I haven't been here for some time. I've had a great deal of success with the no starch diet. I thought I would tell my story in the hopes that someone who may now be going through what I went through can see some hope instead of pain.
About 6 years ago I started showing some symptoms of the disease. I noticed that I wasn't recovering quickly from sports related injuries. I was in my late twenties and I thought it must be aging. I had incredible pain in my feet, in my heels and the balls of me feet. I was in the army and I thought I was going to have to quit because I couldn't march. The pain subsided and I continued my athletic life. The next year I developed incredible leg cramps and shin splints. They were so bad one day I almost couldn't walk home from my run. The shin splints refused to go away; they resisted stretching, medication and rehab. I used to be a runner and now I couldn't run for the bus without feeling pain. I had to quit most sports including downhill mountain biking. I continued to travel, rock climb, and ride my bicycle. I limited the distance I would walk, the steepness of the hill I would ride my bike on and I wouldn't run. Rock climbing seemed to be OK because I was using my arms and I could play hockey once a week (instead of 3). The pain in my feet returned along with cramps in my legs. Then I developed incredible pain in my elbows. I was previously able to support all my body weight with one arm without breaking a sweat, I doubled the grip strength requirements for the military, if I could get my fingers on something (like a door frame) I could pull myself up and over with ease. Suddenly I couldn't hang from my arms or take a slap shot in hockey. I couldn't even pick up my kindergarten students without pain in my arms (I'm a teacher now).
I was terribly confused. I was healthy and athletic, but everything I was good at, every strength was being stolen. There seemed to be no reason, the doctors had no clue. I refused to stop living a healthy life. I continued to commute on my bike.
I once trudged 65 KM through the Canadian shield in two easy days, hiked uphill 8 hours just so I could get one fresh run through pristine snow on my snowboard, took my bike on 5 hour rides through mountain single track just because it was so damned fun. Now I was relegated to flat pavement and short trips. One day on a simple easy little ride on pavement 2 hours from home I noticed something very strange. To this day I can't explain the overwhelming feeling of dread. I felt some pain un my knees, but worse than the pain was the incredible fear I suddenly felt about being 2 hours from my house. I was in the middle of the city, on flat ground with the greatest invention ever beneath my seat. My steed, my mountain bike and I was terrified. I rode home as slowly as I could and attempted to go to sleep.
I woke up the next morning in incredible pain. My hands hurt in very specific places, my knees where swollen and very painful to touch, my feet ached, every old injury seemed to be screaming at me. My head was foggy like I had been drinking, I felt a little dizzy. I had such a hard time getting out of bed, even my warm shower hurt my knees. The warm water seemed to increase the inflammation. I hobbled to work and I could barely walk up the flight of stairs.
I dreaded going out, I dreaded waking up, I dreaded sitting at home alone with my active past floating through my head, tormenting me with every thing I had suddenly lost. I dreaded Saturday the most. What was once my day of action and adventure, was now my day of depression and T.V.
My girlfriend broke up with me because she said I was too negative....Girlfriend number two gone while every sport I loved was being stolen by some unseen menace. My life felt like Hell.
I secretly wished I had cancer so they could cut one of my legs off and I could go on living my life. I could ski with a prosthetic, but as it was I couldn't do anything, shopping was frightening. No one had any sympathy, they would say horrible things like 'You're getting old, live with it' 'It could be worse, it could be cancer' 'Hey, your not dying'.
I wished I would die. I couldn't imagine a life like this. I saw James Brown live in concert the year before he died and he looked so much healthier than I. I struggled to stand and watch him perform. He was 73 and I was 32.
I finally got diagnosed with AS. It turns out I don't have the genetic marker, but my cousin suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis. My Doctors told me to rest, I bought a motorcycle to replace my bicycle. I had to pull my leg over the seat with my arm and balancing my little 125cc bike at red lights really hurt. They tried various meds until they finally tried Celebrex, Dmards and steroids. I was never happy with the results. I wanted to ski again, but my Doctor just kept telling me that I had a disease and I should accept it. There is no cure he told me, this is the best we have for you. I was furious.
I finally found someone who claimed he cured himself with a non starch diet and he recommended I visit this site. I cut out all starch, all sugar, and limited coffee and alcohol. I ate mostly raw vegetables (lots of them), egg whites, tuna, pork or chicken. I lost a lot of weight (which I honestly didn't need to do). Within a month I no longer had any aches in my hands. I was absolutely religious about the diet and within 4 months I was able to return skiing. The first day I had some pain and I worried that because of the damage done to my joints I would always have some pain. By the fourth time I went skiing I was 100% pain free and skiing on groomed runs at my top speed and intensity. My bike is now fixed up and ready for spring and I have plans to start riding. I'm trying to take it one step at a time, trying to ease back into sports. I hope to be able to return to a complete active lifestyle, complete with treks in Nepal, mountain biking downhill, touring on my motorcycle, and back country skiing. I'm not sure I will take up running again, we'll see.
The diet is free, no meds to buy, no doctor to see and I feel healthier than ever. I suddenly have my life returned to me and I can't express how happy I feel. I suddenly have a future again.....I now rip past those people who told me I was getting old. Donít' accept this disease and don't accept the comments of any doctor who tells you to accept it. Growl at it and starve the [**BLEEP**] out of it.
Thanks to all the people at Kick AS who gave me advice and let me know they understood my pain. I really needed it, it saved my life. I hope anyone who needs advice from me now will send me a message. There is far more hope available than what doctors can prescribe. Kick AS!