Approaching Rheumatoid Arthritis Like a Scientist Studying the Flight of a Bumblebee
The pins and needles had rocketed to daggers in my left elbow for days now. Couldn’t even touch it without excruciating pain.
As I lay down next to my 6 yr old daughter, Olivia, to help her fall asleep after her bad dream, I asked her to not touch my left arm. As she rolled over, she very gently brushed it. YEEEOOOOWWW! I tried to hold back the tears as the daggers in my left elbow erupted into exploding grenades.
“I’m sorry Mommy--I didn’t mean it” whispered Olivia.
“I know. I’ll get better soon.”
Olivia answered, “No, you won’t.”
“Yes I will! You watch me!” I retorted. Now, if only I knew how.
I had tried most of what my regular Rheumatologist had to offer—it just wasn’t helping me. I decided to find out what alternative medicine could do.
I had always watched the foods that I ate—noting what made me worse—and then I avoided it. I became more vigilant –avoiding any foods that I thought triggered joint pain.
Trained as an
—(someone who studies cells that fight off disease…and could be attacking my joints), I began reading voraciously for possible clues. I checked the list of medical publications using Medline. I began subscribing to and reading Dr. Whittaker’s and Dr. David Williams’ Alternative health newsletters. I also bought Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Drs. Balch and Balch and read the section on arthritis.
I took action—first, a high potency multi vitamin which included mercury free fish oil.
I stopped using Safflower oil and switched to using Canola oil. It helped a little. Now, I use Olive oil which helps a little bit more (it contains essential omega 9 fatty acids).
Dr. Buttram, an environmental medicine specialist in Quakertown, PA, through the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) website. My visits to Dr. Buttram have always helped. After he checked my medical history and actually listened to what made me worse or better, he suggested Olive leaf extract and Transfer Factor to reduce the inflammation and resolve the likely infection in my elbow joint. The pain went down, down, down—but not gone. The very painful flares came less often -- a definite improvement.
However, I needed something more--He also very wisely suggested that I try an experimental detoxification plan—glutathione and 15 g vitamin C i.v. I checked the main database of medical publications, Medline. 120+ abstracts. I read them all—no described toxicity. In fact, it was used to reduce toxicity from cancer treatments. So I gave it a try. I had no pain –absolutely no pain for six hours! Hallelujah! Once a week really helped.
My arthritic symptoms were improving!
Then, I flew to California for a conference as part of work. Wow! I got really better!!!
Uh, Oh. That meant that something in our home, our yard or my workplace was triggering my pain and stiffness. But, what?
After lots of checking and searching, it turned out that I had become allergic to our chickens—not the meat or eggs but their feathers and bedding. I probably first got it when the little chicks were growing in a box in the kitchen or basement. We had moved the chickens outside near where we parked our cars.
We moved them further away. I began changing my clothes after I collected eggs. That all helped. But I still had less pain when I traveled than when I was home. Finally, four years later, we gave them reluctantly to a friend.
Now, I’m able to garden for 1-2 hours again.
I also began adding to my exercise and stretching routine.
Olivia was taking ballet. She began giving me very short lessons to help me regain more poise while I walked. I practiced “my humble version of an arabesque and ballet walking”.
While I sat and watched her during ballet practice one Thursday, Ms. Maria asked for parent volunteers for the party scene in the upcoming production of the Nutcracker Ballet. I volunteered my husband. She eagerly signed him up and said, “That’s great! You’ll make a great couple!” I protested but she’d have none of it.
I practiced—the walk over, the Minuet, the Jig—(please put me behind the boys in the party scene). With practice, my toes were pointing somewhat better. I practiced lots more.
As we were about to begin the walk over at the beginning of the Nutcracker ballet on Dec. 6, I whispered to Olivia, “Do you remember that night when you told me that I wouldn’t get better?”
“Yes, Mommy. I’m watching you!” came with a great big hug. Then, the music signaled for us to start our stroll across the stage in the Nutcracker Ballet.
Olivia vividly learned how persistence and determination can pay off. I constantly evaluated whether this or that explanation and alternative treatment applied to my case of rheumatoid arthritis. If it helped me, I looked for other complimentary treatments that could also provide benefit and would try them too.
As I explained to Olivia, I’ve modeled my prognosis and treatments for rheumatoid arthritis after the story of the bumblebee:
When scientists first began studying the flight of the bumblebee, they found that its wings were too small to enable the bumblebee to fly.
Later, they learned new principles so now they understand how the bumblebee flies.
Like the scientists studying the bumblebee’s flight, I’m constantly searching for new causes and remedies. I’m trying new approaches to continually improve my health and reduce / cure my rheumatoid arthritis.
I wrote this true story in Mar 2006. At that time, I had danced in the Nutcracker for 3 seasons. Here I am dancing the jig in the red dress in the back in a production of the Nutcracker Ballet.
Here’s additional information about me:
How I got Rheumatoid arthritis
To make a long story short, I grew up in a Cleveland, Ohio suburb. My adult rheumatoid arthritis probably developed after I broke my wrist tumbling at age 14, since my right ring finger became swollen occasionally for no apparent reason. I also was getting cavities which were being filled with silver amalgam fillings.
However, I was only correctly diagnosed at age 16 by the late Dr. Stubbins, a very talented, compassionate and brilliant surgeon. The first day I met him, he was wearing a short sleeve shirt instead of a formal, white shirt and tie (in the 60’s!). His office was lined in books. When I asked him a question that he didn’t know, he found the right book on his book shelf, and looked it up.
