During the past few months a lot of changes have been going on. I often wonder where I am today and how my wife and I never expected a year ago that we would now be living in San Francisco. I’ve lived in Iowa most of my entire life, so that’s one big change. As we look back at many of our answered prayers, there has always been an element of surprise. So perhaps I should’ve seen this coming. We were delighted and thankful to have a new working environment, so we packed up, sold our home and drove across the country.

I would recommend a drive from Iowa to California to anyone. It was an adventure. Just plan ahead for spontaneous snowstorms in Wyoming no matter what time of year you go.

The second big change has been with my health. While my own detective work carried on, we unfortunately had to stop seeing our doctors in St. Louis, who have been so helpful in finding and cleaning out some of my dental problems. Last week I reached 5 and 1/2 months of the Cowden Support Program. I strictly kept to each daily dose of herbs but never felt any change during those months. My symptoms gradually increased too so I decided to end the protocol upon finding a new doctor in the bay area. Several new symptoms have appeared since arriving in California. My right ankle and foot started to swell regularly and I began to notice more joint pains overall. My knee inflammation remained at peak levels all along, while my thumb and jaw pain continued to rise. I’m sure a lot of the new or increased symptoms had a lot to do with the gigantic life changes, physically pushing my body too hard, stress and adjustment to finding new, healthy sources of food.

Upon my last visit with Dr. Yu, the last recommendation was to have my last upper left molar removed. According to testing, this was the troublemaker, but I just didn’t have enough evidence to commit to the extraction. My oral surgeon agreed that it may or may not solve my knee swelling or arthritis so I decided to wait and see if my jaw pain worsened over time. Today my jaw still hurts near that molar, but I wonder whether it is actually referred joint pain or if the tooth has really died. Hopefully I will eventually have more evidence some day to confidently decide whether to start pulling teeth that appear to be healthy.

Last week I had a visit with Dr. Thomas S. Cowan, an M.D. in San Francisco. I was interested in his knowledge of arthritis treatments and other autoimmune conditions and someone who respects nutrition and a healthy gut as important pieces of the puzzle. After looking me over, he felt that Lyme disease was not my problem, but that I had classic signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Although tested seronegative for RA several years ago, it’s something I’ve always still suspected. Regardless of what you call it, my immune system isn’t functioning the way it should, and he was interested in finding the source of the problem. In an effort to tame my body’s overreaction, I’m now trying low dose naltrexone (LDN) along with a few supplements to see what happens. Along with that, I am cutting out all gluten and casein from my diet, and following a modified version of the Wahl’s diet.

Cheers to a new adventure! (picture me raising a glass of water, ginger, lemon juice and stevia)