I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t walk. But I could open a can.

Written by: Rachel Ballard

Rachel Ballard

As a young mom in Kentucky, I led a busy life. I was raising children, running a farm full-time, and showing off my delicious southern-style, comfort-food recipes on my blog and YouTube channel. I was independent and driven, loving the fulfilling life I led.

All of that changed when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2019. I have what is called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIPD). While the title is certainly a mouthful, CIPD is essentially a disease where the body attacks the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves, leading to a progressive shut down and loss of movement in the limbs. Along with this diagnosis I was given about 4 years to live. This was, to say the least, a shock for my family and.

I remember asking myself, “What happened to me? How did I get this disease?” Doctors could only tell me that the cause was unknown and there was no cure.

I’ve been a  Registered Nurse for 18 years, so I know the medical field well. I explored many different treatments available to me. One was a $10,000/month IV treatment. It involved the insertion of 6 needles in the abdomen each month. After beginning it however, I got much, much worse. 

When 2020 came around a year and a half later, I contracted Covid. Due to the reaction of my immune system to the virus, my situation worsened even further, and it became necessary for me to purchase a wheelchair as I could no longer walk.

I had lost my life and independence completely. I could not tie my shoes, dress myself, or brush my teeth. My hands were like floppy, wet noodles that couldn’t chop vegetables, open a jar, or even scratch my own nose. My legs reminded me of the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz - all bendy and wiggly with no substance. I came to rely heavily on my husband and children, and I was very grateful for their love and support during this time.

At that time of great difficulty, I made a decision. I decided if I was going to get better it was going to be on my terms. Western medicine had no answers for me, so I was going to find my own way. And that way was nutrition.

I began seeing a Functional Nutritional Therapist who put me on a plan. It was the GAPS diet, and it called for 9 cups of vegetables per day. Can you believe that? Nine cups! How would I manage something like that in my current state?

Up to that point, Thrive Life had strictly been an emergency food for me. But if there had ever been an emergency it was now. So, I cleared off the dust from the cans and began to use them.

Thrive Life was a total game changer. Even if I couldn’t cook a traditional meal, I could remove a lid and pour water into a bowl. Thrive Life made it possible to get the 9 cups of veggies and the other whole foods that I needed every day.

I saw very little change in my health for almost 7 months on my prescribed whole food diet. I began to wonder if all of my efforts were for nothing. But then, things started to change, and rapidly. Every month there was something new.

Month 8 I could get up and walk a few steps on my own. Month 9 I was able to get out of my wheelchair and begin using a walker. Month 10 I was able to get around with only a cane. By month 11 I got rid of the cane. Soon, I had the use of my hands again. I could take care of the farm again. I could serve my family again. My body was healing and I was regaining my life, something the doctors told me could never happen.

Today, I feel amazing. I still deal with small symptoms here or there, but I have reclaimed my health. I feel more mental clarity than I ever have, and I am able to once again run my blog and YouTube channel - though I will say that the recipes I make now are quite different from what they once were.

I am thankful for how Thrive Life enabled me and my family to eat whole healthy food in a time when no other food would have provided the level of ease, flexibility, and nutrition that Thrive Life does. Thrive Life helped make the impossible possible.