Friday, March 9, 2012

healing, part 1

I'm about to start planting in a greenhouse - a different greenhouse, but to me all the same. Just thinking about it gives me clarity. I love it.

It isn't about the competitive local businesses for me; I'm just there for the plants. Well, the plants and all else that goes with them - which includes the people. There are always stories with plants. I have a bit of a story, there's been a lot of plants in it (Baby Millar's Lady's Mantle, for one). I sort of wish I had written more over the last few years, I think it's a great way to purge emotion, heal.

I've been thinking a lot about a threat read on Facebook a while ago, I wanted to write a rebuttal, but just haven't had the time. ...which is probably a good thing, because I would have likely written hate-mail. Time has allowed me to think about my response(s). The thread began with an abuse on naturopathic medicine and acupuncture - calling them false and such. It was, contrary to the author's own words, a very biased and narrow view. Worse, it showed a complete lack of knowledge on the subject. Simple logic: if you're going to call something out - study both sides of the argument. Make sure you know what you're talking about, remove yourself then throw yourself right back in. (My Dad always said I should have gone to law school...) 

I have trouble with the comparison, the one or the other, all or nothing approach to anything. Broad views take it all in - take my photography, for instance. I like taking panoramas of places I'm in, then I throw on the macro zoom and look at details. There's a lot in between too. It really is impossible to see it all, know it all...but it is possible to try.

I've been sick since the summer of 2009, it's complicated, personal, and still difficult at times. I've been a lot better in recent months, in spite of a second miscarriage..., and feel even better just thinking about being in a greenhouse again. 
I could probably rant on and on about the problematic system that dictates our medical care in Canada - in Thunder Bay, Northern Ontario. Oh yeah, the doctor shortages - the fact my mother can be diagnosed with cancer and still refused a GP. I can complain about wait times, and crack doctors who ask two questions and make assumptions.

My doctor is fabulous. She cares, shows compassion, and is thorough - extremely. Without her I would have never discovered acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. She thinks the way I do, logically about biology, open to ideas, following common sense. She did everything she could for me - and in the end admitted that there are limits to Western Medicine when it comes to healing. 

I need to heal my heart, which relies heavily on healing my body. Which I think relies even more on Sarah, my acupuncturist, coming back (she's been adventuring, learning, photographing, and I can't wait to hear her stories). She is healing. It's difficult to put into words - I've referred a number of people to her recently and have tried to explain what she does (beyond the obvious), though it really just needs to be experienced.
I've seen other acupuncturists both here and in Australia (and he was one of the world's best!) and they don't compare. Sarah's knowledge far exceeds theirs, obvious by her treatment. "Sometimes I think she floats when she walks," She said that to me once about someone else, but I think it applies as much to her. (And I am lucky enough to know them both!)

I went reluctantly at first. Both my doctor and R were encouraging me to go, to try - see if it helped. I did feel quite desperate at the time, but wasn't convinced that anything would help - so why bother. In two years I had been diagnosed with everything under the sun, put on all kinds of wild pills, no one knew what it all meant, my symptoms worsened, the pain, the confusion. 
I didn't even realize how unclear my head was until it started to get better - which was one of the first symptoms that acupuncture healed. My short term memory was suddenly becoming stronger - noticeably to me, and I found that amazing. Months later - and after adding Tracey and her combinations of naturopathic supplements, I started feeling more steady on my feet, stronger when I walked - when I hadn't even realized I was unsteady.

I do remember back when the symptoms first began being at work one day - walking through the tunnels at LU from the Registrar's Office back to mine, and feeling the need to steady myself along the wall as I walked. It wasn't light-headedness as much as it was whole body lightness, tension, and pain. If that makes any sense.

But, when doctor and doctor (as in Western Medicine doctor) tell you their tests came back negative - I was forced to ignore my symptoms, convince myself as much as others that I was okay. I really wasn't, and I don't think I realised how sick I was becoming. Last summer's trip to Australia gave us a pretty strong indication that something was wrong, it was scary, and I never want to feel like that again. The pain was immeasurable. 
I sought acupuncture in Australia before anything else. Why? Because I knew it would help. I haven't been looking for a diagnosis for a long time - more than a year now...just relief. I want to feel like myself again, that's all I ask. No Western Medical doctor can help me with relief - unless I want to take pills for the rest of my life (and not just any pills, lifelong scripts for, no thanks.). That is not the answer for me.
Look what happened when I did end up in hospital in Australia: valium. And that is why I couldn't climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I am still pissed off about that.

