My Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis and mTGV
Hi, I’m Nathalie,
A 53 years old Rheumatoid Arthritis patient in remission since April 2016 with medicinal Thunder God Vine (mTGV).
My goal is to give access to the available information about medicinal Thunder God Vine (mTGV) and its indications in autoimmune disorders.
I dedicate this website to all persons enduring the consequences of living with an autoimmune condition that this website may benefit, with a special mention for RA suffers.
Managing an autoimmune condition often means seeing one’s income reduced because working is made difficult or impossible.
In the meantime, treatments can be very expensive.
As a result, in many places in the world including the richest, having an autoimmune condition means facing extreme survival and enduring a lot of pain.
Thunder God Vine in the form of the medicinal root extracts developed in the 1970s in China (mTGV) is safe, cheap and usually more effective than conventional drugs.
It can be both considered an alternative and a complementary approach to conventional treatments. It should be made available to everyone, as well as the knowledge about its indications and usage.
Long Story Short
I am taking medicinal Thunder God Vine (mTGV) since September 2015 and have stabilized my condition which is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) quite successfully. A Chinese physician helped me through the process.
My actual situation is remission since April 2016, so that’s now 5 years.
I have a follow up with a Rheumatologist for my regular blood tests and checkups in Bangkok where I live, and in Paris once in a while.
Long Story Long
I am a French citizen living in Bangkok, Thailand since September 2014 with my husband and daughter. We have a Content Agency. I’m a producer and post producer, sometimes the director too. I personally mostly work with NGOs and Institutions, making all sorts of content for them.
I’m not a scam. I am a real person, more adventurous than average, with a passion for getting to the bottom of things. I describe myself as agnostic and free spirited.
I’m not into holistic treatments or on any kind of diet. I don’t take supplements. Throughout my life, I have relied on allopathic medicine (Western style medication).
I declared Rheumatoid Arthritis in Paris in May 2014. Our family doctor figured it out after several painful episodes and things started to escalate. The lab results came back positive to RF and to anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) with a skyrocketing CRP.
I will forever remember the look in the rheumatologist’s eyes that day I first met her. I immediately understood that having a normal life is a party. My party was over.
She explained my options and possible future depending if I was lucky or not. Eventually, I had a life threatening, painful, crippling and impossible to cure disease. Treatment would involve lifelong heavy and dangerous medication.
This is my story
It is not different or worse than many.
I will not speak for others, every experience is so personal and different.
Back then, Rheumatoid Arthritis changed my life in a terrifying way. It crippled my body and my energy, cursed many days with pain and anxiety for the future, took from me good things that I loved to do and destroyed my confidence. It also made me cry many times with anger, fear, frustration and despair and left me so desperate with the pain.
My first treatment
Methotrexate is the first intention drug in France for Rheumatoid Arthritis. So I started with Methotrexate tablets which made me sick. Soon with injections I did myself weekly at 15 and then 25mg which is the maximum dose when injected.
It did help a lot with the pain even though it didn’t completely suppress it. I was never able to go lower than 3mg Prednisone per day and additionally used painkillers (Naproxen). I was experiencing morning stiffness, daily tender joints and a lot of exhaustion. Another side effects of Methotrexate for me was nausea especially the 3 to 4 days following the injections.
I threw it all away !
I don’t recommend it. It was just before our summer holiday in the beginning of July. I did see my rheumatologist in Paris the next week. After I told her I had stopped injecting myself, she said OK ! be prepared to suffer.
She gave me a prescription for another DMARD (disease-modifying anti rheumatic drug) called Arava (Leflunomide), although I told her I had no intention to take this new drug. Along with more Prednisone and painkillers.
10 days break, no more nausea and crippling exhaustion giving way, tremendous relief, it was feeling so good. Then of course, it started hurting again…
Back on Prednisone and painkillers, I limited myself to not take more than 10mg/day Prednisone. I spent many bad days in bed at my mother’s house that summer but still found the situation more tolerable than the idea to go back on Methotrexate or to try Arava which is was not available in Thailand.
Trying Thunder God Vine with the help of a Chinese physician
I spent a lot of time on the internet and read studies, blogs, forums about Rheumatoid Arthritis and autoimmune diseases in general. I read just about everything I could find.
Then I started collecting bits of everything about alternative and complementary treatments. That’s how I learned about medicinal Thunder God Vine, through clinical studies mostly.
China is not very far from Thailand, so back after that painful summer holiday, I started searching for a physician knowledgeable about RA and mTGV with the help of Chinese friends.
The alternative was either going back on MTX, or organizing a complicated medication importation from France with Arava.
And that’s how it started.
What happened ?
It helped me stabilize the disease activity at a very low level.
I stared on the lower base dose of 1mg/kg/day (6 tablets). During the first 20 days I experienced nothing at all. My Chinese doctor said it would take 4 weeks to 5 weeks to start noticing something. I was in a LOT of pain.
After 4 weeks, I had a first blood check, which came back good. Because there was no improvement yet, my physician changed the dosage at 1.5mg/day (9 tablets).
That’s when, after 10 days it started happening: I slightly got better in a way I had not experienced before. I then started rating the improvement every day on 1 to 10. I also have noted how I lowered the Prednisone dose and put it all in an Excel sheet.
I wrote an article using this data in the My Story section, you can read it here : Five years taking mTGV.
After some time, I concluded that I could further better by takings mTGV 10 tablets/day + Prednisone 2,5mg/day. No painkillers. It’s still this dosage I take today.
I am now on what can be qualified as a very low disease activity
Today, my condition is very good, around 9,5 but more usually 10/ 10.
I consider myself in remission (low disease activity) since April 2016. Things have kept improving even further the 6 following months. So more or less, it took a full year to feel like my old self again. It’s like recovering from a major car crash.
I still have Rheumatoid Arthritis of course. I know it, because I tried to stop a couple of times, that symptoms will resurface if I stop my medication.
Most of the time I have no symptoms at all and hardly remember what it used to feel like. All symptoms resumed over time, some quicker than others.
My last CRP (C-Reactive Protein) is a 0,81 which is low and my liver / kidney / blood cell counts are all in the normal range. I experience minor or no side effects. This aspect is detailed in the following page : Comparing Benefits of taking mTGV vs MTX.
About diet and exercising
In 2019, I started exercising again because I was gaining weight. Thailand is really hot and humid and it’s not easy to stay fit.
The best I found was to walk 1 hour on a daily basis on a 10% inclined treadmill. I maintain my heart rate at 60 to 85% of my maximum which is 145bps during the period. It can be considered vigorous exercising. Cycling is great too.
During the confinement following Covid19, the gym was closed. Since then I discovered a new routine in the morning by running and exercising outside during 45 minutes and I think I’ll stick to that for some time now. I feel great, work a lot, have lots of energy.
When it comes to diet, I eat of everything and avoid industrial processed food (always have actually).
To qualify my present treatment I would say this : more effective than Methotrexate without the adverse effects. My Chinese doctor says that if I tolerate it, I can continue to take it with equal benefit. I have my life back and try not to get used to the idea just in case. As we learn on the way, some medications do the job for a while and then just stop.