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LDN Restored Quality of Life for Kim (and Her Service Dogs!)

Kimberly Ryan
June 29, 2017

Fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia is a painful and mysterious condition. Symptoms include chronic pain throughout the body, sensitivity to physical pressure, drowsiness, numbness, depression, and memory problems. Around 5% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia, with twice as many women affected than men. Read more here.

Arthritis:

Arthritis includes more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue. Symptoms vary depending on the specific form of the disease, but typically include pain and stiffness in and around one or more joints. Some rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body.

Kim, what was life like for you before you became ill and disabled?

Twenty years ago, I was very active. I was a “gym rat.” I was a cyclist and used to ride 150-300 miles a week. I also worked, put myself through school, and did volunteer work. Life was very busy and good before I got sick.

What happened with your health?

I started to have so much pain. The doctors thought it was a disc issue, and recommended surgery to remove 5 discs. But the pain spread. I began to have migraines all the time. I developed weird symptoms like abdominal spasms that mimicked a ruptured appendix, which would send me to the emergency room regularly. I had mouth ulcers and half my face would swell badly. No one could identify the cause. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, Behcet’s disease, as well as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal spasm, and neuropathy.

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What was the impact of all this on you?

I would suffer with being unable to walk well and needing to use crutches for 3-4 months at a time. With all this going on, I couldn’t date, I couldn’t see friends anymore like I used to, and I couldn’t be around anybody because my immune system was shot. I felt like I had nothing left and I used to ask God what I was living for. Much of my life was taken from me by illness.

How did your doctors originally treat you?

Thankfully, I had good doctors who realized how much pain I was in and prescribed narcotics, which I took every day. That was the only thing that gave me any quality of life. But people kept judging me and constantly questioning me about my use of narcotics, and I suffered a lot from the stigma of that. However, medicating like that didn’t get at the root cause of what was going on, and I kept looking for other solutions.

How did you discover LDN?

I was on a couple of blog sites that mentioned LDN, and I thought it sounded great, but I wasn’t ready to make the jump to trying it. Then, my first service dog Hayliegh became ill with liver cancer and a “bum” leg. She was in bad shape, and the veterinarians didn’t have much to offer her. One of the women on a blog site suggested that I start Hayliegh on LDN.

Hayliegh lived symptom-free for a year and a half after being diagnosed with liver disease, while on LDN.
How did Hayliegh, your service dog, do on LDN?

Once I found the right dose of LDN for her, all of a sudden, she wasn’t panting anymore, she was sleeping at night (I used to have to give her anti-anxiety and pain medication to help her sleep), and I noticed that she wanted to start moving...and I was like, wow! It made such a difference in her quality of life. As the days and months went by, her leg got better and her liver disease and liver cancer- she had no symptoms. Hayliegh lived symptom-free for a year and a half after being diagnosed with liver disease, while on LDN. When I would take her back for follow-up visits, even the veterinarians would be so surprised to see Hayliegh still around and doing so well, and they would say, “How???” I’d say, “LDN!”

What made you decide to take LDN yourself?

A friend of mine from one of the blog sites pointed out that Hayliegh had experienced such a great response to LDN, and then asked me when I was going to make the jump to taking it. It took me a couple of years of researching it, and reading the accounts of people who were treating their pets with it and taking it themselves. One of those websites is a Facebook site called “Love Our Pets: Low Dose Naltrexone,” which has been so fabulous in supporting people in their journeys with their animals. Ultimately, my health was getting worse and worse, and I decided to make the jump to taking LDN myself.

How did did you feel after starting LDN?

The first day I took LDN, it was like Christmas or the 4th of July. There was no more being disabled from all that pain. No more fibromyalgia pain. Zero pain from arthritis. I’m on 99% less pain medication right now, and I don’t need or miss it. I don’t have any problem with arthritis anymore. I have a joint that was supposed to be replaced, but why? It doesn’t hurt anymore. My fibromyalgia sensitivities all over my body- none of them are flaring up.

Everything improved since LDN. My life improved.
Did your chronic fatigue respond to LDN?

LDN has stimulated my endorphins and it “revs me up”. I have more energy and clearer thinking. Everything improved since LDN. My life improved. I lost 17 pounds, just because I was moving again. After a couple of weeks on LDN, I remember thinking, “I can go do things and live my life! I want to live!”

Being on LDN for the last 6.5 years has given me the ability to think, to move, and to give back, which is really important to me.
What have you been able to accomplish after starting LDN that you couldn’t before?

Thankfully, with LDN, I was able to think more clearly and ultimately publish a book called, “The Secret Life of Hidden Disabilities.” It’s my story. Now that I’m feeling so good, I’ve also done second rewrites on a new book about life after breast explants; LDN is going to be mentioned in that book. I’ve also been able to blog more. People tell me my writing has improved, which I think is because I’m not dealing with “fibro fog” anymore. I also volunteer on what I call the “Hayliegh Project”, which is dedicated to helping people with hidden disabilities deal with discrimination and problems relating to service dogs, housing, legal and medical services. Being on LDN for the last 6.5 years has given me the ability to think, to move, and to give back, which is really important to me.

Kim and Hayliegh

You have a new service dog. Is she also on LDN?

Ten days after Hayliegh passed away, I met Chloe, who was 4 months old. She had demodectic mange, so she was a crusty mess, but she was the cutest little thing to me. I felt we had a lot in common because her immune system was also attacking itself. She was already on medications when I got her, so I didn’t put her on LDN at first. But at one point, she got so ill that I thought I might lose her. All her fur came off, and her skin was crusty, bleeding, and turned black. She couldn’t walk and I had to wheel her around in a wagon. I put Chloe on LDN, and she got better. Then, her new vet asked me to take her off LDN to see what would happen. When we did that, her mites started to grow back again. So I put her back on LDN, and she is not breaking out like she did before. It will be exciting to see what happens in the next few months with her health.

What message would you like to send to those considering trying LDN?

I would encourage everyone, if they want to really know what it’s like to get their life back, to try LDN. It’s amazing. It’s worth it. And if your doctor won’t support you in trying LDN, find other ways to get it. There are other ways, and it’s not illegal! I hope reading our story helps people. If anyone has questions, please let me know.

More About Kim:

I am 55 years old living in San Diego, CA, USA. I enjoy: working out, cooking for friends, wine tasting and prayer and meditation. I am passionate about: my published book on amazon.com “The Secret Life of Hidden Disabilities”, Caring for my parents, “The Hayliegh Project” helping people with hidden disabilities and their civil rights. I hope my story brings hope to everyone who hears my story about LDN, so they, too, can have more quality of life. If you have a question you think I may be able to be helpful with, please feel free to email me at [email protected]