Thursday, October 23, 2008

To cup, or not to cup: that is the question

  • 3 and 3/4 years
  • 46 months
  • 1,391 days
  • 33,384 hours
  • 2,003,040 minutes
  • 120,182,400 seconds
This is the length of time I've been dealing with infertility. No wonder Grief and I are battling it out, and he is winning. Grief has the upper hand in this fight. I recently let him literally pin me to the ground to the point where I could barely breathe. I am done with that. I don't want him in control, so I am finding new ways to gain my control back!

My latest adventure lead me to a Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist. Yep, it sure did. I read a book that said when you are searching for an acupuncturist in your area, you should make sure they are listed with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. There were only two "doctors" listed in my area, and I knew of one of the facilities because I had received a wonderful massage there previously. I opted to go there, basing my decision on my one-time visit with them and the quality massage I received.

My initial visit lasted a little over two hours, and we discussed every aspect of my emotional & physical imbalance. The first visit with this lady was quite uncomfortable because I was asked to get completely naked (please don't try and visualize this) and lie face down on the massage table with covers on top of me. My Balancer, as I'll refer to her, proceeded to tell me about acupuncture and inserted the needles into different areas of my neck, back, shoulders, calves, and feet. In case anyone who is reading this has never tried acupuncture, let me tell you that I am not scared of needles but in most cases, I couldn't even feel the needles going in as they were being placed. There were a few instances where I felt a sting for about three seconds, but it went away very quickly. After all the needles were in place, she turned the lights down, played some soothing music, and told me to relax for a few minutes. I nearly feel asleep I was so relaxed.

When she came back in, she removed the needles and asked if she could try a procedure called "" on me. Now, let me give you some background- I was diagnosed with sc0li0sis when I was in 3rd grade. It is now severe scoliosis. I never wore a brace, but doctors wanted to perform a half-million-dollar surgery to put a rod next to my spine to straighten it. Not even a chance! But as a result of the scoliosis, I have seventeen or so vertebrae that have little to no padding between them. As you can imagine, my sc0li0sis gives me severe headaches and major back pain. Anyway, back to my story...My Balancer asked me if she could do this procedure on me, and I asked her what is was for and what it involved. She told me it was for chronic pain. It is a procedure where glass jars are lit on fire and placed to create a vacuum that pulls the skin into the jar to help separate the muscle; it also helps with circulation. Why not? I couldn't see anything since I was face down anyway?

My Balancer warned me that the suction from the jars could leave marks on my skin for a few days, and the ones that were the most red were areas where the was helping the most with pain and circulation.

So, I'm going to post a few pictures. If you are easily grossed out, these pictures might not be for you, but I wanted to show you what the end result looks like because it really freaked Babe.

*These two pics are the day the actual was done. The spots under my bra straps on either side are actually pretty tender right now, but those are the only ones that have been that way in the three times I have done this.

*This picture is two days after the was done.

And no, those are not perfectly round hickeys. Ha!

So, to finish my story, after the jars were removed and the complete, My Balancer asked me to flip onto my back and then proceeded with the acupuncture on my collar bone area, stomach, calves, and feet. I felt "lighter," if that even makes sense, but I wasn't sure it was worth the cost of the treatment the first time I went.

I have been to My Balancer a total of three times, and I am now hooked! It has done wonders for me- I sleep better, have less digestive issues, my back pain has been reduced drastically, I have less headaches, feel less stressed and I think it is also helping improve my attitude in general.

I will continue going as long as I feel like it helps. In the mean time: Grief, you better watch out! I am on my way back up and will soon be able to whip you with my hands behind my back!

"He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty." (Lao-tzu)


Photogrl said...

Cupping, wow. Hey, if it works...I say go with it!

I really enjoyed my acupuncture treatments, but boy, did it get expensive.

I KNOW you can beat Grief.


The Baker's said...

Thanks for the update, I will keep you in my prayers, as I know that you can beat the grief.
Wow, acupuncture I have thought about doing it myself, but I am to much of a chicken with needles going into my back. I am glad that it is helping you, reduction of stress and pain makes a difference you your life and attitude. Hang in there. Hugs

Rachie Pachie said...

That's awesome how the treatments have been helping with your sleep + pain! :)

The cupping thing IS kinda weird (LOL), but whatever works should definitely be pursued. If we ever get to do a FET, I plan to incorporate acu. For now, scheduling those appointments would be crazy for us.

Glad to see you posting again! I still just LOVE that picture of ya'll on the top right... something about it! :)

I Believe in Miracles said...

I'm glad the treatments are helping. Grief --- he better watch out big time!! I'm praying for you, hun.

Oh - and I'd totally be freaked out by those marks too!!

Tara said...

That is awesome! I have been going to accupuncture since February and find it sooo relaxing. It does get expensive, though. I am thinking of trying a new "accupuncturist" along with my new RE in January.

The cupping marks are kinda scary! But, hey, if it works! I am glad you are feeling better. And, I KNOW you can beat Grief. He's a bastard....


Nichole said...

That is awesome! I am so glad you are finding some relief with acupuncture! Maybe I will have to do some research on it as well!

debbie said...