If I could have packed Sarah in my suitcase I wouldn't have needed valium. I don't know how to explain it, Jay, but it works - acupuncture, that is. The acupuncturist I saw in Leura clearly diagnosed an infection - where, what, he didn't know - for that we do need blood tests provided by Western Medicine. My point being: it isn't a matter of one or the other, it's about what each can bring to the table. The potluck of care. The acupuncturist can heal and even cure my symptoms, the pain, and more, while the Western Med can be used diagnostically.

It was my Western Medicine doctor who sent me to see an acupuncturist in the first place. She herself had seen her, and been healed by the treatments. She recognised that she had reached her limit in treating me, and with my resistance to take narcotics, she suggested a solution. That, to me, is how medicine should work. Include with them chiropractors, massage therapists (Oh, Jo-Lynn you work magic!), naturopathic doctors, and of course Chinese Medicine. It's not a competition people.

My naturopathic doctor and I have a great relationship, wonderful conversations - which in themselves are healing, I think because I spend so much time thinking about how I'm feeling these days - she and R are really the only people I purge my thoughts too. Poor souls. ;) Again, like and including acupuncture, the naturopathic perspective is one that totally makes sense to me, viewing the body as a system - like a clock that needs every part in sync to keep perfect time. I found that with Western Medicine I wasted a lot of time seeing one doctor for this, another for that, no body knowing who was testing for what, waiting months for results. The naturopathic approach is simple, gently winds that clock.

What is the difference between the witch-doctoring involved with pharmaceutical companies, and the witch-doctoring of a Chinese Medicine doctor's herbs? Are they not the same thing, really..c'mon. I don't want to argue this silly point.

The difference I can tell you, from my personal experiences, is that the pills given to me from the Western Medicine doctors had strange names and no indication of what they are made up of. They made me fuzzy, woozy, probably hurt my liver, caused a lot of indigestion, and ultimately - did nothing to take away the pain and numbness. 
A week after starting herbal supplements from Tracey, I sat in front of Sarah nearly bouncing out of the chair, feeling great - awake again, alert, steady. We were both encouraged. For the first time in two years I thought, okay good - I am going to get back to me again. I think the worry over not ever feeling like myself again has overwhelmed a lot of the healing. I have had a few set backs...but, which each we (with Tracey and Sarah) try more herbs, more points, and with each I feel a little better, a little more like me. 

I'm not there yet, but I know I'm on the flip side of illness now. It took a long time for it to get me down so I don't expect to bounce right back - but lately, the bike rides, the fresh winter walks..I can feel it. I am steady again, and the pain is manageable. My emotional self will enjoy the greenhouse as much as my physical self. I have a broken heart and out of shape body. Two miscarriages in two years will do that to a woman my age.

There is nothing Western Medicine can offer a woman after a miscarriage that can, even in the slightest, compare to what acupuncture can do. Nothing. I struggled, it was horrible - in 2010, my body was so out of control, I felt out of control, estrogen surged, my blood was weak, my cycle was off. I have never in my life felt worse all over, inside, inside my heart, outside myself. It went on for months. ...until I started acupuncture. Without even expecting it, or knowing it could really help, within a couple months of acupuncture my cycle was back on track, my emotions were calmed, my blood was stronger, ..Western Medicine could offer me nothing - other than fertility drugs, surgical exploration, and anti-depressants.

I've met, and read the stories of many other women who have miscarried, we've all taken similar and different routes through healing, and trying to get pregnant again. There is no doubt that acupuncture is a widely used and highly respected treatment. Sometimes it has been a solution, sometimes it has been used in combination with Western Medicine (IVF) and been successful - either way, it has been soothing to the women who have used it, which is so important after such a physical and emotional trauma. Now, still recovering from a second miscarriage, Tracey and I have been on top of it, to get my system in order as quickly as possible, to not have to go through what I did last time, - by strengthening my blood by encouraging my liver and spleen to work a little harder, feeding them better, supplementing with herbs and vitamins in conjunction with acupuncture points...and it's working, already..and I feel in control of it. I highly doubt any fertility drug or anti-depressant could do the same.

It's about recognising each treatment for what it is, what it can offer - how different approaches to medicine and healing can work together to help an individual. Acupuncture can't heal my terminally ill mother, but it can heal her symptoms - which, to me, is what's really important. Western Medicine cures cancer with poison - acupuncture treats the symptoms of those poisons, and the cancer, and encourages the healthy systems in the body to give a hand to the parts not working properly. I don't understand how someone could confuse these two approaches.

I have that wonderful sense of nervous excitement; it's great. Excited to get things started, to get back into it, to breathe that wonderful greenhouse air. I just know that this is the next step in healing - there's just something therapeutic about greenhouse work, for both body and soul.

greenhouse scenes 
at Trevisanutto's

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