My free-from life… Molly Buszard

From a nervous fresher to a successful recipe developer, Molly has overcome adversity with an emphasis on diet…

Just before I started my first year at university, I was diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. Even though I was 19, the joints in my hands felt that of someone three times my age. I was about to start the next chapter in my life, a course that I felt passionate and excited about; Fashion for Knitwear, although it started to dawn on me that doing a creative course and being a fresher while in this much pain wouldn’t be as exciting and as easy as I first thought.

After tests and scans, the doctor diagnosed me with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. After being told, I left the hospital frustrated and angry.

During my first week at university, I was in a negative headspace. It wasn’t the pain I found most frustrating, but why I was suffering at this young age. My hands would go numb in the cold, the pain would creep up to my elbows and shoulders, and in the morning my fingers were so stiff I struggled to pick things up. My knuckles would be red and swollen and I felt fatigued most of the time. I struggled to keep up with the fresher lifestyle and was unhappy in my course.

It was after my second appointment, when I saw people around suffering worse than I was, that I decided to make a change. With the help of my boyfriend and family, together we researched online more natural approaches to healing autoimmune diseases.

A few years prior to my RA diagnosis, I found out I had an IBS and a gluten-intolerance. I read online about links between gut health and autoimmune diseases, as well as what foods have healing and anti-inflammatory properties. I saw stories of how people had managed to cure themselves through changing their lifestyle and diet, and this motivated and inspired me.

I didn’t want to rely on drugs forever so I got strict with my diet. I cut gluten and dairy out completely, as well as nightshades – a group of high inflammatory foods like, paprika, peppers, potatoes, chilli and more. I cut back on alcohol and ate less sugary foods, upped my turmeric and oily fish intake and invested in anti-inflammatory supplements.

Through experimentation I came up with lots of recipes that made my diet a lot less bland. This is when I created my blog. I wanted to use this as a diary for my own recipes, as well as find other young women and men who also struggled with rheumatoid arthritis.

I still struggled with my course due to it being very ‘hands-on.’ I also felt I missed out on a lot of social events as I worried about causing flare-ups and feeling exhausted.

Slowly, but surely, I started to feel a lot better – the pain lessened and I noticed and learned what caused my flare-ups.

Four years on, my MollyBHealthy blog has grown and enabled me to land my dream job as a recipe developer. Prior to graduating from University, I had a hospital appointment where I found out I was in remission. A couple of months later, I came off my drugs and now I manage my pain purely with diet, exercise and lifestyle. I speak to other young women who also suffer with rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases. We are able to relate, exchange advice and stories, and know that there are other options to help and manage our pain.

Skip forward to today, and I am able to do everything a normal 22-year-old should be able to do. A minimal pain only arises in my right middle finger where it all started off, which I like to see as a gentle reminder – letting me know to keep continuing working hard at my diet and creating a healthier and happier life for myself.

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