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Suddenly This Tunnel is Quite Bright...

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:46am
Or, to mangle another aphorism, today might just be the most important day of the rest of my life.

I have found a doctor that didn't blow me off and actually found a way to show quatifiable proof that I really am sick and that I'm not a hypochondriac or a mental patient or making a mountain out of an anthill. Who knew this was possible? He's primarily a chiropractor, I found out today, but he's been specifically treating Fibromyalgia patients for more than 20 years and has a fabulous success rate as well as a comforting bedside manner.

Last month his office had sent me the longest new-patient worksheet I've ever seen, and they still asked me about 5 pages more of questions when I got there; who knew they'd actually want the patient to tell them where it hurts? When the nurse learned that my husband was there they invited him to come back to watch my treatment and ask questions. When I explained that, among other problems, I had been suffering from migraines, they * gasp * took x-rays. The nurses performed several other tests, too, such as 1) a thermal image scan, taking my body temperature on either side of each vertebra to look for inflammation; 2) took my blood pressure lying down and then standing up to test the function of my adrenal glands; and 3) gave me instructions to do a more foolproof thyroid test than the traditional blood test. Then, and this is the real shocker, they explained what they were testing for and what the results meant. The doctor sat down with us for 30 minutes or so to give us specific details about my prognosis and to explain the treatment procedure. Then they actually started my the treatment right away. I didn't get any shots or blood tests or heavy-duty medicines with harsh side affects, though I did walk out with 5 natural remedies (with names of proteins, vitamins and enzymes that I remember from my biology classes in college) and a new pillow.

Is this place real or a dream? (And what do you mean I sound sarcastic?)

The results of my tests proved what I already knew, but they taught me more about my condition and my own body than I expected. I didn't know, for example, that a person with Fibromyalgia has malfunctioning adrenal glands--you know, the ones that make adrenaline. The simplest test they did, reclining blood pressure versus standing blood pressure, was enough to indicate that mine aren't working right. How? Simply this: when I stood up, my blood pressure dropped, when it should have gone up.

I also learned a lot more about inflammation today. I should have recognized from previous knowledge that inflammation increases body temperature, but previous doctors led me to believe that there wasn't actual measurable damage in the muscles of Fibromyalgia patients. Okay, so inflammation isn't actually damage, but it can indicate the presence of something wrong. The thermal scan, which was simply a surface temperature taken on the right and then the left of each of my vertebrae, was able to indicate exactly which areas of my neck and back were inflamed, and it matched where I felt the pain. The x-rays backed up these findings: he found 3 misaligned vertebrae in my neck and 2 in my lower back which were so obvious that even I, with no medical training whatsoever, could see them. Amazingly, the misalignment in my neck, which he said was about 8 to 15 years old and showed indications of arthritis, could likely cause Migraine headaches.

The only thing I can't figure out about that, though, is what exactly happened 8 to 15 years ago that could have screwed up my neck. I know when I hurt my back, but that was earlier, about 19 years ago now. I can't remember any accidents or major injuries from this period, which encompasses my last year of college and virtually all of my animal career. Then again, with the number of times I banged my head on the top of a cage trying to catch or evade an animal, it could have seemed relatively minor or repetitive at the time.

After we ran out of questions, the nurses set me up for the first of 10 detox treatments. I've heard of cleansing treatments or fasts, but I'd never heard of anything like this one. But oh, it was wonderful yet kinda scary and disgusting at the same time. I sat with my feet in a bath along with an ionizing machine which pulled heavy metals, toxins, medicines and other "poisons" (my word, not theirs) out of my body through the pores. I love soaking my feet, so it felt wonderful, of course. Thankfully they warned me that the water would turn colors from the crud leaching out of me before I saw the rusty brown it became by the end. The wierdest part was that, before they told me definitively, I knew that these toxins, etc. were coming from my liver--I could feel it, and I've never noticed any sensation from that part of my abdomen before. From the residue, the nurse could tell that some was also from my gall bladder. That amazed me, but afterwards I learned a few of these employees have been working with this doctor since he first opened his office, so it makes sense that they know their stuff that well. I also got a chiropractic adjustment (one of several I'll receive) and got to hold the rods on an odd machine that's supposed to help relax me and relieve the aches (I couldn't tell the difference).

The medicines they sent home with me are really natural supplements with sensible purposes: one is a multivitamin; another will help me create serotonin so I can sleep; the third will help my currently malfunctioning digestive system; the fourth is to help replenish my adrenal glands; and the fifth will help with the inability to think, the FOG, that I've been dealing with for so long. Additionally, he gave me a cervical pillow that will help correct the lack-of-curve that currently exists in my neck. I also have to check my temperature for a week before I get out of bed in the morning so they can see how my thyroid is doing; increase my water intake; make sure I eat 3 meals a day; and limit my sugar intake (to none if possible). Oh, and he prescribed baths in epsom salts 3 to 4 times a week--what a hardship.

I'd like to say I feel better already. Mentally I do. Physically, however... My back and my neck hurt from the adjustment, which is normal, and I did get a migraine when I got home. The next few weeks will be a learning experience for me. I'll have to do a great deal of scheduling just to make sure I take my new medicines on time. If all goes well, I should have my energy back, but I'll have to make sure I don't over-extend myself and set aside time every day for my own health.

I think it is safe to say that when my leave officially ends on the 25th of May, I should be alive and well again and ready to go back to work.
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