure without prescription drugs. Not only have I experienced these major health benefits from only eating plant-based foods, but I no longer have to depend upon probiotics for good digestion and people even tell me that my complexion looks good.
Although I cannot convince my own family that this lifestyle is best for them as well, I am hopeful that they will learn the truth for themselves. Recently my husband was hospitalized due to an attack of acute Pancreatitus. I was encouraged when the young doctor (the hospitalist) gave my husband his dismissal instructions. This young doctor explained how important my husband’s diet is to his health. It was only after I asked this doctor about his opinion on a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet, that he began sharing his support of this diet as being beneficial to overall health. I am convinced that more and more young doctors are doing their own research and learning the truth about the connection between WFPB nutrition and health.
My hope is to be a witness to this lifestyle because to those around me that are still being mislead and misinformed about nutrition, there is no better witness than to live the life myself. I just wish I had known and lived this life before I injured my body. Studies have shown that through a lifestyle of whole food plant-based nutrition and regular exercise, most health issues can be avoided, halted and even reversed. It’s never too soon to learn the truth. I highly recommend the book: “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD. If you are not convinced by this book, I really can’t help you, but if you are convinced, then you will be motivated to apply this knowledge and share with others.
Life is a gift from our creator. With the ability we’ve been given to learn and grow in our temporary bodies, there is no excuse to not live a healthier and more productive life (albeit short or long, mobile or immobile).