Real-Life Stories of Reversing Autoimmune Disease
The very first episode of this podcast was called Healing Stories. I shared my own journey, and interviewed four other people who are maximizing their autoimmune health through the paleo diet and lifestyle.
In the introduction to every podcast, I say this, “While there is no cure for autoimmune disease, the choices we make every day can have a powerful impact on how we feel.” There’s nothing more inspiring than real-life examples, and Episode 1 remains the most popular episode. Today, I’m doing a sequel. I’ve interviewed five more people, each with a different autoimmune disease than was shared in Episode 1. Some have achieved a medication-free remission. Others have gone from near-death to a beautiful life through a combination of medication and the paleo lifestyle. There is no one definition of success. We celebrate every healing journey.
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- Intro (0:00)
- Stephanie’s Healing Story (1:37)
- Stephenie Meyer has Hashimoto’s disease.
- Her symptoms included: miscarriages, depression, exhaustion, hair loss, and weight gain.
- It took a long time to get diagnosed. She had to go to numerous doctors before finding one willing to run the appropriate tests. Self-advocacy was essential.
- A regular paleo diet led to dramatic improvement in 2010. Divorce brought the symptoms back in 2013. Then, she transitioned to AIP with a focus on nutrient-density, and also added regular meditation to her life. She is symptom-free again.
- Blood work now shows she has almost non-detectible antibodies, her thyroid levels are normal, and she’s medication-free.
- Stephanie is the author of the blog Fresh Tart.
- Martine’s Healing Story (12:48)
- Martine Partridge has Crohn’s disease.
- Her worst flare happened at age 17. She was hospitalized with painful bloody stools, severe anemia, enlarged heart, fluid in the lungs, dangerously low blood pressure, uncontrolled blood sugar, her weight had plummeted to 75 pounds, and the doctors weren’t sure she would survive. They recommended a complete colectomy, which she and her family declined. She went home with a feeding tube and large doses of medications.
- For the next 7 years, she followed a dairy-free version of the SCD Diet. Now, she follows the AIP. While not medication-free, she has been able to reduce her medication substantially, eliminating both steroids and a 5-ASA drug. 20 years after the doctor recommended the colectomy, she still has her colon, and a recent colonoscopy shows it’s in good health with just a small abscess near the rectum (she’s currently treating). Her CRP recently tested at normal levels, her chronic anemia has improved, and her anxiety and mood issues have disappeared.
- Keys are nutrient-density and stress management. She credits liver pate with treating her anemia. Sleep, yoga, meditation and time outside are priorities for her healing.
- Update 2019: Martine has a cookbook called Happy Nomming.
- Melissa’s Healing Story (28:27)
- Melissa Wohlust has Myasthenia Gravis.
- Her symptoms were mild for 18 years and controlled by medication (Mestinon).
- Suddenly, she experienced a severe worsening of symptoms, which Mestinon couldn’t address. At her worst, she couldn’t walk or take care of herself. She needed help bathing and brushing her teeth. She had trouble breathing and was no longer able to read stories to her daughter at bedtime. She was bedridden for 18 months.
- She was put on high doses of immunosuppressant and steroid medication, This did save her life. As a side effect, she developed Cushing’s disease and gained 90 pounds in 4 months and developed fluid retention in her heart.
- The AIP was the key to getting off the steroids, and she immediately lost 75 of the 90 pounds she had gained.
- After one year on the AIP, her health has improved dramatically. She was able to chaperone her daughter’s field trip to a wildlife preserve, which included a lot of walking. She’s independent in self-care and no longer disabled. She needs to rest after periods of activity, but she has quality of life again. And she’s reduced her medication substantially. At her worst, she took 36 pills a day. Now she’s down to 8.
- Julie’s Healing Story (41:24)
- Julie Stiles has type 1 diabetes and sarcoidosis.
- Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disease that causes the growth of inflammatory cells throughout the body. Julie’s case was severe and impacted the function of every organ, putting her life in danger. She was put on heavy doses of steroids and immunosuppressants, which saved her life, but she worried about the long-term side effects of these medications.
- She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10, and started having sarcoidosis symptoms once she hit puberty. Whenever she had her period, she would become critically ill and have difficulty breathing, often needing to be intubated.
- She started experimenting with diet as a teenager and discovered links to between food and autoimmune intensity. She eventually found herself following a diet very similar to The Wahls Paleo Plus Diet. She has since met Terry and feels like she met a kindred spirit.
- Now, her life is significantly better. She has no trouble breathing and no fear of being hospitalized. She has energy for work and activities with friends and family. She has no need for steroid medication. Through a ketogenic diet, she has been able to lower her insulin dose from 100 units daily to 20. She occasionally has “off” days, but she has more good days than bad, and continues to feel better all the time.
- Charles’ Healing Story (52:09)
- Charles Comey has ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and had (past tense) cardiomyopathy.
- Charles had back, hip and leg pain for years before he received a diagnosis of AS. It eventually interfered with his ability to walk and left him in constant daily pain.
- Around the same time, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, and his doctor gave him a prognosis of a short life.
- He started the No-Starch Diet and started feeling improvements within 2 weeks.
- Now 3 years later, he is 100% symptom free and can engage in all physical activities without pain. His heart condition has disappeared, and tests show normal heart function. He takes no pain medication. He does take a low-dose beta blocker as a precaution for his heart.
- Charles wrote an essay about his healing journey in The Point Magazine: A Plea for Human Food.
- Summary (1:05:48)
- If your diagnosis wasn’t discussed today, please know that these stories still apply to you. Autoimmune diseases have much in common, which is why they are treated similarly by conventional medicine, and why the paleo diet and lifestyle works for so many.
- Outro (1:06:25)
- Eileen (your podcast host) has written 4 books: A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (paperback, kindle and audio versions), Reintroducing Foods on the AIP (PDF ebook), The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook (PDF ebook), and 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts (PDF ebook).
- Eileen (your podcast host) is the author of multiple books, written to help people thrive with autoimmune disease. Learn more on the Books Page.
- If you like this podcast, follow or subscribe through your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe to Eileen’s biweekly newsletter.
- Check out the entire archive of podcast episodes.
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