Psoriasis and Scleroderma
By Meghan Pagnam
As a child, I was always in nonstop motion, bubbly, laughing, athletic, considered a fireball, always on the go. As a student with a type-A personality I was always very involved with sports, taking on after school activities and also working part-time. I was always burning the candle at both ends.
When my body first began to signal something was wrong I was too distracted to notice. After ignoring early symptoms, my condition began to spiral rapidly. My pointer finger swelled, puffed up like a sausage. I was overworking and didn’t think anything of it. Next I was having inflammation in my hands, all my fingers were swollen, and then my feet swelled. As a waitress, I walked with a little bit of a limp. I woke up one morning in March and I couldn’t walk. I was in so much pain: my hands were crooked. I was losing weight, and my skin color was off.
I went to a Rheumatologist and everything came back negative. He told me I had an autoimmune disease. Doctors wanted to give me very strong drugs which I was fearful of so I declined all the immunosuppressants. Because I was nonfunctional, I agreed to go on an anti-inflammatory, called Mobic. Mobic helped for a little while and then my health began to decline again. The drugs are worse than the symptoms of the disease. I was sick all the time. I was exhausted. I was so anemic I could barely stand. I realized very quickly that medication is not the answer for me.
I was given a book by a doctor which talked about the Raw Food Diet and fasting. I decided to give it a try. Basically it was a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and nuts, raw juices, a lot of pea soup, a lot of bean soup, every single day. The doctor also wanted to wean me off the anti-inflammatory medication, which kept my swelling down and pain in check but the medication was interfering with the healing from raw food diet. I did the Raw Foods diet for 6 months. Initially, I credit it for saving my life. I feel I would have died if I had not started the Raw Food diet. My body was just that far gone at that point. But then I started being in pain again and having no energy again. The Raw Food diet and fasting kept many of my symptoms at bay but the relief was short lived. One by one the horrible symptoms began creeping back into my life and leading a normal existence was not possible.
At this point I dropped out of college; my kidneys and my liver were not doing well. My spleen was gigantic. I had internal bleeding, severe anemia, respiratory problems, heart palpitations, and beginning to lose my hair. My whole body was covered with redness and sores. The medical treatments were not helping. My first dermatologist misdiagnosed my symptoms as acne, and gave me acne medication. It turned out later to be psoriasis.
Dealing with psoriasis was very difficult for me. It was the beginning of the disfiguring. Id look in the mirror and say, Who is this, How could I have come this far? Red marks covered 50 percent of my body, it was incredibly painful. It looked like a contagious infection and it wasn’t. My skin would crack and bleed and ooze. It was itchy. My own reflection frightened me. I realized the Raw Foods diet was not going to work for me. My body needed to heal and the raw food diet didn’t provide the nutrition my organs needed. I lost all hope at this point. According to my doctor the blood tests explained nothing.
What allowed me to get up in the morning was the faith I had that God wasn’t going to allow this to go on and it was going to come to an end. I kept exploring alternative medicine, even though the Raw Food diet had failed me. I went to see Dr Scunziano, who said You’ve got to go to the Kushi Institute. The doctor explained the concept of the Raw Food diet. If a body is sick or diseased, it has an even harder time absorbing the raw food. Macrobiotics applies heat to most of the food. In June 2005 I flew to the Kushi Institute, in Becket, MA. After taking the orientation class of the Way To Health Program, I felt that this was going to work and help heal my body.
While I was at Kushi, I had a private Macrobiotic counseling session with Luci Baranda. She sat down and walked me though my symptoms. The first thing she noticed was that my kidneys and intestines were weak. She could tell I was anemic by looking at the white of my eyes. When your kidneys are not functioning properly your body secretes toxins through the skin, which is what caused the psoriasis. In Macrobiotics, you eat foods that have a neutral effect on the body. And therefore allows your body to heal. In Macrobiotics, you eat balanced foods and that has a healing affect on all the organs of the body.
I stayed at the Kushi Institute for 1 week and after 1 week I understood the healing power of food. I learned I needed to change my behavior by eliminating stress and eat food that is healing. I was put on a very specific healing diet that was tailored to my exact symptoms. When I started to eat better food my blood quality improved. The skin spots started to disappear little by little. I began to notice a difference immediately from the first day I was at Kushi more energy because the medications had really drained me.
When I left Kushi, I looked brighter and felt more optimistic and was filled with hope. When I returned home from Kushi, I was well enough to prepare my own foods and went shopping to the health food store and shopped for udon noodles, whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables and miso soup. I immediately started cooking healthy delicious meals. The only thing differently I did was to change my diet. Modern medicine could not provide the answers that I needed and I had the strength to take matters into my own hands.
My search for answers paid off when I found the Kushi Institute. Macrobiotics healed my kidneys and stopped the anemia, my hair and skin fully recovered. Macrobiotics has helped free me to lead a normal life. I continue to do Macrobiotics and in December 2005 I was able to come off all of the steroids. I graduated from college with a bachelors degree. I started working full time in January 2006. A change in diet can save your life. Macrobiotics has helped me to slow down and take more time with things, not rush through things, and to lead a more balanced life.
Megan Pagnum’s recovery story is aired frequently on the Veria Television Network on the The Incurables television show.