Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia
Valentina: I’m Valentina and this is my mom
Lavinia: Hi, I’m Lavinia
Valentina: And I’m a patient of the Natural Medicine Clinic. I came here in March, 2011. I could not move the whole right side of my body. I couldn’t move my fists, I couldn’t scrunch my hands. I could not move my whole arm. My toes were starting to not move and I could barely walk because it was paralyzed in a ways and I needed help. My aunt told me that the best thing for me to do would be to go to a natural wellness center. We found this place, came here, and ever since I came here, I’ve been a different person. I’ve been myself again. It’s amazing. I lost all of my symptoms. Ever since March of that year, I’ve been myself again. I can do everything. I’m no longer depressed because I had gained so much weight from the steroids and everything is back to normal now.
The Medical Doctors told me that I had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for life and that what I had were the first symptoms; getting a rash and my thumb swelling, that it was automatically Rheumatoid Arthritis and that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything and that I should get used to not going to school because I wasn’t going to be able to move my hands for a long time and that steroids would be my only way of living without pain. They didn’t mention anything about anything natural, just that I had the condition and that was it. There was nothing else.
Lavinia: I just want to say that they sent us to many specialists in the area. It started with our pediatrician, who had no idea really with what was going on with her symptoms of the rash and the swelling, the paralysis in the right side of her body, so we were very hopeful that the area specialist would have a solution. We went to the top people in their specialty area and we were very concerned with the laid back attitude, that Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is on the rise, that this is typical in America, that being on Steroids for life is the solution, it is the only way and if we don’t accept it, we are simply in denial.
Even taking her down to Miami to see a specialist in the area, he diagnosed her with Fibromyalgia and said that she had sensitivity to the touch. They said that basically she would be spending part of her life home-bound. She wouldn’t be able to go to school with other children and that she would need to be on medication for life. Thank goodness for my sister, who is very into homeopathic remedies. She suggested that we come here. We did a little more research and we realized that they gave her three vaccines, because it was convenient for the pediatrician’s office, that we figured there was some sort of correlation of an overdose of vaccines and the physical condition she was experiencing. Of course, the medical doctors dismissed that and thought that was absurd. They also made their diagnosis based solely on physical touch. There was nothing done through blood-work. There was nothing about their approach to healing my daughter that was about what was happening inside of her or what was happening emotionally. There was no blood or urinalysis done. There was no examining her exercise, sleeping, or nutrition.
When we cam here, she couldn’t even move. I remember Dr. Rofrano working with her and she wasn’t able to bend. But, little by little, we were coming twice a week, even three times, it was through the chiropractic work and the movements with the machines here, the supplements, the exercise ball, little by little she became limber again and she became her old person. It just changed her so much socially and academically. She really felt like an anomaly. Almost like a freak at school.
Valentina: Yeah, I was having a lot of social problems because I went from being my normal self, being really happy, to being super depressed and never in a good mood. I couldn’t even function on the first day that I went back to school before coming here. I couldn’t even sit down in a chair for 10 minutes. I had to get up, and I would feel really awkward, almost like I had never been in school before, like I was an alien in school. It was really embarrassing because people would look at me and ask me what was wrong with me.
Lavinia: People thought she was faking it, ever her father and I. When she woke up that morning saying that she couldn’t move her thumbs, I am a teacher and mother, so my typical response was “come on, let’s go, let’s get your breakfast. Your thumbs will be fine later”. I really did not see the seriousness of it from the beginning and the same is for the principal of her school when we would meet for conferences. A lot of people thought that it was a psychosomatic situation where she was making this up because she had gotten behind academically and was having difficulty socially. Everything just compounded and kept getting worse and worse, until we came here.
Valentina: Before, once I found out that I couldn’t move the right side of my body, it meant that I couldn’t do what I aspired to do in life, which is horseback riding. Every single weekend, i would look forward to going and just touching a horse at least, and riding is a big passion that I have and I do it all of the time. So, when I found out that I couldn’t do that for what the Rheumatoid Arthritis doctor said, forever, I was so mentally destroyed. That was my way of having the best weekend. A definition of a good weekend for me was going out and riding horses, being with them, and connecting. That’s what hurt me the most. When I came here and found out that I would be able to get back to horseback riding slowly and that I wouldn’t have all of this pain, heartburn and the stress, it was amazing. Life just started coming back.
Lavinia: I just love how when she came here, everybody cared about how she felt, emotionally and physically. Dr. Rofrano was very into her pain. Where does it hurt? What’s the level of pain?
When we went to the Rheumatoid Arthritis specialist, it was all about “This is not a negative reaction to steroids, this is a side-effect and this is to be expected”. It was all about convincing me as a mother and you as a patient that this was your new condition that you had inherited and that it was in our best interest to accept it early on that medication was going to be a part of your daily life.
Valentina: And to accept that I couldn’t go ride horses… I couldn’t live like any other child, that it’s just what happened and I would have to own up to it and just get used to it and stuff.
Lavinia: And he kept comparing you to worse-off children who were homebound. And here were are in a lobby of geriatrics, which we understand… My father has arthritis, but to have this beautiful, vibrant young girl…
They wanted us to go to this special orientation with other children who had JRA.
Valentina: Yeah, they wanted us to this big presentation where all of these other kids who were just like me…. and those would be my new friends. I would get to talk to them because they had the same symptoms and the same problems as I did. “It would be perfect because we could do modeling shoots for JRA”. They wanted me to walk the runway with all of the other JRA patients to support his company, his office.
It was just very overwhelming to find out that just from a rash and swollen thumbs that all of a sudden, I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Lavinia: Remember how the pediatrician treated you after when we went for the yearly check-up? She was amazed that you had no symptoms of this. She almost looked at me like “oh, it all went away, maybe it was psychosomatic, maybe your daughter was creating this unnecessarily”. We did notice that when we returned to the pediatrician’s that they have a lot of the pharmaceutical brand’s posters, promoting their vaccines, and when I had come with my exempt for that I had gotten from the Palm Beach County health district, she looked at me. I said, “no, thank you, we’re not going to do any more vaccines, not after what we’ve been through”. And we were treated a little bit differently.
Valentina: Yeah, because we weren’t promoting what they believed in.
Lavinia: We even said that Dr. Rofrano had helped you out a lot and she said, “oh, if you believe in that type of care”. She sort of dismissed that. The proof is in the pudding.
Valentina: I’ve been doing amazing over the past year. I’ve made the most friends I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve been so excited to be myself again. I’ve been with all of my friends, going out places with them for the weekend and just having so much fun. I’ve been making the best memories ever. I’ve been doing really well in school and I’ve just been happy about living and not having to take those steroids. I remember I had to take 4 of them every single day. I was constantly eating. My life was laying down in bed, watching TV. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be with my friends and live a happy life. I didn’t want to be depressed and sad while everyone else got to go to school. Everyone would call me up and say, “you should have been at school today. We made so many cool memories and took so many cool pictures”, and now I can do that. It’s just amazing that by walking into a place like this, I can change in a natural way and feel so much better.