By Allison Atwater – You are brushing your teeth, something you have done for your entire life, when a pain like nothing you have felt before rushes through your body. The pain causes you to cry out in sheer agony. Your fingers feel as though any movement will cause your bones to crumble. For someone with a debilitating illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), even the slighted movement can be absolute agony. For Honnor Moore this is her reality.
Over a decade ago, at the age of 30, Honnor was a new mother to a beautiful baby boy when she first noticed something odd was happening. Her symptoms started out minor but over time increased in crippling severity. She first noticed that she was unable to flex her finger. Due to many contributing factors, her symptoms worsened, her mobility weakened and relentless pain forced her to seek medical help.
During a visit with her family doctor, Honnor received the devastating news. “My doctor was emotional when she told me I had rheumatoid arthritis.” Honnor remembers that day vividly. “At that moment I didn’t fully understand her emotion or the ramifications of such a devastating illness until I looked it up. I was stunned.”
She was told with absolute certainty she would be confined to a wheelchair within five years and her career would end within two. As she listened to her doctor, the news became more devastating, when she was told the life expectancy for someone with RA is dramatically shortened. Her doctor prescribed a cocktail of medications that would not be a cure but would help her manage her illness and support her with her pain. Her world was crashing around her.
Unlike other forms of arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of joints, attacks muscle and other body organs. Instead of guarding the body against infection and preventing harm, the body’s immune system attacks itself.
For the first two years she trudged on without the use of conventional medicine and coping with indescribable and excruciating pain, as her immune system savagely attacked her body until it was unable to naturally heal its self. A naturally private person, Honnor didn’t want to burden her friends and family with the details of her illness so she bore the brunt of it alone.
Often so weak from the pain, she was unable to pull herself out of bed. “I would have to roll out of bed and pull myself up on my elbows on the bedside table. It felt as though I was standing on broken shards of glass in my feet.” She remembers vividly having to use her teeth to tear at the Velcro tabs of her son’s diapers because the pain in her hands was unbearable.
Over the next eight years, her body’s immune system viciously attacked her joints and other body tissue. Honnor did not believe she was born with this illness so there should be a cure. She left no stone unturned. Her answers came in the form of a World-Class Medical treatment centre called Sanoviv.
After devastating side affects from the medication, of which were liver, kidney and heart complications she left Vancouver in a wheelchair to be admitted to Sanoviv Medical Institute in Mexico. Working with an entire team of medical professionals over a course of two years and two in patient treatment programs. Honnor now believes they have found the root cause of her illness. The suspect: a root canal.
Her goal, after her initial treatment at Sanoviv, was to compete at the FAME Canadian Nationals in March 2009, but it seemed RA was standing in her way. Honnor wasn’t going to let the illness defeat her as it had in the past. She set a new goal for October 2009.
Over the course of the next months, on a specific functional medicine plan which was closely monitored, Honnor worked to ready her body for the competition. Paying close attention to fatigue, pain and unstable joints, Honnor splinted and braced while strengthening her healing body with various forms of daily exercise, including 20 minutes a day on the Stairmaster and 30- 45 minutes of treadmill cardiovascular endurance. Four days a week, she worked a different muscle group, creating alternative systems and methods to accommodate her special needs while paying particular attention to her abdominal muscles. Most days, it was all she could do as a workout then she would have to rest.
Honnor’s hard work and dedication paid off, when she showed she was Body Proud at the FAME Canadian Nationals, when she took home the first place Fitness Model Physically Challenged and the Most Inspirational Athlete awards.
In November, she also competed at the FAME International Championships where she won the first place samurai trophies for FAME Fitness Model Masters and FAME Fitness Model Physically Challenged. Way to go Honnor, you showed the world that even after suffering the effects of a devastating illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is possible to be Body Proud.
Copyright © 2009 Allison Atwater
About the Author: Allison Atwater is a freelance writer and fiction writer. She writes for many online publications. She lives in Surrey BC, with her husband and two young sons. Her website is www.flatwater-publishing.com.
For more information, please visit Honnor’s personal website, www.honnormoore.com.