Thursday, May 10, 2007

Needles Used to Bother Me

After several months of living an almost "normal" life, nagging little problems with my necrotizing nemesis have nudged themselves back to the surface and are demanding more of my attention. Lately I've been distracted by a little problem called peripheral neuropathy. This problem is certainly not unique to MS...folks who suffer with diabetes and other ailments often encounter it, as well. It's the source of that "wet washrag" feeling in the legs, mostly, and my arms, some.

I know I could probably hide the worst of the symptom by resuming the high dose steroid treatments that were suspended in December. But the thought of getting a gram slug intravenously once a month again is not as appealing as it once was. Don't get me wrong...high dose steroids cover up alot of problems and made me feel like I could conquer Goliath with a watergun while blindfolded but they were starting to cause some other, sneakier problems like high blood pressure and weight gain. I was pushing 200 lbs. last November. Now I'm back to the 175 - 180 range...and my clothes fit better.

Anyway, I started studying a non-traditional medicine option...acupuncture. I had my first treatment this morning. It's expected to be a couple or three weeks before we can be sure if it might relieve some of the most aggravating and distracting pain.

After more than two years of more than 1" deep injections and 2" deep intravenous sticks, these little pin pricks were nothing...especially on my left side where sensation is greatly diminished anyway.

The acupuncturist is a precious little woman of difficult to determine age who is retired from teaching at our local college. She has a Ph.D in molecular biology. About a decade ago, she tried acupuncture in a desperate attempt to avoid major surgery to relieve pain from a back injury. In spite of her initial skepticism, it brought her great relief. She decided to study Chinese medicine and became convinced that some of their techniques, which seem quite bizzare to us well heeled occidentals, can be helpful in some cases.

Since completing her study and becoming certified to practice, she has built a word of mouth practice in one room of a local chiropractor's office. The environment is utterly professional looking. With the organized and thorough presentation style of an experienced college professor and with gentle, almost grandmotherly, hands, she took me through the first of what we expect to be about six weekly attempts to rein in some unruly nerve responses.

We'll see how it goes!


Preacher Mom said...

I hope it works!

I am becoming more and more discouraged with traditional medicine and its "here, take this pill" approach to everything. Yes, I thank God that pills are available when needed, but I am convinced we are missing out on a lot by not using a more holistic approach.

I started Anna with a chiropractor recently. She calls it "Asheville in a house" because of its, um, unique feel, but we are seeing some improvements already. Just hope my family doctor doesn't find out! (Joy either, for that matter!)I'm really not in the mood for the lecture!

Morris said...

As the son, brother, and brother-in-law of "traditional" doctors (all three pediatricians, one of whom teaches at one of the top medical schools in the nation), I hold a high degree of respect for traditional medicine. That being said, I also understand that the treatment of symptoms by non-traditional means is in many cases efficacious. The anecdotal evidence is irrefutable. Whether then non-traditional means just unlock some of the more mysterious capabilities our Creator has placed within our fearfully and wonderfully made jars of clay or whether there is something deeper going on is beside the point. If it helps, it helps.

Charles, remembering how you used to bounce into class in seminary, I'm praying for success.