My name is Jessica, and I'm not going to shut up anymore.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In need of some needling.

I'm traversing new ground. New possibilities. Hopeful outcomes.

I'm getting acupuncture on Friday.

While I have yet to try it out, I've heard that acupuncture is a valid form of pain management therapy for those who may suffer from chronic and/or bouts of acute pain. In my case, I have both (bad) bouts of acute pain from my jaw/upper back muscles and lovely gnawing pain that I have yet to combat in my lower, right abdomen (a place that is the constant source of endometriosis pain and, coincidentally, endometrial growth). Nevertheless, I am very much looking forward to getting "pricked" and "prodded" at a doctor's office! Let's call this a "first" of sorts in this regard.

I'll be getting my acupuncture consult and therapy at Gettysburg Holistic Health Center. As I spoke to the founder Lynn Roby on the phone today to make my appointment, and came to find out that Lynn is a survivor of a rare and deadly phenomena: a brain aneurysm. She has published a book entitled From Darkness to Light: my journey back from a brain filled with blood which I may get to after I finish Joan Halifax's Being With Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death.

After speaking for almost 10 minutes with Lynn, while I don't know her personally, she revealed that she started the center due to having chronic, constant pain from having had serious brain trauma. As the operation center of the body, I can only imagine the kinds of headaches and body aches that she had to suffer through to get where she is today. She mentioned that yoga, acupuncture therapy, and a diet & lifestyle change truly helped her overcome her chronic pain symptoms. I am hopeful that someday I can say the same.

But for now, I have to admit that I'm kind of bummed that I still suffer from pain. And my attitude towards pain is becoming increasingly...well...depressing? After this last bout of therapy with my TMJD specialist, his recent relinquishing of his services to me in the midst of a terrible "flare-up" of face and head pain, I feel very desperate and lost. Sure, I have meds for endo which may help my head pain go away. Okay. Let me be honest: the ONLY pharmacological therapy that has helped is a combo of valium & percocet. So I admit to sometimes (over-dosing?) on my Tramadol just to keep my head pain in check. And I'll be even more honest: this is NOT good. Not good at all.

So in a moment, this week, of desperation, I decided a few things: 1) to call a TMJD specialist at a teaching hospital (UMD). 2) To start acupuncture therapy. 3) To keep up with Physical Therapy I guess as long as I'm allowed? 4) To keep up my bi-weekly deep tissue massages. 5) To start chiropractic adjustments on my back/upper spine to see if this helps alleviate some of my symptoms.

I know that TMJD and endometriosis could not appear to be more different, as the affect different parts of the body. But really when you think about it: it all comes down to inflammation, irritation and radiating pain. What does this sound like? Endo, hands down. So I'm taking another step towards healing my WHOLE body rather than just parts of it at a time. I am very hopeful that creating a relationship with the Holistic Health Center will lead to further lifestyle changes. Perhaps someone can help me more with anti-inflammatory diet changes? Who knows. But just from talking with Lynn briefly, mentioning that I'm starting to be more involved with local support networks, she was kind enough to offer her facility for a future meeting for the Central PA Endometriosis Support Network. Wow! What a nice offer up front before meeting someone! Thus, I guess it's nice to know there may be a place to host an in-person meeting for those of us who are in the Gettysburg area.

The point of this blog is to announce that I am--FINALLY--listening to Dr. H and looking at holistic healing methods to integrate into my therapy. While some folks adhere to a purely holistic lifestyle and others to a Western practitioner's lifestyle, I would like to allow for both East and West to meet, to work together. I am looking forward to healing my body, to getting back to the old, "in shape," healthy, happy and active Jessica that I knew not so long ago.

One thing that many people don't have to think about is how much having a disease, an affliction, a health problem (whether it be long or short term), really does affect your life and how you live it. You make plans, decline plans, work, don't work, vacation, postpone vacations, based on how you feel each day. It's really a day-to-day battle. (Wow, now that I think of it as a "day-to-day" thing, I feel a little bit more relieved!) While day-to-day means that I have to get through this day, perhaps it means that tomorrow might be better? I always like to be hopeful, and I know that days awaiting surgery are torture-like. At least, for now, I am looking forward to this Friday. I'm looking forward to physical therapy tomorrow and to Friday's combo chiropractor/acupcunture date. I also look forward to seeing how I feel on Saturday and possibly seeing what additional "tips" I can pick up from either physician about dealing with chronic pain. They say your lifestyle depends on how you style your life, how you live it. Well, right now I think I'm only doing the bare minimum to keep living--not to improve it. Perhaps this experience will propel me to seek beyond expections, just like I do in every other aspect of my life. Either way, I'm hopeful. And sometimes hope is all you need.