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'I couldn’t leave the house without gloves or hand and toe warmers'

I grew up as a healthy child. I was never hospitalized and hardly had a visit to the doctor. I loved playing sports especially, basketball and volleyball. So, I remember when I first started experiencing symptoms of Raynaud’s. I was a senior in high school. It was volleyball season. I remember desperately trying to get the feeling back in my middle finger and for it to return to normal color before our game started. With help from massaging my forearm I got the blood moving through and finally started to see some positive change.

Being a teenager, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I live in a cold climate during the winter months, so I started to be affected by Raynaud’s either daily or weekly. It started off mild and slowly progressed. My fingers would start to lose circulation, feel numb, and turn white in even 50-degree F weather at times. A symptom that used to last only 10 minutes started lasting for an hour or more. That started to make me nervous. Why was this happening? Then, shortly after college it progressed even further. I ended up being diagnosed with chilblains in my toes. This was even more painful than Raynaud’s. The capillaries at the ends of my toes would burst leaving me with painful sores under my skin at the ends of my toes.

I started to conform to my new lifestyle. I couldn’t leave the house without gloves or hand and toe warmers, the inside of my car had to be heated up before hitting the road, I would avoid activities that involved cold temperatures, and so on. This was when I buckled down and started doing my own research. Nutrition started to become a passion of mine. I believe that no matter what disease you are battling through, proper nutrition is essential. Two points of importance I started adding into my daily routine was staying hydrated with water and incorporating cinnamon into my daily diet.

Four years ago, I had my biggest breakthrough when I started drinking my superfoods every day. One day it suddenly dawned on me that it was freezing cold outside, I had no gloves on, and my fingers weren't going numb. I was excited and relieved, but there are days even years later that I wonder if it will return. Just the other day I experienced some of the coldest temperatures of my lifetime. The thermostat in my car read 1-degree F. I drove off in a cold car without gloves and happy fingers. Changing my nutrition has been life changing for me, so this (plus exercise) would certainly be my one piece of advice for anyone struggling with Raynaud's.

Author credit: @shannonnuberg

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