“It wasn’t just what happened to me. When I was out at Juicy O I was also watching what happened to other people and it was just amazing” Roger started our conversation by explaining about a guest at the resort who wasn’t part of Super Juice Me: “There was a guy there… he was diabetic and he got off his diabetic meds while he was there. It’s just incredible.”
I asked Roger what lead him to apply for Super Juice Me. “We already knew about Jason Vale. I’d actually been out to Turkey in 2008 [to another of Jason’s retreats] but I didn’t really want to go at that time, I was dragged there by my wife.”
Roger wasn’t overly impressed when he arrived either. He says “I was pretty miffed to find there was no booze and I had no plans to give up drinking, but during my stay I read Jason Vale’s book “Kick the Drink Easily” and I haven’t dropped a touch of alcohol since!”
Despite kicking the booze, Roger still hadn’t fully embraced juicing. He says he and his wife “started juicing a bit” but hadn’t really changed their eating habits much.
“Really crap and lethargic”
Roger had always been reasonably fit and active, he was an advanced sub-aqua diver and qualified nitrox technical diver.
All of a sudden in 2010 Roger says he started to feel “really crap and lethargic”. He suspected he was becoming diabetic because he would get faint and the only way he could stop it was by eating sugary foods.
“I went to the doctors and they started checking me out for diabetes – nothing. Then they did a full blood test and they found that I had an extremely low white blood cell count and low vitamin B12 level. Then they started really cranking up the investigations. I went for scans, MRI, CT and internal stuff and more blood tests. I was hanging onto the consultants like grim death because I thought this is cancer, that’s what they are trying to find. It never occurred to me to think about alternative treatments, juicing or raw foods. I wanted the doctors to sort me out”.
“I had sleep apnoea and I didn’t even know it”
“I was in panic. It was getting pretty bad. I had a mouth full of ulcers. I had ulcerated holes in my tongue, which was horrible to try and live with. My back looked like it had been painted with target marks all over which then migrated around. The worst thing was I was depressed, my mood was low, I was irritable and I couldn’t sleep. I went to a sleep clinic and they discovered that I was semi-waking up hundreds of times a night to start my breathing again, because I had sleep apnoea and I didn’t even know it”.
Roger had to start sleeping in a breathing mask with a CPAP machine helping him breathe and because of this, his wife started to sleep in another room.
Lupus and Hypoglycaemia
Over the 3 year period, until he went to Juicy Oasis, Roger had seen his GP over 20 times and consultants over 30 times. Roger was hospitalised due to Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his leg. He was also hospitalised to have varicose veins removed.
The doctors eventually diagnosed Roger’s main health issues as Lupus and Hypoglycaemia.
Lupus is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by problems with the immune system (the body’s natural defence against illness and infection).
In people with lupus, for reasons not clearly understood, the immune system starts to attack healthy cells, tissue and organs. As with other more common autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible for triggering lupus in certain people.
Hypoglycaemia is most commonly associated with diabetes and mainly occurs if someone with diabetes takes too much insulin, misses a meal or exercises too hard.
People who do not have diabetes can also experience hypoglycaemia, although this is much rarer. It can be triggered by malnutrition, binge drinking or certain conditions, such as Addison’s disease.
“My weight went up like a rocket”
Roger was prescribed steroids.
“In 2011 after all this investigation they put me on steroids which caused my weight to go up like a rocket.”
Initially the steroids helped Roger with the symptoms, but the side effects of the steroids soon became significant. Roger had to take other drugs alongside the steroids to counter numerous side effects including “bone destroying properties”.
He told me he was “going down the Andy route”. If you haven’t yet seen Super Juice Me, Andy was on 52 tablets a day.
One of the side effects of Roger’s drugs was hand cramps where his hands would lock up and he could not open them. This could happen up to 12 times a day and Roger felt he was becoming immobile.
“Is there any alternative?”
“In 2011 I went to the consultant and said that steroids where causing me so many problems from the side effects, the weight gain and all the rest of it and I’ve looked up the steroids online and I know what the risks are. I don’t like it. Is there any alternative?”
The doctor said any alternative would be worse for Roger than the steroids, but he did offer to help Roger to reduce and then stop the steroids. Initially he felt a little better, but then his symptoms came back with a vengeance.
Roger was sent for more tests.
“They had me in neurology for brain scans as one of the symptoms was spacial memory loss.”
He said it was terrifying. “You know who you are, but you have no clue where you are”.
He was horrified to discover that the listed side effects of many of his drugs included memory loss.
“I though sh*t. Is this my long term future?”
In January 2012, the consultant told Roger he was becoming more and more ill and suggested he went back on steroids. He also told Roger about another Lupus patient who had been on steroids for many years who was having to stop taking them as she kept breaking the bones in her hands and feet.
“I though sh*t. Is this my long term future?” Roger said.
But Roger had felt he had no choice and so resumed the steroids.
He says “my mood swings were all over the place. When I was up and happy and reasonable, my wife was almost in tears and saying you were an absolute pig yesterday”.
Roger was fed up with being sick and his wife was getting fed up with him.
One day Roger’s wife mentioned to him that Jason Vale had just opened a new retreat in Portugal. They decided to book. Roger says he was willing to “try anything”.
Two or three days after they booked Jason asked for videos of people needing help. Roger sent a video and was selected. When he arrived at Juicy Oasis for Super Juice Me it was actually his 2nd trip to the retreat.
I don’t want to give too many spoilers for the film, but in the 28 days Roger lost 12 cms off his waist. His blood pressure dropped to ‘normal’. He lost 23 pounds. His cardiac risk dropped from 27% to 15%. This was on top of improvements he’d already experienced from the earlier trip.
The biggest benefit though is that Roger’s sleep apnoea machine was no longer needed and he and his wife could share a bed for the first time in 3 years!
Towards the end of the interview Roger said, “I never, ever expected to be able to run the Great North Run but I actually did it in September last year!” He continued “I’m booked to do it again this year and I’m going to do it the year after and the year after that. I also do yoga and am in the gym 3 times a week”.
Pretty impressive for someone who was becoming immobile?
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