I have very little time to write as I am soon expecting my cousin and her family to show up for dinner. Roasted chicken, home baked Mac and cheese, corn on the cob and biscuits, in case you were wondering. 🙂 But I couldn’t take the chance of forgetting to share this, especially since I’ve been hearing round about the internets about how bad this allergy season already is for many of you, as it is for me.
About six weeks ago I caught an annoying cold that settled into my left ear and the left side if my head deep up in my sinuses. No runny nose, but pressure and congestion that just refused to go. I was very close to giving up about four weeks in and going for antibiotic, but right about then it eased and went away. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and here I am again, left ear crackling and left side of my head filled with pressure. Started to wonder if perhaps I am dealing with allergies rather than a cold.
Went to Acupuncture on Wednesday for the first time in two months for what I call a “tune up.” When my body is buzzing with tension due to stress, I hit my Needle Man up for a little balance. One or two treatments and I am idling back down where I’m supposed to be. He asked me how I’ve been sleeping and I said pretty good, though casually mentioning that the night before was rough due to sinus congestion. To my surprise he said, “I’ll work on that too.”
“Wait….you do sinuses???”
So in we went. He popped a few needles into my left leg and asked, “Feel anything in your ear?”
He popped in a few more needles, “How about now?”
“My ear is crackling.”
And with the satisfaction of one who knows he’s on track, said, “OK…let’s see what happens,” and left me to relax, looking like a voodoo doll.
Thirty minutes later, my left eye began to run tears like a waterfall, my ear popped clear, and post nasal drip made me start to cough like crazy…so much so that I had to alert him I had to leave so as not to disturb the other voodoo dolls in the room. He smiled knowingly and unpinned me, leaving me to spend the next hour at home blowing ten tons of crud out of my head. My ear and sinuses have been open and clear since. Abso-freakin-lutely AMAZING!!! I feel as though I’m on an antihistamine, except with none of the weird side affects.
That man and his Magic Needles are a miracle to behold. If you are suffering, I urge you to give Acupuncture a try. I am a skeptic turned believer.
For a Community Acupuncture Clinic near you, click here.
For more information on Acupuncture in general, click here.
Well, would you look at what came to my email inbox today! Thought it was interesting that this should come from my Needle Man the very day after I wrote about him. I share it with you here…
It is easy to get wrapped up in everyday woes…the overwhelming laundry piles, the job stresses and workloads that don’t let up, the sibling arguments that grate on your last nerve, the house projects that clambor for attention you can’t find the time to give them, the health problems that force you to slow down, or even stop for awhile. Not to mention family obligations, and what we see as community obligations. We often let others define what we “should” be doing.
You “should” have a clean house.
You “should” go visit your grandmother.
You “should” go to work even though you can barely crawl out of bed and face another day.
You “should” cook dinner.
You “should” do that laundry even though everyone still has plenty to wear.
You “should” exercise.
You “should” do a blog post because you set a goal for yourself.
You “should” take photos because you know you enjoy it, even though you can’t strum up the energy for creativity.
You “should” go to Church.
You “should” run to the grocery store.
Our lives are so cluttered with things we are doing because we think we “should” and our bodies are revolting. When your Soul loses its way, your Mind takes over and decides to run the place. It works very hard to get your Soul’s attention, and it is not kind in its methods. It packs on the pounds, it makes you crave every food that is not good for you, it forces your body to an unhealthy place, it brings on depressive thoughts, all in an effort to grab your Soul’s attention.
My personal journey toward wellness (I am not quite there, but I am moving forward now with only a few steps backwards now and then) has taken me from frustration to awareness. It has forced me to dig deeper in order to heal. I have had to relinquish some control…control over my house, control over my family, control over my body.
My Needle Man says there is always something you can DO to heal yourself, and that sometimes the thing you need to DO is Nothing. Nothing in the true sense of the word. How many of us take time to do Nothing? Try it sometime. It is nearly impossible. Even if you sit still in a quiet room, your mind is racing. And what is it racing with? The “shoulds” and the “worries.” My biggest challenge when I began Acupuncture was being “quiet.” Sitting in a recliner, awake, eyes closed. At first I couldn’t even close my eyes. I would watch everyone around me in a state of relaxation and wonder about why they were there, or I would watch the lights dangling from the ceiling, swaying in the soft breeze and count the rhythm. I would read the quotes on the walls and try to decipher the Chinese characters on the wall hangings. When I finally was able to close my eyes, my Mind would race considering all the things I should be doing instead of sitting there for an hour. I would go down my list of worries and contemplate them and chew on them. I would spend time cursing my sciatic nerve and my back and my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and think of all the reasons why that diagnosis could not be true.
