Dr. Stenberg and Helen
In 1984, I became free of pain and lost its unpleasant companions, fatigue and stiffness. Swelling. Joint replacement.
"Grandma, you have arthritis, don’t you?” my 5-year-old granddaughter questioned me with a statement. Children have little tact and diplomacy. It was much easier to talk with her than with adults about my arthritis.
“Yes, I do have arthritis.” Like most children, I expected to have only a few moments of her attention on the subject.
“How come you have it?”
“Something that we don’t know. Even though my hands don’t look good, I don’t hurt anymore.” That was it. Her thoughts were on to something else.
When my mother, a retired grade school teacher, introduced me to her friends, she would explain that I had arthritis and then called their attention to my hands as if to emphasize the correctness of her statement. I smiled to pitying looks. It hurt my mother to see that I had crippling arthritis like her husband and my father.
My friends in the Homemaker’s Club have been wonderful. They looked past my hands and my hurts. Their support through my most difficult times has meant more to me than any of them realize. Through my pain, surgeries, and restricted social activities, these ladies took time to send me get well cards, encourage my recovery from operations, visit me in the hospital, and do the things that bond friends together.
In 1971, a physician of the University diagnosed my condition as rheumatoid arthritis. The pain had become constant especially in my hands and knees.
Through prescriptions, I ate 17,520 tablets containing 18.2 pounds of aspirin, 720 grams (1.6 pounds) of naproxen, and 798 grams (1.8 pounds) of d-penicillamine. Then plaquenil and gold injection treatments began. Until 1984, at no time was I pain-free. At times, even the weight of bed sheets was painful.
Surgeons replaced and corrected joints in my hand, knees, hip, wrist, and straightened unruly toes.
Upon recognizing my disease was intractable, my research professor husband organized a research group to study rheumatoid arthritis.
I have a strong faith in God and did a lot of praying. I thought my husband wouldn’t mind the extra help.
After his 1983 Pittsburgh lecture, my husband returned excited. He was convinced that the body must have an inflammation control system that was unknown at that time. When malfunctioning, this system would allow short-term, beneficial inflammation to go out of control. He sketched what he thought the system must be and what the malfunction must be within it that caused the long-term, destructive inflammation of rheumatic disease. He went on to explain that if this idea were correct, my arthritis could be easily corrected by patient self-administration of the widely-available, prescription hormone cortisol.
My husband convinced his former student, the rheumatologist attending my disease, to allow me to give his idea a try. He allowed it with some reservations. In three weeks, I became pain-free and lost stiffness, swelling and fatigue as a bonus. I was afraid to say anything for fear that it might come back! During these three weeks, I had accompanied my husband to India where he gave the plenary lecture at a medical conference.
Twenty four years later, I still remain pain-free with no side effects. It did not come back as I had feared. My last joint corrective surgery was in 1992. My fingers didn’t straighten out, but I do not have the pain and debilitating fatigue.
My husband’s research group went on to prove the existence of the inflammation control system in the body, the malfunction within it that allows long-term, destructive inflammation, and conduct a clinical trial to prove the effectiveness of the malfunction correction that controls long-term, destructive inflammation. Then he established treatments centers throughout the United States in which thousands of people with rheumatic diseases have been treated. The animal and clinical trial studies have been published in medical journals. The United States Food and Drug Administration now recommends his method of cortisol use. The name Microdose Therapy was selected for the treatment to represent a small amount of cortisol as needed.
The good news is that you don’t have to put up with arthritis pain anymore. Pain is the body’s signal that the body has a problem. When solved, the pain leaves.
I weigh 110 pounds despite cortisol’s reputation for causing weight gain. My bones are stronger than average for my age group despite cortisol’s reputation for weakening of the bones. I don’t have to sit on the bed in the mornings to unstiffen before making the essential trip. I get up and go right away.
I pray that you, too, will have your life restored. All you have to lose is your pain.