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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cup O' Suck (Fun with Needles, Part II)

Yesterday was one of the more interesting days I've had in a while.  I had my second acupuncture appointment with Dr. Li as complementary treatment for my Graves Disease.  My resolve was strengthened this week when something I read reminded me of why I'm pursuing alternative treatment and lifestyle to improve my health  They wrote that the thyroid is the victim of this disease, not the culprit.  If you destroy or remove this vital organ from the body, the disease will find another organ to attack and it's often the eyes and rarely, the skin.  I know this is true and I realize that the affects of this disease would be compounded by destroying my thyroid.  Dr. Li says that most of her Graves patients that come to her have the bulging eyes and seemed surprised that I did not have them.  I would be willing to bet that 99% of those patients have had Radioactive Iodine to kill their thyroid.

In the week since my last appointment, I've felt less fatigued and foggy than I had been feeling for the couple of weeks before my first treatment, and looked forward to my second treatment.  I've been drinking lemon or lime water first thing in the "morning" to help give my liver and kidneys a head start each day upon the recommendation of both Dr. Li and Jennifer, my health coach through my Integrative Nutrition program.  Such a simple thing and it took me until now to discover this!

I arrived for my appointment and sat again with Dr. Li.  She felt my pulse, looked at my tongue and then brought me into the room.  This time she started with five minutes of cupping.  I know what it sounds like, but litigation will not be necessary.  Cupping is actually a method in which suction is created in certain areas in order to stimulate energy flow along certain acupuncture points or meridians.  In the link above, you can see pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow and a Chinese olympic swimmer with cupping marks.  I thought mine looked pretty cool & I showed them to everyone yesterday.  I even took pictures of my own back, which is not as easy as you might think.. even with a mirror (as evidenced by the first photo).  Here's what mine look like:

I have to say this was a painless procedure.  She left the glass bulbs on me for about five minutes and then said:

     "you have looooootttt of toxin.  this help pull toxin out of body.  drink lot of water today."

Then she started with the needles.  Oh boy.  There were a couple of tricksters in this batch..  She began with the bottoms of my feet again and I'm fairly sure she went deeper this time because she asked me to cough each time she drove the needle into my foot.  Again, the rest were relatively painless except for the inside of the back of my knee which almost tickled more than it hurt and then the very bottom of my lower back, maybe the top of my hip bone/gluteal muscle, was very uncomfortable and difficult to describe.  It mostly hurt when she put it in and then I got a couple of shooting sensations through the half hour I lay there, mostly when I breathed too deep that my body moved.  She said this was also an adrenal point.

As I lay there, face down with about 30 needles in my body, I once again began meditation.  I had a big ol' coffee on my way there, so I found that I had to talk myself out of a little anxiety that started to creep in, but this was not difficult.  As I relaxed, I noticed that I started to expect something awesome to happen like last time with the hands.  It didn't take long for me to forget that and just breathe and become present.  I couldn't breathe as deeply this time, as I was on my stomach and when I took a very deep breath, my back expanded and the needle in my adrenal point would send a sharp reminder that it was a part of me at this moment.

My breathing became shallower and I felt myself in that delicious space beneath the thin veil of unconscious at varying depths for maybe fifteen minutes.  I became more awake when my back became extremely warm, as though surging with energy.  The heat extended up to my head and I felt I would sweat a few times even though my toes were chilled from the air conditioning.  Granted, there was a very dim heat lamp above my back, but it was the same one that was above my abdomen last time and I did not feel this kind of extreme heat.  It came on suddenly and intensely and lasted for about ten minutes.  I could focus on nothing but my back (just as I could focus on nothing but my hands last week) until I heard someone's foot drag behind me and I thought perhaps it was time to take the needles out, even though did not hear the door open.  After a few minutes and the sound of feet shuffling a few more times behind me, I realized that no one was in the room with me.  I almost said "hello" but I knew no one would answer back.  I won't deny that a small amount of fear began to well up, but then the room fell empty and other noises encompassed the space until Dr. Li came in to remove the needles.

After my session with Dr. Li, I met up with my new-ish friend Larkin, but that's a story for another day.  Three hours of awesome conversation later and tomorrow I'm going to go to her Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who does this hand analysis thing that's been passed down for generations that only about ten people in the world do.  I'm a little fearful about what he's going to tell me regarding my health, but awareness can only contribute to healing, while denial and fear are only destructive.

Love and gratitude to you all for coming with me on my quest for health.  I will post pictures soon of all of the wedding favors I've been working on this month.


steveschifini said...


I don't have anything witty to say here, just stay well.

Joanna said...

I quite enjoyed your journey to another plane in Dr. Li's office. Thank you for sharing and bringing me along. Sounds a little nerve wracking and also uplifting all at one time.