A few months ago, I wrote about having been stricken with the most debilitating pain that I have ever endured…a pain so bad that I could not even walk up a flight of stairs (If you have missed my story, I hope you will follow the link above.) because today, I am completely pain free.
It is not my story, however, that I want to bring you today but rather the story of Carla Harris Leverett of Goldthwaite, Texas. Hers is truly a message of hope if you are experiencing pain in your joints. Here’s the way it all happened…
Rickey and I recently attended a wedding, and we found ourselves having dinner beside Carla Harris Leverett of Goldthwaite, Texas, a long time friend and former student. After making the usual small talk, I asked Carla how she was feeling…not sure why…but I did. Immediately, she began to tell me her story.
“About 2 ½ years ago, I began to hurt, especially in my feet and ankles. When I’d get up in the mornings and put my feet on the floor, I’d have to hold onto the wall for a few minutes until I could make myself walk because the pain and stiffness was so intense.
“I could ride from my house into town…just a few blocks…and I’d have to hold onto the car for a few minutes when I’d get out until I could walk. In my mind I was sure I had developed Rheumatoid Arthritis.
“I finally went to a doctor in Goldthwaite who agreed that, in fact, I could have possible RA and he sent me to a rheumatologist in Temple. However, that doctor simply dismissed my concerns about RA, even though I had symptoms that mirrored it because my joints were not red and inflamed. So…..I just kept on going, hurting in my joints, especially in my feet and ankles, especially in the mornings, and especially after I sat for any length of time at all. I just finally decided that this was the new normal for me.
“This went on for about two years, with me constantly complaining about the pain.”
Carla’s story is complete déjà vu for me because her pain, etc. is exactly what I experienced. As I continued to listen, over and over I heard my own story playing out in Carla, who is over a decade younger than I. I opened my mouth several times to tell her my own story, but I closed it each time. After all, there couldn’t be two of us so affected by aspartame, could there?
Carla went on to spell out exactly what had happened to her while I became angry all over again at some members of the medical community who are so willing to write off any symptom that doesn’t come specifically outlined in a chapter in a medical book.
On top of the painful symptoms Carla had been suffering from for several years came yet another illness. This time bringing much greater pain, stiffness and swelling than even before.
“About mid July, we took our travel trailer to the beach. I didn’t feel good when we left, but we went on and met friends there. I had a hard time just getting in and out of our travel trailer, and the pain was horrible. For the most part, I just lay beside the pool feeling feverish at times, still suffering from very painful joints, and even developed a rash on the top of my arms. I contributed the rash to a reaction from the sun, sand, and sunscreen.”
Off and on again pain, fever, and nausea began to plague Carla even after returning from the beach. From late July until they returned to school on August 19th, she never really felt good and really couldn’t figure out why but just chalked it off as maybe a virus or something like that she just couldn’t shake.
“I went walking at the track the Wednesday before the students returned to school, and I began hurting so badly, I couldn’t finish my one mile walk. Thursday, the joint pain was much worse and by Friday, my hands and feet had doubled in size and I couldn’t turn my head, much less any other joints. I had to have help getting out of a chair and couldn’t walk without help. Every single joint was now affected. I couldn’t even bend my fingers.
“Sunday morning, the day before school officially started, I told my husband that something was terribly wrong and we needed to go to the emergency room in Temple. I really felt they would probably admit me. Not one time did anyone ask me about aspartame poisoning, or if I drank diet drinks or chewed sugar free gum, or ate sugar free products. They kept me there for about 5 hours….they ran blood work that showed lots of my blood levels were out of whack. They gave me a steroid shot for the pain and inflammation and dismissed me…this got me where I could walk and they also prescribed strong steroids and by Tuesday I felt really good.
“The next Thursday I went to a rheumatologist in Round Rock. The doctor ordered a huge amount of tests, and she too thought it was RA…but it was not…she found Parvo B19 Virus….I probably contracted sometime prior to going to the beach.
“My rheumatologist told me that I could experience symptoms from the Parvo B19 virus from anywhere from six months up to a year. I am so pleased to say that it seems my body has recovered from it for the most part. Most patients stricken with Parvo B19 wouldn’t experience the terrible side effects that I had. Unfortunately, my immune system continued to keep attacking my joints for a long time afterwards.
“Now, back to the pain before the Parvo B19 virus…..I know it was aspartame poisoning; I have no doubt of that. After sharing stories with Fredda, we both admitted to being gum addicts. When she told me her story of not being able to walk, the joint pain and stiffness, and the fact that she too had chewed sugar free gum, like me, for approximately twenty years and then quit when she suspicioned she had aspartame poisoning, and all her symptoms disappeared, I thought for a minute…..wow! Could this be my problem, too?
“I couldn’t believe that something as simple as gum could do this much damage to a person, but now after quitting the sugar free gum and all other sugar free products, I am virtually pain free, and was within a very short period of stopping sugar free gum and other sugar free products, with the exception of a little mild arthritis, but nothing compared to what I had suffered from. That sounds crazy, but it’s true!”
I was more fortunate than Carla. I wasn’t left in pain for years simply because my own studies eventually reminded me (within a few months of trying to cope with constant pain) that I had all of the symptoms of being poisoned…and I also knew that aspartame could be a culprit. Of course, I was also totally dumb to have been chewing a gum with aspartame in it in the first place!
If you will take the time to read your labels, you will find that it is very hard to find a gum that does not contain aspartame today. I really don’t believe that it matters the brand of the gum; however, Carla and I did chew the exact same gum…for what that is worth. While I do not want to publicly condemn any specific brand, feel free to contact me personally if you have a reason to be interested.
AND, while we certainly do not hand out medical advice here on United, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms that we have mentioned here and your doctors cannot find an answer, it might be worth your while to do some research into the chemicals you are ingesting daily.