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An Update

January 28, 2016

My mom’s been in a battle for her life the past few years – so her battle takes first place in my life – leaving my blogs falling to the wayside. My apologies for the long wait-times for those that have asked questions. I sincerely appreciate your patience.

I’m still hanging in there. This winter, although mild for our area, has been tough on me. I came down ‘sick’ two weeks before Christmas, and it’s been a battle to stay well for more than a few days at a time. My sinuses keep ‘stinging’ like I’m coming down with something, and within a few hours of the stinging feeling, I end up with a head-ache. My constant battle with insomnia and exhaustion has been…well, exhausting more than usual.

I see an acupuncturist weekly now. This past year the pain in my cervical spine was excruciating. With the neck pain came debilitating head-aches. The whole ‘kit and kaboodle’ was beginning to cripple my days even more than they normally were. I ended up having a lot of blood-work done as I felt like I was battling with Lyme disease again. I was worried about a ‘knot’ at the back of my head too. So I was sent for a CTscan, an MRI, and a whole new round of specialists.

And even though it is not supposed to happen – I had another thyroid storm over the summer. Leaving my thyroid hormones all off kilter and needing to be straightened out yet again.

The good news: no tumors in my brain, no benign cysts or tumors in my sinuses (again), no blood clots, or signs of any forming. A nice healthy circulatory system. The bad news: I now suffer from degenerative disk disease. As if I needed another ‘medical tag’.

But today, I want to take a moment to talk about acupuncture.

I was ‘needle-phobic’. Having been one of those kids that tested positive for just about every allergen under-the-sun meant that I have very vivid memories of lots and lots of allergy shots. To this day, I have to look away when I get a shot, and especially if I need an IV line. Needles still upset me.

My very first specialist tried valiantly to convince me to try acupuncture for pain relief. I would not. Not just because of my ‘needle-phobia’, but also due to there being a lack of acupuncturists in my area. Fast-forward nearly fifteen years and I had no trouble finding a good acupuncturist within an hour of my very rural community, and in the same state as my residence.

I’ve been going for nearly two years now. I started to see her just about the time my mother began her battle with cancer.

Through acupuncture we’ve been able to:

  • reduce the frequency of my allergy and asthma attacks dramatically
  • been able to ween me off medication for my fibro-related pain
  • been able to ween me of medication for my bladder related pain
  • avoided more cortisone shots for my Morton’s Neuroma
  • reduced my carpel tunnel pain dramatically
  • been able to ‘drain’ my sinuses and ears
    ⇒ I have suffered chronic sinus and ear problems since my early childhood
  • been able to help me avoid muscle relaxants and opiate-based pain medication for my degenerative disk disease

Now ironically, my insurance would have covered the cost of me seeing ‘their’ acupuncturist, a two-plus hour drive into another state for me. When I called them and asked if they would cover the one I had found, forty-five minutes and within my state, they gave me a rather difficult time.

I finally asked the woman I was talking to: “Do you even understand what a two-plus hour, both way drive, will do to someone that is suffering through severe fibromyalgia related pain?”

Her quite ‘*itchy’ answer was: “well, we cannot guarantee coverage if you won’t go see an acupuncturist we approve.”

I hung up. And people wonder why those of us that live with chronic conditions don’t ‘advocate’ for ourselves enough. You get sick of dealing with the clueless, faceless, mindless, entities that sit behind desks and worry more about profits and numbers than they do the people behind those profits and numbers. Add being sick to emotionally ‘getting sick of’ fighting for ourselves…well. We just plain give up sometimes.

The good news is that my medical flex spending account will cover the cost of my weekly visits. It comes out of pocket either way, but I can get it reimbursed. That helps, as sometimes I have to be sure a reimbursement is on the way before I go again.

At one point I was responding well enough that I was able to ween down to every-other week. I hope to be able to do that again in a few months. We seem to finally have made some progress in reducing my neck-pain.

And once again I want to talk about my diet. I have been feeling awful. I really did not want to do another round of elimination. And this time around I had a suspicion about what is wrecking havoc and causing such a drastic inflammatory response. Red meat and cheese.

I had let too much of both creep back into my daily diet. I now only use a bit of butter. And have drastically reduced meat. I rarely ate fish or turkey, so no biggie. Almost no ‘processed’ meats because I learned years ago to avoid them. Only grass-fed local pork, beef, lamb, and chicken. I have eliminated almost all meat from my diet. I’m feeling better.

I am having a hard time seeing my dinner plate in particular without at least a small meat portion, so I’ve started to use a bowl! But this too shall pass. I am so very familiar with adjusting my diet that this has been one of the easiest adjustments I have ever made.

I do wish I didn’t have to avoid goitrogenic and nightshade foods. I find my diet to be very limited sometimes. Again, this too shall pass, as I learn to make more vegetarian dishes.

~Amy

 

 

 

 

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