Your immune system is designed to fight invaders, things that come in to harm your body. When your immune system begins to attack your own blood cells, joints, or other components of your body, this is known as autoimmune disease.
There are many autoimmune diseases out there like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and more. Often these are triggered by another disease, and they are just the symptoms. Such is the case with a rare disease called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, which affects three in every 100,000 people, and twice as many women as men.
The typical treatment for the disease is the use of steroids, immunosuppression, and blood transfusions.
When my friend Nancy (name changed to protect her privacy) was diagnosed, she tried all of those things with no luck. A young and intelligent woman, and also an EMT, she came up with her own theory. What if something was invading her body that was imitating her blood cells, and that was why her system was attacking them? If she could remove the invader, the problems would go away.
Using the basic steps she had learned about healing, this is what she tried.
As an EMT, Nancy knew that she needed to at least stabilize her system as much as possible. “A doctor can’t treat any patient who is not stable,” she said. “It’s what first responders do.”
Nancy often felt tired, weak, and her back ached all the time. She took a six week leave of absence from work, and quit taking the immunosuppressants she had been prescribed. She did keep taking the steroids, and told her doctor what she was going to try.
She didn’t stop exercising, but switched to a very gentle yoga type routine, and stayed hydrated all the time. Once she started to feel a little better, but not much, she decided to move on to the second step in her plan.
Nancy saw this as the next big step. “You have to clean a wound before it will heal,” she said. “If something is in my body that is causing this, the first step is to clean it out.”
Nancy took the challenge head on. She switched to all organic foods, and cut out anything processed, especially sugar and grains. She added an apple cider vinegar tea to her morning routine, and for the first week or so she ate nothing but soups and liquids.
Using a self-modified version of the Elimination Diet detox (did I mention Nancy was really into nutrition?) she eliminated everything from her diet that she could think of, and even as she added organics, she did so one at a time.
To be sure the program was as effective as possible, she added supplements that were meant to assist with detox, eliminated all the chemical cleaners from her home, and even changed her bathing and makeup routines, making sure everything that touched or went into her body was as clean and free of chemicals or toxins as possible.
She started to feel better, at least a little, by the time she went back to work. People told her that her color was better, and her doctor told her that her red blood cell (RBC) life had improved.
Nancy stuck with the detox for three months, and each month she felt a little better. Not cured, mind you. However, at the end of that 90 days, her doctor told her he had never seen such improvement in a patient with AHA.
The next step, Nancy knew, was to build up, or fortify her body. She knew that instead of making her immune system weaker, she needed to make it stronger and also smarter. By eliminating the invaders she suspected were attacking, her body seemed to be attacking its own blood cells less.
The key to this fortification process was nutrition. Instead of just removing what was harming her body, she also had to give it the right fuel. The average American diet only contains a fraction of the nutrients the body needs every day.
Nancy increased her vegetable intake, still ensuring everything she took in was organic. She got organic protein from eggs, healthy meats, and even some cheeses. She was not eating sticks and leaves: this was real food, and she had some great recipes as well.
Gradually, she was able to increase her workouts, adding some mild cardio. Her body ached less, and she had more energy. Her physician was enthusiastic, but cautiously.
“What have you been doing?” he asked her.
“Eating better,” she answered.
All of this took some time. It was almost a year later before Nancy really started feeling good again. It was not an easy year.
Radically changing her lifestyle and diet while still working and trying to deal with her diagnosis was stressful at times, which did not help her condition. Using relaxation, meditation, and yoga she was able to get through it.
Nancy knew as well that she could never go back. Her life could never be the same again. She also realized, as she did her research and made her journey to better health, that we live in a toxic world. Our air, water, and even the land around us contains chemicals and other substances we can’t avoid.
So Nancy does a short detox every 90 days, just a couple of weeks to reset. She does not count calories, but she watches everything she eats and makes sure it is as free of toxins as possible.
Her physician won’t say she’s cured, but her RBC life and counts are back in a normal range, and most days Nancy feels better than she ever did before she was diagnosed.
Nancy’s story is not to say that this path will work for everyone or cure every disease, chronic, rare, or otherwise. “It worked for me,” she tells all of her friends. “And I hope it works for other people as well.”
Photo by ausdruckslust.de