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I am Ayse, 37 years old and I live in Cyprus.
I was 18 years old when the doctors diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It took them one year to find out what was going on in my body since the blood test results did not show that I had RA. I was struggling to walk when I woke up in the mornings. The swellings in my hands limited my ability to hold things, and pain in my body just made me so tired during the days. My first doctor gave me several drugs to control it. It was ok for a while, because I could walk comfortably and my body was free from pain. But on the other hand, I was gaining weight rapidly because of the cortisone medication. After a few years, I started to feel sick when I took methotrexate (chemo drug). It was like a nightmare – I didn’t want to get out of bed all day and I was vomiting nonstop. My doctor had not exactly informed me about the side effects of this drug. I learned many years later that it was a chemo drug. Only then I understood why I had suffered from those side effects. My doctor then decided to stop giving me this drug, since my body didn’t accept it and she gave me some other strong drugs instead. Back then I had accepted that I had RA and that the only solution was taking those drugs until I died. As time passed by, I started realizing that this surrender was killing me day by day. I was losing all my hopes for the future. I thought it could only get worse, since deformations started to occurred in my body, despite taking strong drugs.
Just as I thought that my life could not get any worse, I was attacked by another serious health problem. I was 25 years old when the doctors diagnosed me with hyperthyroidism. I suddenly lost a lot of weight. My heartbeat was irregular. I was continuously nervous. I had to have an operation immediately since the doctors found that I had thyroid cancer. They took half of my thyroid gland with surgery. Today, I am still using my daily thyroid drug. I am tested regularly to check if the rest of my thyroid gland is clean.
Eventually I started searching for alternative ways – anything that could ease my pain. More importantly I needed to regain my belief that I could go back to a healthy and happy life. I started trying reiki, meditation and yoga. I also started searching on the web about alternative diets. One day while I was searching for the relation between diet and RA, I found Rachna’s article about her story. I felt so touched while I was reading it, because we had similar feelings and experienced similar situations. At that time I decided to reach her and to ask for her help. I met with Rachna via Skype in 2014 and started to follow her advises in November 2014. At the beginning, it was not easy, since the traditional Cypriot kitchen is not compatible with the diet that Rachna advised me to follow. Also, I had difficulties to find some of the supplements in Cyprus, but it did not stop me. I believed Rachna’s plan, which had both nutrition and exercises, could cure my sickness.
I removed dairy products from my diet. This was real hard, since in our daily diet we are consuming lots of cheese. Most of Cypriot desserts include dairy products. Also, avoiding gluten was another hard step. We have many kinds of pastry and all of them include gluten. First, I got rid of all forbidden food in my kitchen and I changed my shopping habits. Then I started controlling myself, when I was out with my friends not to choose unhealthy food or drinks. It took a few months to adapt to this new life style. Additionally, taking the suggested supplements regularly was another big step. I have problems swallowing tablets and I do not like it at all. But each time I tell myself that this is the only opportunity for me to have a healthy life and I should try it if I want to feel healthy. After 8 months, I lost almost 10 kg, and at the same time started to feel more energetic. I started waking up in the morning pain free, feeling stronger and more flexible. Swellings in my fingers and feet reduced. I started to love my body again, not needing to hide it from others eyes.
I have stopped using my medications since summer of 2015 and now I am living a pain free life – almost – I have to admit, that I haven’t followed all of Rachna’s advice, and sometimes I do fall back into some of the old habits. After 1 year, all my blood test results are showing that I do not have RA anymore. When I show my results to my doctor, she says that it is probably negative because of my age! They do not want to openly accept and support this treatment in Cyprus.
To live with RA is not easy. It affects your psychology, since you are living with pain. You might think that you would not be able to have your healthy life again. RA causes deformities in your body. Never feel ashamed because of your body and never let this feeling capture you! People might stare at you and ask why your fingers are like that or what has happened to you? Never hide it and never be ashamed. Live in peace with your body and always be strong.
The journey I have started with Rachna’s advices was a big risk for me, because I didn’t know the result. I had read about her cases and success stories, but dropping the strong medication against the doctors’ prescription took some courage. It was an unknown path and a different approach. But through healthy eating and new lifestyle I feel healthy now after 20 years and I am appreciating every breath I am taking. I owe a lot to Rachna for her guidance.
“TO HOPE IS TO RISK PAIN. TO TRY IS TO RISK FAILURE. BUT RISK MUST BE TAKEN, BECAUSE THE GREATEST HAZARD IN LIFE IS TO RISK NOTHING.”
— Ayes Turkmen, 37 years, Events Organiser, Cyprus