October 3, 2013

Whole30 Success Story: Janet W. and Chronic Urticaria (Hives)


We’ve heard more than a few Whole30 succes stories that stop us in our tracks: Jessica O,Summer WBrian M. But today, Janet’s photos are what stopped us cold—you have to see them to really understand the horror she was going through while suffering from this condition for more than seven long years.  We are blessed to have played a role in her recovery, and so grateful that she agreed to share her story with us. Read, be inspired, and share our Good Food word with those who need it.

Janet’s Story

In 2006, I was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticaria and angioedema. This is medical-speak for unrelenting hives and facial swelling—like, when your eyes swell shut and your lips blow up—without a known cause. It’s classified as autoimmune, meaning that my body was basically attacking itself. I had been on high doses of prednisone, unbelievably high doses of antihistamines, costly monthly shots of trial drugs, and other old-school medications to suppress my immune system. All of these medications provided little to no relief, and since 2006, I had gained 50 pounds of medication weight. I had a spontaneous remission for a few years, but in May 2012 they came back with a vengeance. I had to take my rings off every night in fear that I would wake up with my hands swollen and my rings painfully stuck. I had painful joints. I couldn’t exercise or go for a walk with my family without my feet swelling like crazy. Wearing sneakers was a nightmare. hands-before-after I had a doctor appointment in March, when it was recommended that I try taking Prograf—an immune-suppressing medication that keeps organ recipients from rejecting their transplant. The side effects are terrible, and the risk of getting sicker or getting an infection (because my immune system would basically shut down) was very real. I had recently a lot of reading about “leaky gut syndrome” and “clean eating,” and was ready to make a change. During my reading I came across the Whole30. I told my doctor about the reading I had been doing and asked if I could have six weeks to decide what I wanted to do. She agreed, but made me promise to get an EpiPen because my facial swellings were getting dangerously close to full-on anaphylaxis. janet-before-after I went home, did a ton of research, and went to the bookstore. I picked up It Starts With Food and got started right away. At my next doctor appointment, I was 20 pounds lighter and so much better. I hadn’t had any facial swelling in a few weeks, and my hives were dramatically improved. I left that appointment with my doctor’s blessing, and without a new prescription. By July 2013, I was 26 pounds lighter and had greatly reduced my medications. Now, in September 2013, I am off all medications with the exception of the occasional over-the-counter Zyrtec. No more swelling, no more joint pain, no more fear of wearing sneakers or rings….and best of all, NO MORE HIVES! legs-before-after The Whole30 put me back in charge of my body and my life. I am beyond thankful for the knowledge I have been given through the book and website…you have given me my life back! Regarding the photos, I took a photo journal so that if I was having a bad day, I could remind myself that my worst day now is better than my best day was then. These pictures are before and after, 100% related to the Whole30.  I made no other changes other than following your AIP (autoimmune protocol). That’s it! Incredible!