KayLyn's Relapsing Polychondritis Success Story
"I contacted Jitka and she shared a lot of helpful information with me. I got started with it right away. I was now set up to win this battle and I fully believed that I could. I was scared and excited all at the same time!"
No More RP Flare-Ups
I was diagnosed with Relapsing Polychondritis (RP) in March of 2021. At the time I considered myself a healthy eater; but the next few weeks were going to teach me differently. This is my story and if you are facing a diagnosis of RP I hope it will give you a desire and belief that you can still live a healthy happy life that is symptom free.
My name is KayLyn. At the time of my first flare up I was 34 years old and a mother of five beautiful children. When I first started reading about this autoimmune disease I was terrified, as I am sure you are too. I had a family to take care of and young children I wanted to raise. I was desperate to find a better way than just dealing with the symptoms or the inevitable outcome. I knew my body needed support so it could heal and I was determined to find the answers.
My first flare up was in my ear during May of 2020. This flare-up affected my entire body and lasted for about a week. The flare-up started out as a small pain which quickly turned into a lot of pain and a lot of swelling. The pain became so bad that I was unable to sleep even while taking ibuprofen. My entire body ached; the pain in my ear would shoot deeper into my head and I was starting to worry that whatever was going on may affect my brain. I am not one to run to the doctor right away and I prefer to use natural medicine, but I decided to check myself into the local hospital. The doctor told me that it was probably just a bug bite and prescribed antibiotics. I knew that this was not just a bug bite and I felt the doctor was missing something. I told her there was no bite mark and the pain was affecting my whole body. After she did some searching on her computer she decided it would be best to put me on a steroid along with the antibiotics. Having no idea what I was dealing with, I took both prescriptions. I thought it was just a crazy thing that had happened to me and I would never deal with it again.
In August of the same year, the bridge of my nose started to swell. The pain reminded me of the pain I had felt in my ear but I really wasn’t sure if they were related. I took ibuprofen to get me through my days and recovered from this flare-up on my own. In January 2021 I had another flare-up in my ear. This time I tried a holistic approach and got some body work done. It was a long painful few days but once again I made it through without any doctor visits or prescriptions.
My fourth flare-up was at the end of March 2021. My flare-ups were coming more often and with more intensity. I decided to go to a First Care in my local town where I had some experience with the doctor there and knew he would hear me out and help me find some answers. He thought that the symptoms sounded like those of RP and suggested I go see a rheumatologist. During my fourth flare-up I was pretty sick and spent most of the next few days in bed. This gave me time to research all I could. It scared me and there were times I had to put my phone down because the fear was getting overwhelming.
I reached out to a friend who is well educated in holistic health, and she guided me to some very helpful plans. While researching I found the article written by Sabrina Nelson that explained her experience with RP, which lead me to Jitka Burger’s story and her experience with RP. After reading through their stories, I decided to cut all animal products out of my diet. This was a pretty big change for me as I was raised in a family of hunters and loved eating meat.
I contacted Jitka and she shared a lot of helpful information with me. I got started with it right away. I was now set up to win this battle and I fully believed that I could. I was scared and excited all at the same time!
After healing from my fourth flare-up and knowing what I then knew, I went to see the rheumatologist to verify the diagnosis of RP. They did not offer any dietary advice when I asked and basically said I could manage my symptoms with pharmaceuticals which could cause other serious side effects. After leaving my appointment I felt very empowered and knew my healing was up to me. I felt that pharmaceuticals were not my answer and having done the research I had, I felt that a diet change was my best chance.
I haven’t been following an exact diet plan, but if I were to put it under a plan it would be Whole Foods Plant Base diet. I have done lots of reading and researching and I apply the things that I feel are meant for me. It has been close to one year since my last flare-up and I feel strong and healthy.
I have eliminated all animal products and eat very little processed foods. I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, I combine them in fresh squeezed juice, smoothies, salads and vegetable trays. My diet is not completely raw. I eat cooked vegetables and for the most part I avoid using oils; I find that water or a vegetable broth works great in cooking them. I eat cooked beans, lentils, potatoes and sweet potatoes. I am not gluten free but I find I do not fill up on gluten products like I once did. I use a wide variety of grains. I have a grain grinder in my kitchen and make fresh ground flour; sometimes I soak and sprout my grains and sometimes I don’t. Nuts are a snack and a great ingredient in making healthy desserts. I choose foods that make me feel good. If I find something doesn’t sit well with me I eliminate it for some time before trying it again. I have done several juice cleanses and feel that these have been a big part of my healing.
If you are feeling like there may be nothing left to eat after cutting out all animal products, you will find there are a lot of very delicious foods. At first I missed the meats and dairy, but after a year of no animal products I find I no longer crave them. Eating this way has helped me to listen to the cues that my body is giving me. I may always be adjusting my plant-based diet but I’m okay with that as long as I continue to feel healthy!
Food has been a huge part in getting me to where I am today, but I have also made some lifestyle changes. I have put a lot of focus into liver health along with using herbs. I have dug deep into my own emotions, and I am also very conscious in decisions and commitments I make. I am learning to enjoy the small things in my day and find that this is where so much of my joy is.
Exercising has been important to me, but a year ago I didn’t have the strength that I have now. I have tried to make it a point to get outside for a walk or jump on my mini trampoline. I know my body needs the movement to heal. I have so much more gratitude for my body. I am feeling so much stronger and vibrant, with more energy.
I have recently noticed lots of different health improvements like my hair isn’t falling out by the handfuls and my skin is much healthier than it was; and more importantly I am living a beautiful life without RP flare-ups!
I have made a lot of changes which have not been easy but have proven to be worth it. I am still working on me and the daily efforts are feeling less overwhelming and becoming part of my normal life.
I am grateful to those who have shared their stories so I could learn what has helped them on their journey. I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for them. I hope that sharing my story will help others see that it is possible to live healthy and symptom free.
Happy Healing, KayLyn