When I first started doing Jiu-Jitsu for all I never realised I would get such a response, so far I have had over 40 entries to be included in this series, so I will have a lot of stories to be working through. My first story comes from a girl named Snow Lilly, it’s not her real name but an online pseudonym that she asked to go by to protect her identity. For her BJJ has literally saved her life. After being diagnosed with 5 auto immune diseases and being confined to a mobility scooter she decided that she wanted to change her life. This is her story…
In January 2014, I was seriously disabled. I used a service dog and a cane just to walk short distances. And for longer distances (like Costco) I used a scooter. I was diagnosed with 5 autoimmune diseases… Multiple Sclerosis, Sjorgrens syndrome, gout (attacks my knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders), Hashimoto, and Diabetes. I hurt all the time and I was way over weight. I had to lay down most of the day to get the swelling out of my leg (I also have a severed nerve in my leg…but that is a different story). When I got word that I had MS on top of the other stuff, I knew I needed to fight back. I wasn’t living. I was simply dying a slow, painful death. In the months following, I studied everything I could about healing autoimmune disease naturally.
I started with my diet and finding food allergies and sensitivities. A learned that I can not have gluten, dairy, egg, corn, tomato, potato, cabbage, and pineapple. I then had to change my medicines because they all contained either gluten or corn as binders. That solidified that I need todo this naturally. After several months, I lost a lot of weight, but was still having pain and couldn’t move to exercise, but I knew I needed to. Honestly, part of me was unmotivated to exercise because before my nerve got severed, I was an avid martial artist. But now I have a neurostimulator in my leg to take some of the pain away, and I was told I would never be able to do martial arts again…and I believed it. It wasn’t until it became a choice between finding a way to motivate myself to move or laying in bed and dying, that I realized most doctors don’t understand how adaptive most martial arts can be. I need to know that my partners aren’t going to try to smash the equipment in my leg and send me to surgery again, but that doesn’t mean I can’t practice! I just need good partners, and won’t be competing. I decided I needed to get myself out of bed and train with the goal of joining a Jiujitsu school later down the road. My ground game sucks, and I know it. Plus, I have balance issues from the damage MS has caused, so I figured I can’t fall too far if I’m already on the ground. Jiujitsu seemed like a perfect fit.
I told my doctor my plan. Well…I told him about me wanting to exercise. I didn’t tell him about my plan to do Jiujitsu (don’t worry, he knows now and is 100% behind me…different doctor from the one who told me I’d never be able to do martial arts). He gave me IV infusions of Curcumin to control the inflammation in my body and help me be able to move through the pain a little better. I did that twice a week for a month, and it worked! On the days I had the IV, I didn’t need my pain meds. That was unheard of! So, I started getting out of bed and moving again. I could only do 15 minutes at first, but I had a goal and stuck with it. In the months that followed, I lost a lot of weight and reversed diabetes. Hashimoto had to be treated by removing my thyroid since I had radiation to the area as a teenager to treat cancer (Hodgekins…and yes, I’m cured. I’m a 20 year survivor). So now, I only had 3 autoimmune diseases.
After about a year, I got antsy. My service dog was mostly retired, but I was still using a cane. I didn’t think I was ready for Jiujitsu yet, but I was doing my research on the local schools. I visited the schools I thought I would join, but they didn’t feel right. Then I found the school I am at now. I was so excited to start, that my husband agreed that we should just run with that motivation and do what I can when I can. About a month after starting Jiujitsu, I dropped the cane and I officially decided to retire my service dog. Don’t worry, he is our pet now!
I had been having a hard time controlling gout, until Jiujitsu! No matter what I did, we couldn’t control those numbers. But a few months after starting Jiujitsu, my labs are 0.2 points off from being in the normal range. We fully expect to say I reversed gout sometime this year. My doctor just retested me for Sjorgrens, and that has been reversed!! We checked that before Jiujitsu too, and it was still there.
I have only been training Jiujitsu for 5 months, so this healing has happened very quickly. I train every day (except Sunday). Currently, I am focussed on healing and reversing MS. Rigorous exercise releases Glutathione, which is an antioxidant that everyone with autoimmune disease is deficient in. So, currently I am working out 3-4 hours a day depending on the day. I also do two 3 day fasts a month to release stem cells, in an effort to heal damage. There are studies to back up these claims. There are still some things that I can’t do. I have trouble with balance and getting dizzy when I move one way, but look another. I sometimes fall on my partner. But I’m there, and for the longest time, I never thought I would be. My partners are awesome, the school is amazing, and my teacher is incredible! I’ve lost 90 pounds on this journey. And my doctor told me that if my will is strong enough, I can reverse everything…even MS. I’m hesitant to believe what doctors say anymore, but this is one that I choose to believe. So, I keep plucking along, getting so much stronger, and finally living!