Monday, May 04, 2009

Sarah's Adventures at the Witch Doctor

So for those who aren’t in-the-know, last week was a really tough week for me. I started to get really itchy irritated skin. By Tuesday I was miserable. I kept waking up at night feeling like my skin was on fire. If I scratched it, it would get 8 times worse. I called my doctor, who had me come in to take a look at it. She said that I was having an allergic reaction to the pregnancy, a condition called PUPPPs. (PUPPP stands for some ridiculously long, impossible to pronounce medical jargon). It is more common in pregnancies with boys, and there is research indicating that the allergic reaction is tied specifically to the male fetal DNA. The only way to fix it is to have the baby. Otherwise, you can use a myriad of over the counter stuff that doesn’t quite work, oatmeal baths, cold showers, etc. Because mine was so bad, my doctor put me on a pretty hefty dose of steroids. I have really been trying to do this whole pregnancy thing as natural as possible, so I was really disappointed to have to take this step. At first, when I would take the pills, my little guy would be super active, and then crash. This weekend, I have definitely noticed that he wasn’t moving as much. He did move – just not as much as normal. Being on the drugs also makes my pregnancy higher risk, because there is no clear evidence as to what it does to babies. It can stunt their growth, or make them grow too much. I will have to go to the doctor more often to check on that – if I stay on them! The steroids have made me feel significantly better however and life is miserable without them, so there is a lot to weigh out. I am 29 weeks pregnant and still have so far to go before he can come out.

In discovering that I have this, I have scoured the internet for alternative remedies. Historically, I am all for the powers of modern medicine. I have never considered trying a more holistic approach to anything. Ever. So, this was a first. I knew that chiropractors can take care of allergies, so I tried that first. I called a lady in town that is known for fixing odd issues with pregnant women. She didn’t seem to have much of a clue about PUPPPS, so I opted not to go. Meanwhile, a friend was visiting an acupuncture office that treats pregnant women, and she had asked for me if they had treated anyone with PUPPPS before. Sure enough they have and with great success, and even just finished seeing one woman through the duration of her pregnancy. She sent me a note right away letting me know what she had learned, and I made an appointment for the soonest they could get me in.

Today was the big appointment. It was a 2 hour event where the Doctor (using all my efforts not to put quotations around the word Doctor right now. Funny for me to consider an acupuncturist a doctor!) took a full look at my medical profile. He asked all the usual questions plus a few strange ones like "Any recurring nightmares?” and “Do you have any cravings?” I am perfectly healthy outside of my PUPPPS, so that didn’t take too long. I really felt at ease because he then explained to me what PUPPPS was, and everything he said was in line with what I had read about it. He really understood what was going on, and felt confident in his ability to treat it. Then he felt my pulse. They have 3 places on each wrist where they can feel for the strength/weakness of your vital organs. It wasn’t just “ok you have a pulse. You are alive!” I think he felt something on my right wrist like my lungs or spleen or something. I wish I had asked what it was!

After that, he had me get settled laying down, so he could get on with the treatment. This was the really interesting part. He started off by having me lay with my right hand open at my side. My left hand, he had me raise up in the air, and hold my hand stiff with my thumb pointing down towards my big toe. He then asked questions to my subconscious. Some questions were asked aloud, and some in his head. After he would ask each question, he would apply pressure to my hand, trying to push it down, and I had to resist. Whenever my hand would give, it meant “yes” to his question. Whenever it would stay stock still, it meant “no.” The questions were around if I was open to the treatment, if it was ok for him to treat me, what my symptoms were and what parts of the body were effected, etc. They were things that I inherently knew, but no kidding, my hand and the resistance thing answered each question perfectly!

Once we got that part overwith, he moved on to the pressure points part of it. The course of treatment he chose to do was a combination of an allergy program called “naet” (pronounced “nie-et”) plus a small amount of acupuncture. Naet focuses on pressure points, and acupuncture is the part with needles. So the naet came first. There are 10 main pressure points in the body. He basically set about applying pressure to each one in clockwise order, starting and finishing at my right wrist. A full minute is spent on each point. He had me hold a jar in my right hand while he did it that held a vial that had some of the allergen in it (or a simulation of it anyways. I am allergic to my baby boy. Doubt he has that in a jar handy!). He also touched on some additional pressure points that connect to my vital organs. From what I understood, it kind of re-set my main body systems with an extra dose of the allergen around to try to tell it it’s ok to have that substance around. After the pressure points part, he did 2 needles in each hand, and 2 needles in each foot. He dimmed the lights, and left me in there with the needles for about 20 minutes. They had soothing music, and it was super relaxing. I couldn’t help but fall asleep for a bit!

After that, it was all over! I have homework to do now that I am done. For the first 25 hours, I can not touch my belly. The reason why is that when they do this allergy treatment on most people, they can avoid the allergen (like don’t eat peanuts for 25 hours if that is what you are allergic to). The baby is a part of me, so the best I can do is to not touch my belly. Apparently, your palms absorb a lot of information, energy, whatever, so don’t exacerbate things by touching my belly. After tomorrow afternoon, I can touch it all I want, so it isn’t forever thank God! I also have to repeat the applying pressure to the 10 pressure points every hour, on the hour (except for when I am sleeping). Then, once the 25 hours is up, I leave things alone and see how I feel the rest of this week. I go back in for a follow up appointment on Saturday.

I am interested to see how this all turns out. I have read from numerous accounts of women who have done this therapy with success, that when you are in this initial 25 hour period, your symptoms can get worse before they get better. The side effects aren’t really clear. It depends on the person. It is doing weird stuff to your body, really! Every time I have done the pressure points exercise, the baby is moving around like crazy! It was such a relief after having a few quiet days when he didn’t do so much. Clearly, this is doing something. I also felt really high and good this afternoon. Then as it got to be early evening, suddenly life got dramatic, and I have been super emotional for no good reason at all! Chris is hiding out in his man cave in the basement and I so don’t blame him!! I am starting to feel itchy and am wondering what kind of a night I am in for.

Well, I have 3 minutes until I have to do my next round of pressure points, so I had better sign off. I will post the progress. Thanks for reading!


Anonymous Lizard said...

i used to get acupuncture all the time and it helped so much!! sounds like you found a good one to go to as well. some of them are wackos.

i would go now, if i could afford it. sometimes i'd go in there and say that i felt really full (my stomach has a condition that makes it move too slowly) and she'd put a needle in a certain place and my stomach would growl like a lion and then i could actually feel it wake up again and i felt better. it is amazing stuff.

6:53 AM  

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