My Story

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday in May of 1999. I set out with friends on a conditioning hike from the 5000 foot Paradise parking lot at the base of Mt. Rainier, the goal was Camp Muir at 10,000 feet. The year before I accomplished this hike in 4 1/2 hours. This year I struggled, but determined to complete the hike I pressed on, one foot after the other. Six hours later, I made it to base camp, literally exhausted. I required help carrying my gear back down the mountain.

The next morning I couldn’t get out of bed. My throat was swollen closed, my saliva dribbled out my mouth. My muscles and joints hurt so bad I couldn’t move. My temperature was 93, and although I was wearing sweats, under a down comforter, and it was 75 degrees out, I shivered uncontrollably. I knew something was seriously wrong, and I wanted to die.

A few weeks before this I went to see a naturopathic doctor, complaining of frequent sore throats, excessive weight loss and joint injuries to my elbows, wrists, knees, shoulders, and ankles. He did a darkfield blood test and advised me that I probably have either Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus, and should consult a Rheumatologist. I did exactly that, and they took some blood tests. I was still awaiting the results when I went on the training hike that day in May at Mt. Rainier. I had been in excellent shape, and was planning to climb to the summit of Mt. Rainier in July. My phone rang that morning and I physically couldn’t answer it. Later that morning there was a knock at the door. It took me awhile but I made it to the door, and there were my concerned parents. My employees had called them telling them I didn’t show up for work or answer my phone. My father took me to the clinic where I had seen the Rheumatologist, and the test results were in, I had MCTD or Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, an Autoimmune disease consisting of a combination of symptoms of Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Scleraderma. She prescribed prednisone, an antiinflamatory Steroid, to calm my immune system. It worked. Within 3 hours of taking the prednisone I felt like a new man. Life went on and I was out jogging again in no time.

After a few months I went to see another Rheumatologist at Virginia Mason, who recommended that I try to stop taking Prednisone, that long term usage could do damage to my internal organs. Over the next month I decreased my prednisone dosage, and soon was prednisone free. Unfortunatly this was short lived, as I started having symptom flare-ups. Sore throat, temperature fluctuations, joint swelling, severe sunburn, followed by severe fatigue and depression. I had to take prednisone again.

I tried many alternative methods to cure myself . I was determined to beat this. I saw a Naturopath and took many supplements. I read books on lupus and other autoimmune diseases. I tried chiropractic, accupuncture, eating vegetarian, juicing, and did a couple body cleansing fasts. More flare ups. Nothing seemed to work except prednisone. Life as I new it was over. I became very depressed. I quit taking care of myself. I didn’t really care anymore.

Somewhere along the line I managed to come to terms with my condition, it wasn’t easy. I was able to get off the Prednisone except when I had flare ups, every couple months. Life became manageable for me again. I had to let go of my previously active lifestyle. I had to accept my life the way it was and move on. Later that year my sister was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. This changed my perspective dramatically. I may be in pain and struggle physically, but I wasn’t going to die from my condition anytime soon. Unfortunately my sister lost her battle with cancer. One thing is for sure, a serious disease changes your whole perspective on life. I started feeling gratitude for the simple things in life. I have more empathy for others suffering physical challenges. I had a choice, I could feel sorry for myself, which I did plenty, or I could move on with my life the best I can.

Today I manage pretty well, occasional flare ups, usually brought on by emotional stress and lack of sleep. I still take prednisone when I have flare ups, now only once or twice a year. I have learened to recognize the symptoms early on, and take better care of myself. I started biking and swimming a couple years ago.  I try to walk as much as I can. I have made huge changes in my life, my health and my nutrition.

In 2008 I participated in an Olympic distance Triathlon as well as 2 Century Bike Rides (100 mile rides)  I Have to work alot harder than most folks, and I go alot sower, but I DID IT!    I will continue to participate in walks, bike rides and triathlons.  I will also continue to learn about davebikenutrition and health to manage my connective tissue disease.  I refuse to let Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis dictate my life.

I still have pain, and I still have flare ups.  I had a full work up by a Rheumatologist in 2007,  when all was said and done he told me I was the healthiest Rheumatoid patient he’d ever seen.

I will attempt to share what I have learned about my health and nutrition, and how I have overcome Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MCTD, and Connective Tissue / Autoimmune Disease.   Regardless of your degree of severity with Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis, I hope some of the information I share is helpful.

Dave Rider

3 Comments

  1. Dear Dave
    You are a GOD’s send , I had no idea about what you are going through and you are facing it with such courage and determination and finally you are getting results .I will pray that you will keep getting better .you are an inperation and I hope to be able to spend time & learn from you. I love you my brother.
    best regards
    naaman

  2. Hi Dave,
    How are you? Hope all is well. I was diagnosed of lupus 2 years ago. Been reading a lot of blogs lately as I have been wanting to change my lifestyle. Thanks for your blog. Take care! 🙂

  3. Hi! This blog is great, I really needed to see this. That their is hope. That doing a lot of things naturally is possible, and your living proof! I was recently diagnosed in January 2016. Ive been suffering from lupus since 2010 and it took so long to figure out what was wrong (despite my twin brother having JRA)! Skin flares, hair falling out, mouth/nose sores, swollen glades, kidneys faiking for seemingly no reason, extreme fatigue, repeated fevers, sun sensitivity, head aches constantly, pain from random bouts of inflammation, legs swelling, etc. It’s horrible. But we need to make the best of it all.
    I hope you keep writing, and shining!
    ~Michelle

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