When Zach became a patient at GrassRoots Functional Medicine, he was struggling with Still’s disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis that causes fevers, rashes, and joint pain.
He was on high doses of prescription drugs that only brought him minimal relief and came with dangerous side effects. And his doctors told him he would never truly recover.
Yet today he has more energy than he’s had in years, his symptoms have improved significantly while lowering his medications, and he finally has hope for his future.
Success stories like Zach’s are proof that reversing chronic disease and reclaiming your health is possible!
We hope that sharing his story inspires you to begin your own journey to true healing.
How Conventional Medicine Failed Him
The week of Zach’s 18th birthday he came down with a 102° fever, and swelling and rashes everywhere that persisted for weeks.
He was fortunate to have a doctor who recognized his symptoms and diagnosed his autoimmune condition. He started a course of steroids that calmed the acute inflammation, but then he moved into the chronic phase of his disease.
He spent 8 years on varying dosages of Methotrexate (an immunosuppressive drug) and Prednisone (a steroid), yet he continued to struggle.
His doctor told him, “You’re not going to get better. We’re going to have to give you medicine for the rest of your life, and you’re just going to have to manage your symptoms.”
Seven years after his diagnosis, things took a turn for the worse and new issues starting cropping up.
He worried to himself, “If I can’t control this inflammation, I’m going to start falling apart in ways that I don’t even know how to predict right now.”
As someone in their mid-20’s, the thought of being sick the rest of his life was incredibly scary.
He’d heard that diet could play a role in autoimmune disease, so he did a little research but as he put it, “I thought, so if I eat the salmon, I’m going to feel better now.” When that didn’t happen, he was frustrated and unsure of where else to turn.
Fortunately, he was not the type to give up, so he went looking for answers. We’re so thankful that he did because the truth is, autoimmune diseases CAN be reversed!
A Functional Medicine Approach
When Zach scheduled his discovery call to see if we could help, he told me about his history and the approach his conventional doctor had taken.
In our initial call, I explained how we could work together to uncover why the inflammation was there to begin with and optimize his physiology to remove the inflammatory triggers. I explained that it’s more than just changing your diet, it’s dealing with emotional stress and previous traumas, optimizing your nutrients, and healing the gut. Everybody has a different recipe for success, and it takes time.
We decided to partner on a journey together, and I’ve been so impressed by that work that he’s put into it!
Identifying Root Causes
We also identified hormone and thyroid imbalances that were contributing to his anxiety and nutrient deficiencies that meant his body didn’t have the fuel it needed to function optimally.
Everybody has different contributing factors to immune dysfunction and inflammation, and you have to peel apart the layers to figure out what’s at the root.
It’s an ongoing journey because things pop into the picture as life goes on. You get new stressors, you get new exposures, and you have to be able to adapt to your surroundings and make sure your body is in a place where it can heal.
Putting in the Work
As Zach put it, “I had no idea what I was signing up for when I started working with you. There was sickness in a deep place in my body that I didn’t know how to access. It wasn’t just my body, it was also in my mind, even my soul.”
Over the course of several months, we focused on stress relief, optimizing his diet for key nutrients that support healing, repairing his gut, and rebalancing his hormones.
It took time and there were many factors to address, but he stayed positive through it all. That’s one of the things that I really respect about Zach is he’s always kept a positive attitude. And I’ve seen time and time again that it’s the people who have a positive mindset who do the best, who pull through and make unbelievable recoveries.
Thanks to his positive mindset and a lot of hard work, he has been able to significantly reduce his medications, and his inflammation levels and symptoms have decreased dramatically.
He shared that he hasn’t had this much energy since he was a teenager. And at a recent dentist appointment, they told him his blood pressure was like a teenager’s!
Zach’s Message of Hope
When I asked Zach what advice he would give to people who are still struggling with their health, his words blew me away.
You get to this place where you’re almost comfortable with being sick, where you almost lean on it like a crutch, and it starts to become your self-definition. I’m a sick person, and the thought of not being sick just either seems impossible or it even just seems scary to actually be better.
Ask yourself do you actually want to get better? If you do, it means a massive course correction. It means a really, really massive journey into these really deep places of your body and of your mind that are sick. But it’s just so worth it.
It’s such a precious reward at the end to say, “I got better. I beat this thing that’s been holding me in bondage for years.”
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.
Want to work with Dr. Osgood and the GrassRoots team? Become a patient in our West Lebanon, New Hampshire Functional Medicine clinic, our Burlington, Vermont Functional Medicine clinic, or our Austin, Texas Functional Medicine clinic!