The first few weeks after my explant I felt fantastic. I had so much more energy, more zest for life, positivity and umph to actually get shizzle done than I had in years. I was excited about life again. I had made the decision after the removal of the toxic bags that the next step would be to start healing myself through detox and the gut. While researching autoimmune issues within the body, most reports pointed back to something called ‘leaky gut’. If you don’t know about leaky gut and autoimmunity have a look at Doctors, Drugs and Dis-Ease it explains it all there. So I cut out gluten and sugar and made sure I took a whole heap of pro biotics. I also took an adrenal stress formula to help my adrenal glands and turmeric supplement to keep any inflammation at bay. Now I was off the methotrexate and had been in remission for nearly three months, I didn’t want to go back to that dark place. I bought as much organic produce as possible because I knew I needed to help reduce the toxic load in my body. Any fresh produce that wasn’t organic, I would soak in liquid chlorophyll. If you add a couple of drops of the chlorophyll to water, it helps to clean fruits and vegetables, getting rid of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
By week two I started developing hot flushes. It happened most evenings and I would also feel quite dizzy with them. I asked the ladies on the U.S support group if anyone else had experienced this after explant and low and behold… they had. Most ladies said that they would only last a few days and then it would just stop and that’s exactly what happened to me. One lovely lady told me that because the toxins from the silicone can affect our hormones, once the implants are out, your body naturally re-adjusts and thats why your hormones get a bit out of whack for a couple of days. However apart from that I was still feeling brilliant.
Week Three. Around 5pm each evening I started getting flu like symptoms, all achy and feeling cold to the bone. I was of course concerned that it could be connected with RA, as flu like symptoms are seen as part of having RA, but the fact my boobie area was also really tender at the same time, gave me hope that it wasn’t. When I saw my surgeon a few weeks later at my follow up appointment, he re-assured me and said that he thought it was more likely connected with my healing. This was obviously joy to my ears. Determined to make sure I was really giving my body a fighting chance of recovering before anyone put me back on the medication, I decided to email my nutritionist Catherine Jeans and get tested for parasites and candida. She recommended that I did the Comprehensive Parasitology and Bacteriology test which costs £150 and I could do at home in my own time. I agreed and waited for the test to arrive.
It all began so well at the start of week four. I wasn’t just the hair on my head that was growing back but all over my body (in the right places!!!!) . I had eyebrows for the first time in ages. My under arms, legs and bikini hair were all growing back like a ‘normal’ women. Another symptom to have vanished was my neck pain. I had suffered for years and years with this issue, spent a small fortune on osteopaths and even had a special neck pillow that I took everywhere with me when I stayed away from home, which to be quite frank was a pain in the neck in itself!! But the happy buzz of being a pain free hairy mary was soon to be dampened.
I was celebrating turning forty and had a few special days planned with my hubs and my closest friends in London. We were going to take part in THE CRYSTAL MAZE. If you have no idea what that is, you need to get googling to check out its utter brilliance. But back in the 80’s it was one of the best game shows on TV, where teams of 6 players competed to get the most crystals in a series of challenges in four different zones. Each crystal gives you five seconds of time inside “The Crystal Dome”. I always wanted to go on it as a kid and now 30ish years later I was finally achieving my dream. It was a ridiculous amount of fun and the competitive streak in me was LOVING the challenges. Also because it was my birthday I decided to eat absolutely anything I wanted, bread, cakes, mini donuts and the most devine fully loaded sugary desserts. I also enjoyed a milkshake or three and treated myself to one little ice cold glass of bubbles. It was heaven.
But I paid the price.
