Taking Charge of My Health


When I remember how I felt this time last year I can say that I have come a long way. I have gotten off a lot of medication, which has helped me lose over 45 pounds. Last October I came to the hard realization I was over medicating myself and on the wrong medication. After consulting with my doctors we decided to take me off Lyrica and try Gabapentin instead. A month later I lost 20 lbs! This motivated me to lose   more weight so I evaluated my diet and acknowledged that I wasn’t getting enough exercise.


Over the last 2 years at the Guthy-Jackson Patient Day for neuromyelitis optica I listened to Elizabeth Yarnell’s talk on nutrition and if certain foods were contributing to our poor health. I finally decided to call her and see what she had to offer since losing weight was important for me and for my family. The first step was a parasite cleanse that lasted 20 days. It was very simple and easy to do. Next, Elizabeth had me draw blood to determine what foods made me more inflamed. Then we tested my urine for 24 hours to see how I digested food. After a week waiting for the results Elizabeth called me for a 2 hour phone conversation explaining my results and a plan.

I couldn’t believe what I learned! I was eating so many wrong foods that were making me more inflamed. For 2 weeks I was on a strict diet and could hardly eat anything. That was tough. But after that we started introducing certain foods again. I’m 4 months into the program and I’ve lost another 25 lbs. Elizabeth has totally opened my eyes about what I should be eating. All of my family and friends keep telling me that they can’t believe how healthy I look. They say I am glowing, they can’t believe how much weight I have lost and that I don’t have that bloated look anymore.


I am also working a personal trainer at the gym 2-3 times a week and I do Pilates twice a week. I am 23 lbs away from my goal weight, which was where I was before I was pregnant with Allen. My goal is to lose the last 23 pounds by June 25. My ultimate goal is get back down to my college weight in the next year or so. Between Elizabeth and my personal trainer I think I can do this.



  1. Hi Erin! I know being on steroid certainly doesn’t help either. I’ve found (weirdly) that I actually drop up to 15 lb. the week I do steroids due to side effects like not sleeping, having heartburn and a very bad case of metal mouth. I know though that many people with NMO gain on steroids, especially if they are on a daily dose.

    It also doesn’t help if you’re dealing with crushing fatigue and/or pain and are less active. It really can be a challenge to stay fit and at a healthy weight. I go up and down myself, largely depending on how well (or not well) I am.

    We have become hyper vigilant in my house about food-my husband lost a kidney to kidney cancer a year and a half ago and so we have to be careful about his sodium and protein intake in order to protect the health of his remaining kidney. I already was a fresh food shopper to begin with, but now I REALLY shop around the edges of the store and read the label of every single thing that goes into my cart. It’s amazing what they add salt to-for example, I bought a carton of apple juice the other day. 20 mg of SALT in it! WHY are they putting salt in apple juice?!?!? It’s insane! Live & learn!

    It’s great that you’ve found a way to feel better and work on staying in optimal health. The important thing is that you feel good about you.

    Comment by Lelainia Lloyd on April 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm

  2. Terri O'Brien

    I’m so very proud of you taking charge of your health. Not only for you but for Allen. Doing the right thing is never easy but always is the best thing to do.
    I’m so glad you are defining your disease instead of it defining you. By posting this journey you are helping so many people and hopefully impacting their lives as well. Because isn’t that what’s this is all about?
    Keep going baby girl, I believe you can do it.
    Love, Mom

    Comment by Terri O'Brien on April 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Leave A Comment!