Seven Gin Soaked Raisins A Day. I’ve heard hundreds of suggestions, but I think that remains my favorite.
As anybody with a child with JIA can tell you, or anybody who has RA themselves can tell you, people are often eager to offer advice on how to “cure” the condition. From the minute we were confident that my daughter’s diagnosis was correct, we had e-mails and phone calls streaming in, suggesting a myriad of remedies. And I have to say, that was a tough time to have to examine those options. Because who wouldn’t want to believe that drinking the juice from twenty lemons a day would completely alleviate all of your child’s pain? Wouldn’t that seem a lot less aggressive and easier to stomach than terms like DMARD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug), and NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and biologic? Wouldn’t it be great if stopping your child’s pain was as easy as not eating tomatoes? Or rubbing on some type of special oil?
Believe me… we were open to possibilities. I’m not opposed to non-standard medicinal options. I realized quickly that for every answer found about this disease, there are seven more questions left unanswered. And I had to have some way of filtering all of these suggestions. So for each one, I agreed to apply research and an “if it offers no harm…” trial period. If I had any questions or qualms, I always asked my doctor (who, by the way, has studied alternative therapies as well – and has suggested massage, acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology as therapies….. in conjunction with our standard treatment.) I learned that even though fish oil did not take away my daughter’s arthritis, there are other health benefits – so we took it for a long while, until the fishy burps were a big complaint. I learned that MSM often has additional sodium, which is not good for anybody, but is particularly harmful to people on prednisone. The ointments never worked, and often burned or left her skin sticky. And I truly believe there is no juice or nutritional supplement that has discovered what doctors and researchers have spent the last decades seeking…..
That said, I do believe that since this is an auto-immune disease that is triggered by your immune system responding to something, there are likely dietary triggers for some people. Doesn’t it make sense that if you are allergic to gluten, and you eat it… that your immune response could start a flare if you have RA? But then, does it necessarily follow that NOBODY should eat gluten? I personally don’t think so. Really… if a no-red meat diet has worked for you, I am happy for you. Honestly! But when we tried it, my daughter’s anemia got worse and the arthritis was no better.
In my opinion, science has come a long way in understanding and recognizing the pathology of this disease. Therapies are becoming more targeted. Instead of squashing the whole immune system, medicines can hone in on one specific protein that is likely to be causing the havoc. And immune suppressive treatments are getting better, with less side effects, and less chance of infection. I am not naïve enough to believe that every doctor is infallible, and I think this group of diseases demonstrates their humanity more than any other! But I trust our doctor’s care. And I trust my ability to educate myself, research the options, and make the best decision I know how to make for my daughter.
People for the most part, have good intentions. People who post obviously disgustingly commercial responses to people’s requests for help and mercy would be an exception. But I’ve been in this JIA mom business for a little while. And, just like all moms, helping my kids is a big priority job that I take pretty seriously. I appreciate that somebody cares enough to offer advice and wants to help heal….but, to me, anybody who suggests that seven gin soaked raisins is the obvious choice I am overlooking is frankly a little insulting.
You have to do what works for you. It might not be what works for everybody else….but ….you can only do your own thing. And smile and say “Thank you…. I’ll keep in mind your suggestion to bathe in sauerkraut to cure arthritis.” 🙂