Triathlete Overcomes Debilitating Inflammatory Disease
I’d really like to share my story of success with readers because I feel that there are many who could benefit from hearing about alternatives to traditional Western medicine for things like: AS, OA, Reiters syndrome, Gout, RA, Psoriatic Arthritis and many more related conditions.
Lets begin my story a few years back in February 2013. I was a fairly accomplished 22 year old age group triathlete, paramedic student, hockey player, free-skier and all around decent athlete, in preparation for my second of many 70.3 (half Ironman) and full IM (Ironman) races. I had just finished a long bike/treadmill brick session (bike to run with no rest for those not familiar with the vernacular), that was consistent with the “black hole” training that the boys reference so often in Primal Endurance and on the Primal Endurance Podcast. I was eagerly anticipating the oven pizza, pasta bowl and chocolate milk that had become the ritual of post training “refueling,” and to be honest… real staples of my diet at the time, when I began to feel excruciating pain in my hips, back and knees.
This pain was unlike any post training soreness that I had ever experienced and I immediately rushed to the ER (being a paramedic in training at the time I knew the burden people place on the hospital system in Canada, so for me a trip to the ER was not to be taken lightly). The ER Doctor prescribed me a high dose NSAID and you guessed it…mitt-fulls of Percocet, which I happily gulped down to mitigate some of the pain. Fast track to two months from the incident: the pain did not subside. As a matter of fact, it worsened in my back to the point that I needed help ambulating and even using the washroom. Dozens of trips to my family doctor had resulted in many consultations, all of which pointed to an athletic injury, which I insisted was not possible.
My family doc finally came to her senses and ran a panel of blood work, primarily testing inflammatory markers, and sure enough discovered I had the HLA-B27 marker that signified a high probability I had a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. She immediately referred me to a Rheumatologist who prescribed me an even higher dose NSAID and told me to refrain from all contact sports, activities that place a significant load on the body, or heavy lifting of any sort (basically everything I lived for, including my future career as a paramedic).
Now skip ahead to early 2016. I am a 25 year old working paramedic with no athletic goals, a Michelin tire around my midsection from the “McDiet” that so many shift workers follow, and the medicine cabinet of a brittle 85 year old. I stumble upon a JRE Podcast featuring none other than Mark Sisson, who begins preaching these theories about how switching to a Primal lifestyle can significantly reduce symptoms of diseases and conditions, otherwise only treated using medication that produce a ton of adverse side effects. At first, I will be truly honest, I was a bit skeptical, but given the point I was at in life I would try just about anything to get back to the lifestyle I had prior to my diagnosis.
Within a month of beginning to adhere to The Primal Blueprint/Primal Endurance lifestyle (scrapping all bread, rice, pasta, refined carbs and sugars, and sticking to a diet rich in nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, meats/fish/foul nuts and seeds) the pain in my back disappeared, my knee went from the size of an orange back to normal, and the pain in my hips completely went away. I began to use the “180-age = target heart rate” for swimming, biking and running again, and found I was able to play hockey and ski again. I finally felt like I had the energy that a normal 25 year old should have.
A visit back to my Rheumatologist and chemistry panel confirmed that I had put my body into full remission of my Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was able to come off my medication and enjoy the lifestyle I was meant to live. I signed up for my first 70.3 since my diagnosis and hit a personal best in my local sprint triathlon, using all of the concepts taught in Primal Endurance (including Dr. Phil Maffetone’s theories, rest/recovery strategies, weight training, HIIT training, fat burning engine, etc.). I have more energy than ever and have been able to far surpass the physique that I once had as a “black hole” style athlete.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story and I really hope that those who are struggling with similar issues can find some inspiration from this.
“Originally published on Mark’s Daily Apple.”