Partnering With a Friend to Fight Retinitis Pigmentosa

Written By: ingridricks - May• 07•13

My husband and daughters have always been a great support system and recently joined me in my get-healthy quest—which includes daily green juicing, reducing processed foods and eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish.  My daughter, Syd, has even teamed with me on a new daily cardio and strength training routine so I can increase my overall body fitness.

Ingrid and Fran

But I was going it alone on the eye treatment front until this weekend, when my new friend, Francisca, came to hang out for the weekend.

Francisca and I met last month at the Wellspring Clinic in Vancouver, Canada, where we are both receiving acupuncture treatments for our Retinitis Pigmentosa. Like me, Francisca is committed to doing EVERYTHING in her power to improve her eye health. She even moved from Chile to Vancouver just so she could access the treatment provided at Wellspring.

While together, the two of us made a commitment to help each other stay on track with diet, lifestyle, fitness, eye exercises, acupressure, Chinese herb tea, deep breathing and meditation. And just knowing that Francisca is going through this with me is a huge help.

We kicked off each morning with a tall glass of room-temperature water, followed by a large glass of fresh green juice (kale, cucumber, celery, green apple).  We then ate boiled eggs, drank our Chinese herb tea and did our acupressure and eye exercises. At the end of the exercises, Francisca even added an additional exercise for us that involves cupping our eyes while meditating and concentrating on deep breathing.

During long walks to the beach, the two of us discussed different things we are doing to maintain and improve our eyesight. Francisca takes a variety of dance classes to stay in shape and ensure a strong body core. She has also stopped drinking alcohol and is taking a liver tonic to help strengthen her liver. I’m trying to stop drinking wine and have just placed my first order of TUDCA, a synthetic form of bear bile that has been used in Chinese medicine to heal blindness. It’s a liver detoxifier that is thought to reduce toxins in the eyes.

Each night before bed, Francisca and I repeated our eye exercises, acupressure, Chinese herb tea, meditation and deep breathing.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it—this new “heal my eyesight” quest is a lot of work. But I know it’s helping my eyes. And with Francisca as my partner, I know I’ll stay on track.  For those of you following this blog who are also on a healing quest, I highly recommend finding a partner who can accompany you on your journey. Because when discouragement and exhaustion set in—getting that little nudge and encouragement can make all the difference.


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  1. Laura Novak says:

    How wonderful! I love this tale of friendship and mutual support. Only you two can truly understand what it is to be going through this journey. May you both find wonderful rewards down the road. Keep up the great work!

    • ingridricks says:

      Thanks, Laura. It does help a lot to team up with someone who is battling the same disease and is equally committed to beating it! Thanks for your friendship and support.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I can speak to what a supportive friend and partner you are. I know you will be gifts to each other. Onward!

    • ingridricks says:

      Thank you, Suz. Francisca definitely is a gift — just like you and Laura have been on the entire writing journey. xoxo

  3. Jared Romey says:

    Boy can I recommend a great book on Chilean slang and how to say a bunch of it in English, for Francisca!!

    Help me remember to send you a copy for her. I’m traveling at the moment, and don’t have it with me.


  4. ana maria vidal v. says:

    Bravo para las dos ,exelente poder tener un apoyo y una amistad asi.sigan adelante ¡¡ un gran abrazo para mi hija Francisca y para Ingrid.

  5. Pam Perry says:

    I love that John and the girls have joined you in full support too! I’m a partner in your journey, watching you inspires me!

  6. Alysa S. says:

    It’s so wonderful that you have so much support and love around you. Best wishes to you and Francesca!

  7. Steph Durden says:

    I LOVE this. This just speaks to the fact that the right people come into our lives at the right time. What a gift it is to find another traveler on the same journey. Love you, dear friend.

  8. Natalie says:

    Hi Ingrid,

    It is Natalie, the Texan writer who chatted with you awhile back. Interested in finding a source for the synthetic TUDCA-Have been unable to locate it. Where did you find it?


  9. Marié-Josée Idiart says:

    Ingrid Where do you buy TUDCA and how do you know If it’s a good quality??

    • ingridricks says:

      Hi Marie- Jose,

      I purchase TUDCA from Amazon. I just went with the least expensive I could find — link below. I asked Dr. Rosenfarb — who uses it regularly — about quality. He said that TUCDA is simple to produce and that I didn’t need to worry about not getting good quality.I currently mis one small spoonful included in the package (250 milligrams) in my green juice. I may work up to 500 milligrams — the recommended dose for RP patients. Hope this helps. ie=UTF8&qid=1368975604&sr=8-1&keywords=tudca

  10. Ruben Villa says:

    Im from Argentine, and I need to contact Francisca. I have a child (11 years old) with RP and want to know more details about this treatmennt can you help us? Thank you

    • ingridricks says:

      Hi Ruben,

      Thanks for connecting. I know that Francisca is in Europe through the end of July and I don’t think she has Internet access. But I will send her your email and message. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you start doing eye exercises and acupressue with him. Good blood flow/circulation is critical for RP. Best, Ingrid

  11. Ruben Villa says:

    Thank You. Here in Argentine mid class society have very low oportinity to travel to north. Please Excuse my English. And we need to know the most possible things before travel. Meantime we saving money to the treatment and travel. In your experience the treatment works?

    Thank you, good bless your eyes and calm your hart.

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