Thursday, December 30, 2010
My Alternative Lifestyle
"So how exactly does this work? Do the needles, like, stimulate hormones or nerve endings or something?"
"What is ch'i?"
"It's life-force. The life-sustaining energy inside us."
"Our bodies get a little out of whack for various reasons. What we eat. Stress. Illness. Injury. Acupuncture gets the ch'i flowing as it should, which basically brings the body back to a healthy, natural state."
"And how does this help with fertility?"
"The issues you've told me about - endometriosis and fibroid tumors - are not normal. Those problems occur because the body is working against itself. By restoring order, those problems will go away."
"Go away? Completely?"
"Infertility issues respond very well to Chinese medicine. If you give me six months, your tumors would be gone completely. You would get pregnant."
We then proceeded with my acupuncture session. I didn't know what to expect, but I was astonished by the feeling I experienced when all the needles were in place. You know those tuning forks that vibrate and "sing" when you hit them? I felt like I was a tuning fork that had just been hit. I felt like body was vibrating, buzzing. Almost audibly. I could feel the energy coursing from my head to my toes. It was weird. It was real. It was really, really weird. I began to believe there actually may be something to this Chinese medicine thing.
Jerry made me a specialized blend of Chinese herbs that I took twice a day for about two months. I got distracted with life and before long, we were chosen to be Jocelyn's parents.
But for two years, Jerry's words have tugged at the back of my mind. Give me six months...you would get pregnant.
Off and on in my spare time, I pulled up scientific studies regarding Chinese medicine and infertility - mainly fibroid tumors and endometriosis. I found several surprising articles and studies (yes, scientific Western studies) that should an unexplainable amount of success when infertility was treated through traditional Chinese medicine.
Give me six months.
I mentioned to Justin once or twice that maybe we should go back and give the treatment six months, and just see what would happen. If nothing else, we'd have some great stories to tell - not to mention a monthly appointment for basically napping (yes, I always fall asleep during acupuncture; it is very calming and the needles do not hurt).
A girl I work with went to Jerry for severe carpal tunnel. She's a designer and usually takes ten ibuprofen pills a day. By the end of the day, her wrists are so swollen you can't see that knobby bone. She was trying to find an alternate for surgery because that would put her out of work for a long time. So she decided to try acupuncture. She said as soon as the needles were in, she felt like sludge was draining out of her arms. It was such a strong feeling she even looked on the floor to see if there was a puddle of tar! It's been about a month and after one treatment, she hasn't had any pain. Hasn't taken a single ibuprofen. So weird.
So I decided to do it. I decided to give Jerry six months and just see. My regimen is a specialized herbal blend three times a day and acupuncture once a month. Am I doing it for fertility reasons? I would be lying if I said that thought wasn't there. But that's not the driving reason. I really believe this will make me healthier and help ease my pain and problems without horrible hormone therapy.
Chinese medicine is said to address the whole being instead of parts, like Western medicine. Western medicine keeps dealing with smaller and smaller parts. Receptors. Nerves. Cells. Individual body parts. I see a handful of doctors for different things. I find it interesting that I have three autoimmune issues - endometriosis, seborrheic dermatitis, and lipomas (suspected to be autoimmune related) - and not one doctor will look at all three.
Obviously something is out of whack with my body - it is attacking itself. But I must go to an ob-gyn for endometriosis, and he doesn't care about the hair loss and plaques on my scalp. I have to go to a dermatologist for that, and the last thing he wants to talk about is my uterus and so on. I believe there is a benefit to such specialized medicine, but on the flip side, there aren't any experts on the whole. Except Dr. House and he's not exactly taking appointments.
I have two fibroid tumors on my uterus. My ob-gyn says they can only be "cured" through surgical removal and since they are benign, it isn't worth it. He says they don't interfere with the uterus or its function. I think that sounds so weird. I have two golf-ball sized (that's how big they were three years ago, I don't know what they are at now) tumors on an organ the size of a pear and they aren't affecting it at all? Seems strange to me. And I think they are growing. My stomach is expanding and I haven't gained weight.
Anyway, I like the idea of someone who treats the whole. I like the idea of "medicine" that isn't designed to alleviate pain by blocking a receptor. Pain is an important part of the body's communication. Western pain meds often just turn the volume down on the message - without fixing the cause of the pain. Maybe this is all far-fetched. But I am going to give Jerry six months and just see. I am hoping for lighter periods, less pain and cramping, a reduction in the endometrial lumps I can feel, and maybe a shrinking of the uterine tumors (here's hoping for a flatter stomach!). And maybe, just maybe, we can get pregnant.
Truthfully, the hope for pregnancy is simply because it is so much more affordable than adoption. I am not ready to go on a pregnancy crusade at all. I am not ready for hormone therapy and in vitro and cycle tracking and shots and all that nastiness. This is the extent of it. Honestly, it would be a great "side effect" but it is not the primary reason I am doing this.
I've been afraid to talk too much about this because my reasons for going are personal (not everyone wants to hear about my uterus and its many quirks) and I have been afraid that people will think I am on a pregnancy crusade. When people know you are trying and struggling, the support is great, but at the same time there is more pressure and a lot of unwanted pity. It can be hard. But it's time I come out of the Eastern medicine closet and embrace my new alternative medicine lifestyle. :) So if you see me choking back some funky smelling powdered herbs, you'll know why.