Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Acupuncture" AKA "I'll Try Anything!

My friend who went through her own breast cancer journey 4 years ago and is a survivor, shared with me that she went to an acupuncturist the day before her chemo treatments and she never experienced severe nausea and vomiting.  So, after 2 treatments that left me with severe nausea, I finally decided to follow her lead.  So this is story of my visit with an acupuncturist from which I was very pleased and hopeful as to the results of her treatment and the natural remedies she suggested for coping with cancer and chemotherapy.  By the way, insurance doesn't cover this, but I think it will be worth every cent of the $87 I spent on my health and comfort.

Here is a definition of acupuncture and acupressure that I got off the internet:

The comprehensive principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and the ancient healing techniques of acupressure and acupuncture for relieving pain are based on energy pathways called meridians. An acupressure point in one part of the body can send a healing message to other body parts through meridian pathways. Just as blood vessels nourish the body physically, meridians circulate healing energy to all systems of the body. Applying pressure on acupressure points, triggers the flow of energy through the meridian pathway, and benefits the area at a distance from the point’s location.

As an acupressure point is held, the muscle tension yields to the finger pressure, enabling the fibers to elongate, blood to flow freely, and toxins to be released and eliminated. Increased circulation also brings more oxygen and other nutrients to affected areas. When the blood and bioelectrical energy circulate properly, the body has a greater sense of well-being.

Use prolonged finger pressure directly on the point; gradual, steady, penetrating pressure for approximately three minutes is ideal. Each point will feel somewhat different when you press it; some points feel tense, while others are often sore or ache when pressed. How much pressure to apply to any point depends on how fit you are. A general guideline to follow is that the pressure should be firm enough so that it "hurts good" - in other words, something between pleasant, firm pressure and outright pain.
The middle finger is the longest and strongest of your fingers and is best suited for applying self-acupressure.
After an hour consultation on my medical history, the acupuncturist finally got down to brass tacks - or maybe I should have said silver needles!  She had me lie down on the treatment bed/table and inserted the needles at various points all over my body as I laid there with my eyes closed.  The needles did not hurt.  After she got them all inserted, she turned out the lights in the room and I rested my eyes for about 30 minutes as relaxing music was playing in the background.  After that, she removed the needles and placed trigger point beads, which she said were really seeds, at strategic places on my body for me to apply acupressure to during my next round of chemo to relieve nausea and vomiting.  She placed 1 on the inside of each wrist, 7 in each ear, 1 on my tummy, and 1 under each knee.  Guess I'll have a lot of rubbin' to do to cover all those places!

The above picture is of one of my wrists.  The little square bandaid has the seed under it.  Well, I am so paranoid about losing these before my chemo this week, that I marked the seed location with a sharpie so if if fell off, at least I would know where to rub because you don't have to have the see - I think.  Well, I did lose one of my seed bandaids so I then proceded to secure each one with a piece of surgical tape.  Now what do you think would happen if I took a shower or hot bath?  As my friend Dennis said, I'm probably better off taking "spit baths" the next week.  Wonder what the oncologist is going to think of all this? 

And just in case I lose all my marbles, I mean seeds/beads, I was made aware of the following bracelet with a bump on it at the wrist pressure point for people to rub when suffering sea sickness, morning sickness, or chemotherapy sickness! 

Karen also gave me some other instructions.  She wants me to get off the Nexium for reflux because it robs the nutrients out of food.  Instead I am to use raw apple cider vinegar - 1 tablespoon in water before each meal to help in digestion.  I can add honey for taste.  I bought some today and it sure looks nasty!!!  She wants me to drink 3/4 gallon of water a day and get off my poisionous Diet Cokes! She wants me to reduce my carb intake to about 80 mg/day.  This will be hard for a vegetarian that lives on sandwiches and pasta!  She thinks my knee problem is a result of needing a chiropractic alignment of my hips that are throwing my knee out of place when I walk.  I told her the latest on my knee is that the rheumatologist said I do NOT have pseudogout - no crystals were found in my knee fluid and I do NOT have osteoarthritis because my xrays were normal.  He has ordered an MRI and thinks I have a torn meniscus and will need arthroscopic surgery.  I think I'd rather have a chiropractic aligment!  Anyway, I'm going to try to follow her suggestions because they cannot hurt and seem to make good sense to get healthy.  She also told me to stay off sugar and fruits because sugar feeds cancer.  That one is hard!

I AM READY CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT #3 ON TUESDAY!  BRING IT ON!  (Prayers still requested by the way!)

PS:  Special thanks to my friend since first grade, Barbara, who is coming into town to take me to chemotherapy this time.  She is spending the night with me tomorrow night since we have to get off early Tuesday morning to get to UTSW.  We're going to have fun and eat pizza at The Mellow Mushroom tomorrow night!  My last normal day for about 8 days - or maybe not with all my new miracle cures in place!

PSS:  If you read this blog update earlier, you will remember I mentioned the acupuncturist and the health food store salesman sold me some herbal remedies - mushroom capsules for immune system, charcoal tablets for diarrhea, and slippery elm for nausea and vomiting.  Well, the oncologist about had a cow when I told her today at my chemo treatment #3!  She said NOT to take them would I would put my liver into failure if I mixed those with my chemotherapy drugs!  So, buyer beware when it comes to natural remedies during chemotherapy!  DO NOT USE THEM!