Then I made a change. I wanted to shut out the cluttering thoughts so I began a routine of saying The Holy Rosary. It was repetitive and a distraction from other thoughts. Still not quiet, still not Nothing, but at least it was a respite from the Noise. But over time things began to shift. I began to notice stillness, and quiet. I don’t know when it happened, but it did. One day, I left my session realizing I had thought of nothing during my hour. I hadn’t fallen asleep, but I had gone to a place of silent meditation…Doing Nothing. And my body began to respond.
My Mind finally grabbed my Soul’s attention, and my Soul is back in charge of Me. I am becoming tuned in…when I am upset, the nerve speaks. When I am angry, the nerve speaks. When I am tired, the nerve speaks. And then I give in to the need to Do Nothing. I force the “shoulds” away, and take the time to be quiet, allowing healing to come in.
I’m working on spending time doing things I “want” to do, along with the things I “need” to do. “Shoulds” are out the window. And as I unclutter my life of the shoulds, I am noticing that many of those shoulds have realigned themselves as “wants.” I want to go visit my grandmother, I want to go to Church, I want to take photos and write blog posts. I still don’t “want” to do laundry, but even that has become a “need” rather than a “should.” It’s a dichotomy change, and it’s healthier.
And here I am, feeling good, feeling happy, makeupless, contactlensless, and totally content.
“If you could clear all that space in your mind, you would have a doorway. And you know what the universe would do? Rush in.” – Richard Jenkins (Eat, Pray, Love)
Don’t ask me where that title came from. It popped into my head out of nowhere and insists on staying there, so stay it will.
So, it has been one week since I restarted Acupuncture treatments in earnest, and have hesitated posting about them because I keep waiting for the setback to happen. But, I suppose it’s time to tell my story.
My first experience with Acupuncture came about 5 weeks ago, when I was better, but not really. I had plateaued in my recovery, my insurance company had kicked me out of PT, and I was managing to get through my days with gritted teeth. I had even begun to walk a bit more, and felt that I was climbing at a snails pace toward betterness. That’s when I went to Acupuncture the first time. I told you all about it in this post. The very next day, I experienced my massive setback which led to the MRI and pain meds, yadda yadda yadda.
So here I was, four weeks later, and reentering the realm of Acupuncture as recommended by my Doctor. Meds have kept me functional, but no one, including my PT, seemed to be able to understand why I wasn’t improving. So off to the Needle Man I went last Tuesday, frightened to death of another setback, but very nearly at the end of my proverbial rope. I explained what had happened to me last time I had a treatment. He cringed a little and said, “Yeah…I think I did that to you.” He had warned me at that first appointment that things might get worse before they improved, however, being a skeptic, I really thought my setback had everything to do with my overdoing it, not with those little pins he had stuck in me. Apparently there is something called a “Healing Crisis.” You can read about it here. This is what I believe happened to me. And of course, in my panic, I left Acupuncture behind (not thinking I could even SIT through an hour long treatment) and went the way of pain meds and more tests.
So, after explaining that the same thing could happen again, but should it, I was to return to him immediately for more treatments, we forged ahead with my first of a series of treatments last Tuesday. Pins in, I tried to relax. Within ten minutes my body started twitching. First a little twitch in the bottom of my foot where the nerve usually shoots out. Then my thigh, then my other calf, then my butt cheek…then my face cheek, then my stomach…soon I felt like every muscle in my body was twitching. It was a tad unsettling, but my Needle Man assured me it was a VERY good sign.
I woke up Wednesday with the usual stiffness and shooting nerve pain, nothing worse, and by Noon it left me. It did not come back. Not that day. Not Thursday. Not Friday. I had another treatment Friday. I wanted to kiss his feet! More twitching, though less than the time before.
The nerve pain did not return Saturday, nor through the day Sunday. I even dropped my afternoon doses of pain meds Saturday and Sunday, did a little shopping, did a little vacuuming, pretended for the weekend that I was a normal person. And the pain returned Sunday night full on.
I was discouraged, but not surprised. I woke Monday with a quiet settled nerve once again. At this, I WAS surprised.
Then Monday’s treatment…he says my body is re-learning how to heal itself. And he says flare-ups will happen throughout the process but each flare-up should be less intense and last a shorter amount of time. He likened it to a Rubiks Cube. The first time is extremely difficult, nearly impossible. But each successive attempt is easier and easier. Your body recognizes the problem, says, “I’ve seen this before—I know how to deal with this.” And it does.
Today is Tuesday, and I am virtually pain free. Every now and then the bottom of my foot wants to pinch, but I am taking it as a little reminder not to vacuum. Maybe next week I will make an attempt to wean off those pain meds again.
The skeptic in me keeps waiting for the treatment failure…for the day I can say, “See…it didn’t work.”
But the new believer in me is amazed at this wonder treatment that has begun to give me my life back, and has me wanting to run out and begin Acupuncturist Training so I can bring this miracle to the masses.
I will keep you posted. In the meantime, I am off to continue balancing my Qi, one day at a time.