Good to know that the acupuncture is helping. And yes, I would also be freaked out by the cupping marks.

Danielle said...

So that's why you were asking questions about minutes and seconds. :)

I am so glad you're feeling better and that the acupuncture is working. I know you've been through a lot of grief, but I know in the end there will be joy. I just do.

Thank you for being here and for being such a wonderful friend.



Shelby said...

Wow. Looks painful, but as everyone is saying, if it works it's all good. I mean, hey, most of the things we do for treatments leave marks, too, so we shouldn't be strangers by now! I've never tried accupuncture, so I'm interested to hear more from everyone about it.

CTagsGirl said...

Yowzas! Thanks for sharing the pictures. I remember Gwyneth Paltrow had that done and then wore a strapless dress to an awards show and everyone was speculating as to what had happened. I agree with what others have said…if it’s helping you stay centered, keep doing it!

Glad you’re declaring war on Grief. It robs us of SO much living. Thinking of you. *hugs*

blessedmomto7 said...

Wow, I've always wondered about acupuncture, interesting.

I also know the pain of infertility.

Blessings and prayers to you!

Just Meim said...

I am completely in love with acupuncture. It totally relaxes me. I haven't ever gone for IF before, but I've heard miraculous things come of it. My acupuncturist actually uses these little clamps that look like mini jumper cables on me. Sounds wierd, but feels GREAT!

I'm glad that you are on your way up. It feels so much better than falling.

s.e. said...

I am proud of you for being so brave and open minded. I picture all the grief being sucked right out of you and left in the jars. I hope your hickeys go away soon!

InfertileMadWoman said...

Wonder if that works better then Prozac!!!!

Seriously, I am glad you found something to help you feel better!!

Hugs from the NC,

Lost in Space said...

Huge hugs. Grief is such a beast in this journey. Never knowing when he'll pop in or how long he plans to stay. Must be a relative of AF. Let's call him "Uncle Grief". (:

You are a fighter and I know you will win this battle. You'll win it for yourself and then go on to help others win it for themselves too because you are so brave, strong, and compassionate.

I'm glad you are finding something to help you through all this. I had seen similar pictures in my acupuncturist’s office and wondered how it felt. What a great release!!

Glad to see you back. (:

Just Me. said...

You know since our email, u've got me intrigued! I am still awaiting for my acupuncturist to return to ask her more about this cupping thingy.

Yes, it does look painful, but I don't know why the Chinese way of practicing medicine is as such. I'll explain, when I was dating my ex who happens to be Chinese, well, his mum used a Chinese spoon with some Asian medicated oil and really rubbed the living daylights out of my back whenever I had a fever, which is often. I have fever often cuz apparently, I have too much "heat" in me. So, I'll ask my acupuncturist about this cupping thing ok when she returns from her holiday.

Grief just sucks, honey. I hate grief for it zaps away all your positive energy, makes you feel down all the time, and you wonder if you'll ever smile again. But I know you will overcome this. It's hard, I know, but from our exchange of emails, I feel the fighter in you. And I may be far far and away but I'm here for you, 100%, WonderWoman... all the way.

I can't help but break out into a song. I know this sounds corny:

The only way is up, baby
for you and me now
The only way is up, baby
for you and me now


Evergreen said...

I love acupuncture too. I'm glad you are enjoying it. Cupping sounds interesting, and that's great that it is working.

You are a real inspiration to me, and I love reading your posts. :-)

Jill said...

Hang in there-the grief will become easier over time. You will overcome it!

LOL about the cupping. I had "spooning" done last Spring by an acupuncturist I was seeing. My back looked similar. I didn't feel much better and gave up acupuncture entirely a few weeks later after IVF#2 failed. Hope you find benefit from it!

Leslie Laine said...

Glad to hear that you're taking your grief into your own hands and trying to move past it. I totally empathize - some days are definitely better than others.

I was not a believer in acupuncture until my recent experiences with my own acupuncturist. I really feel like I've benefited from going to her, and I plan to continue. It's amazing what Eastern medicine can do!

Hang in there!

Kristin (kekis) said...

You go girl! Taking control is so powerful and energizing. I'm behind you 100%!

If I could afford accupuncture, I'd LOVE to do it - cupping & all. I've heard wonderful things about it from everyone who's every tried it out. That's great that you are feeling such good results!

Alex and Jill said...

I'm supposed to start acupunture as well (per my RE). I'm interested to see how it goes. Do you know how long before you start your IVF cycle that you should start the acupunture?

I remember seeing pics of Gwyneth Paltrow at some awards show several years back...she had spots all over her back and people were wondering what it was...they were from cupping. She evidently swears by it. It's neat to read your experience with it all.

I'm afraid that I will be nervous going the first time...happy to read you're having success from it.

Thanks for posting this...very informative!


Yoli said...

I came to this blog via Danielle's. It is painful what you are going through. I know, I've been there. Wishing you the best.

Tiffany said...

Wow, those are some crazy marks. I have heard of cupping, but not along with acupuncture. I wish my acupuncturist did it, I am HOOKED on acupuncture. Does the cupping help with infertility too?

Anonymous said...

Way to take control!! I hope the acupuncture is helping.