Thursday, 24 September 2015

Adventures in Acupuncture

Acupuncture is something I have been curious about for a long time. And this week I finally decided to go ahead and take the plunge.

The original reason I was drawn to acupuncture was for its healing benefits and its ability to increase circulation in problem areas. For the last 10 years I have lovingly referred to my left arm as my "chubby arm" and I often do my best to hide it in photographs. I developed Stenosis down my left arm as a complication from one of the wires in my ICD. I was on blood thinners for 8 months several years back to try to break up any clotting that may have formed, but there was no change. So my cardio team decided that remaining on the meds was unnecessary and the condition was simply deemed chronic.

Now admittedly, it is more of nuisance than anything else. And part of what bothers me is strictly an issue of vanity - my arms functions just fine, it just looks swollen, and occasionally will not fit properly in my more fitted and structured shirts. The swelling and inflammation varies depending on the day, but there is always a mark able size difference between my right and left arm. And acupuncture is always something I have wanted to try to see if I would be able to manage the inflammation on the left side.

After my miscarriage, I also read about the use of acupuncture to help restore your hormonal balance and stimulate fertility. And if I am being honest, this was the true catalyst that drove me to schedule my appointment this week.

Both my husband and I have additional health benefits through work to cover off the majority of the treatments. So I decided it would be worth a shot.

I had my first treatment session yesterday and I feel excited about the plan we have agreed upon. I went to the Barefoot Health Clinic. I was drawn to them because of their focus on women`s health. Dr. Doran felt that acupuncture was a great method to target both areas of concern and agreed that my research was sound.

I was able to have my acupuncture session target both areas at the same time. The first session was actually surprising relaxing. We use 3 needles in my left arm, 4 in my stomach, and 2 in my ankles. Once the needles were placed, they remained there for 20 minutes. It was not painful, but Dr. Doran did mention that I was much more relaxed than most first time patients. I am going to be receiving treatment once a week for the next 4 weeks to hopefully regulate my body, restart my natural cycle, and decrease the inflammation in my left arm.

I also have an appointment scheduled with an RMT on Friday for a Pelvic Massage. This is again meant to help increase blood flow and restore health/balance following my D&C.

At this point it is hard to say if this has made any difference at all. But I did feel pressure at the acupuncture sites for about 24 hours after my treatment - so it appears to be doing something. I realize this makes me sounds a little bit like a hippie, granola-eating, flower child. But I believe in treating health with a holistic approach whenever possible.

I also for obvious reasons believe in the power of science and traditional medicine (*cough* Robot Heart, Genetic Screening, Double Mastectomy *cough*). So I have met with my family doctor as well. He requested some simple blood work for me to ensure my thyroid is functioning properly and that my iron levels are okay. He also assured me that despite how devastating this all feels, I am just one of the many women who experience miscarriages, and I should not be afraid to try again.

Experiencing a miscarriage takes away some the joy of pregnancy. You are forced to face the harsh reality that it does not always work out. And the innocence of the experience is lost. It is easy to get swept up in that fear, but I am choosing to hold on to hope. When we are able, we will try again. And I will continue to pray that our rainbow baby is waiting for us.

For now, it just feels good to know that I am taking an active role in moving forward. And I am keeping the faith that there will be better days ahead.

Love Your (always hopeful) Favourite Darwinian Fail,