The morning after my birthday I woke up in the hotel with just a little niggle in my left index finger. But by the time I got back home that afternoon, the pain had become really intense and also moved into my arm and leg. From that moment on, I seriously struggled week after week. It was migrating all around my body and each day an old symptom would pass and a new one would appear somewhere else. Some days I wouldn’t be able to move my arm as it felt like it was broken. Other days it would start off in the morning as just a little pain in my thumb, obviously relieved thinking it was nearly over, but by the afternoon, it would be back again somewhere else and I would be in excruciating pain. I put most of the problems down to the fact I had eaten anything and everything on my birthday and had a huge reaction and because I didn’t know what food had triggered this almighty flare, I was at a loss as to what exactly I should be cutting out again so I could heal. This whole saga made me think it was more RA related than fake bresticles. Over the next month I found it really hard. I was scared. I had no idea what was going on inside my body except that I was having migrating joint, tendon and muscle pains. Some days I coped really well maintaining a PMA that this was just temporary while I detoxed. Other days I freaked the hell out that I was doing my body damage by not taking the chemo drugs to suppress my immune system and control the supposed ‘RA’. I’m not gonna lie. It drove me crazy and I had really dark thoughts. Sometimes, I just wanted out, to stop the world and get off, the constant pain and day to day struggle seemed to never end. I honestly couldn’t get my head around the point of all of it; live in pain and fear that I could die early from a disease or take hideous drugs with awful side effects that make me feel even worse and do more damage to my body than good.
I happened to have a routine GP appointment, arranged by my GP and not me, *GASP*, to make sure that I was still doing well. Obviously at this point, I wasn’t. Whilst we were discussing my impending problem and the best course of action, Dr D made a discovery on my notes. I’d had a blood test nearly three months previously for vitamin D deficiency and it had come back saying that I was quite low. Anything over 50 is classed as normal. I was 25, but that was 2 months ago. My doctor was very apologetic that the results hadn’t been flagged up. I found out that the side effects of a Vit D deficiency fitted my current condition down to a tee! Joint, muscle and bone pain. Fatigue and depression. We came to an agreement that if I still had joint issues in two weeks we would send me back to rheumatology. I was put on 10,000 units of vitamin D a day for the next 10 weeks and off I went. Elated that vitamin D was my problem and not RA.
However, you can’t solve a vitamin D deficiency over night. It takes months for your body to build it back up. Two weeks passed and the pain, chronic fatigue and general shit-ness was not subsiding. I still had bizarre swellings, sometimes in random places, back of my hand, wrist and knee, between my shoulder and elbow and sometimes it seemed to be more muscle related than joint. It even made it to my groin area and deep in my bottom which then spread down my leg. They weren’t little muscle aches either, they were like you had just run a marathon and sezed up pain. I had spoken to the rheumatology department to get advice, because as always, at the back of my mind was the RA diagnosis. The wonderful RA Nurse Serena said the muscle pain could be something else, but didn’t go into any futher detail and to be honest, I didn’t want to know. I told her about my Vitamin D deficiency which she said had nothing to do with my current symptoms. Not the response I wanted. I suppose all I wanted to hear was ” What a relief for you, its definitely the vitamin D deficiency and its well known that an anti CCP count can be affected by that and you are going to be fine, take care and have a wonderful heathly life. Goodbye now!”. Yeah… that didn’t happen.
The final nail in the coffin was the day that I woke up in the morning and I couldn’t open my mouth. I had, what I can only describe as jaw lock. I couldn’t get a spoon of food in through the tiny gap between my lips, let alone chew. I was really scared by this point. This was a totally new place to get an issue. The next day it had eased off and I had more movement in my jaw, but my legs and knees had started to play up. By that afternoon I couldn’t walk. The pain was insane, one step made me scream out in agony and I couldn’t hide the tears and the fear from my kids. My husband was away and my amazing eldest daughter, Ella had to help me get into bed to rest. Seeing my children cry because I was in so much pain was unbearable. However, the next morning I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, stood up and I walked to the bathroom. My legs were completely fine, as if nothing had happened the night before! My jaw was also back to normal.. I was obviously elated but it was just so random!
The whole situation had scared the life out of me, to not be able to care for my children, or walk to the toilet unaided, I decided I needed to take action. I was exhausted with it all. I called my GP and she put me on Naproxen ( a prescribed anti inflammatory ) 3 times a day to help with the migrating inflammation and we both agreed that it was time to head back to rheumatology.
I was devastated.
Click here to read what happened next…. xx