7 Life-changing Lessons from the great Dr. Stubbins:
First, Dr. Stubbins taught me that your RA will respond to only some treatments. (That is, only some treatments will help you feel better, whereas other treatments will not help you get better. In fact, these others may make you get worse.)
Second, Dr. Stubbins said that doctors could offer suggestions for different treatments but it was up to you to decide which ones you were willing to try. (According to many medical articles, patients who make their own healthcare choices get better faster.)
Third, Dr. Stubbins also encouraged me to get as much information as possible about any new treatment before deciding to take it. (He suggested checking the medical literature. My dear friend, extra Mom and mentor, Alice Beal, taught me how.)
You may want to choose to answer these
10 Questions before
taking a new treatment or natural remedy.
They’ll help you decide whether it probably will or probably won’t help relieve YOUR rheumatoid arthritis!
Dr. Stubbins reminded me that the best research will greatly increase the chances that the treatment will actually help relieve your arthritis. However, you can’t be absolutely sure that it’ll help until you try it.
Fourth, Dr. Stubbins encouraged me to watch and listen to my body to see if the new treatment helped after I began taking it.
Fifth, Dr. Stubbins also explained that rheumatoid arthritis can change over time.
Sixth, keep an open mind about treatment options.
Some of the best treatment options today may not be popular with doctors.
Seventh, he said as a kind mentor, “You are young, Kathy. You only have one body that you need for the rest of your life. Take care of it. ”
Dr. Stubbins suggested that I wear Dr. Scholl’s sandals to help my feet and that I stop tumbling. However, he encouraged me to continue
—bicycling, canoeing, tennis, hiking, gardening, and more as long as I could.
Dr. Stubbins was a great man and doctor. I’m sure that you would have liked him, too.
Dr Stubbins, Alice Beal and my parents encouraged me to go to college and graduate school.
I graduated from Mayfield Heights High School in the top 2% of my class—8th out of 462 with a top score of “5” in the advanced placement for calculus.
After graduating from Slippery Rock State College in Biology in 3 years, I traveled in Europe for 1 and 1/2 years. Here I practiced my French and learned to speak German since proficiency in 2 foreign languages was often required at the time for graduate school.
I earned my Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania in Immunology during 1976-1980.
Immunology is the study of how the body or immune system, protects us from germs, and cancer.
It also investigates how the immune system can sometimes start attacking our joints in arthritis.
My mentor, Dr. Jonathan Sprent is a soft-spoken, outstanding Immunologist.
Dr. Sprent taught to always study the data by itself, and make your own conclusions based on the data.
Even when reading scientific publications, examine the data, make your own conclusions, find any unanswered questions.
Then see if your conclusions are similar to those of the authors.
Dr. Sprent also taught to keep an open mind about the theories.
Theories are only theories—they’ll change with new information.
Sometimes it takes decades for scientists to find ways to measure new aspects of a disease.
Scientist, Inventor, Invited Speaker, Consultant, Writer—now focused on rheumatoid arthritis
Initially, I did not study rheumatoid arthritis because the prognosis was so terrible in the 1970s and 1980s. I was concerned my body would follow the dim prognosis.
Instead, I studied how the host (mice and humans) and infectious agents waged war.
My broad research experience includes over 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology industry.
I also was a Research Associate Professor at University of Pennsylvania for 6 years. I've published over 50
and am a co-inventor on 6 patents. I
everyone--students, surgical fellows, and arthritis patients.
I used my scientific training to evaluate and choose new rheumatoid arthritis medications and complementary therapies for my rheumatoid arthritis.
Keep an open mind on the causes and potential therapies of rheumatoid arthritis
Keeping an open mind about causes and potential therapies pays off by taming my rheumatoid arthritis, maybe yours, too.
I went from barely walking with a cane to dancing some country dances and a small part in a local Nutcracker ballet.
Friends have asked me how I’ve done it—and so this website is born.
My motto: There is a way to very healthy body.
Importantly, when someone says that you won’t or can’t get better, realize that they are really saying that they do not know how to make you better. It’s ok--It just may not be taught in their specialty.
However, you deserve better than just a management plan for squeaking by.
If you would like to have lasting relief from rheumatoid arthritis, like me, you’ll need to find out the causes or triggers of your rheumatoid arthritis—and fix them.
The home page lists fifteen broad aspects of your life that may affect your rheumatoid arthritis.
To get started, you may decide to pick just one aspect that you think may affect your rheumatoid arthritis.
Discuss the options with your healthcare provider.
Begin to make some changes to start taming your rheumatoid arthritis, even if it’s just drinking more water and adjusting your sea salt intake.
If you’re interested in me
speaking to your group
on arthritis, please contact me using this
easy contact form.
Want to stay active for more than 38 years? Know your options!
Feel free to peruse this website and gain a fresh perspective on causes and potential natural remedies that can tame your rheumatoid arthritis--You can get better!
I'm finishing up writing a special guide, 34 Tips for resolving your RA Flares Naturally. I'm planning to give away only 100 copies for your most burning questions.
So please fill out the easy survey about
RA and RA flares
so that I may include the answers in the upcoming book.
If you have questions about the disease, please contact me via the
Disclaimer: The information on this website is a sharing of information and knowledge from the research and experience of Dr. Molnar-Kimber and her community. It is not intended to replace your one on one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It also is not intended to be medical advice. However, it is often observed that patients who take a major interest in their disease and learn as much as they can about their disease and potential treatments often improve faster than those who don’t. Dr. Molnar-Kimber encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research and discussions with your qualified health care professional.