Monday, January 08, 2007

Where's My Chi and How Do I Know If Its Broken

M is going through a bit of a, um... change.

In order to appreciate the magnitude of this change, you need to know certain things about my wife.

1) She is very high strung. Seriously. She's like a spring that has been squished together and pushed down so much that if there's any kind of slip, it's boooiIIING an explosion of force. The best example I have of this is when she gets woken up. When many people are woken up nicely, say by their nice husband whispering their name and gently caressing their hair, they softly emerge from sleep and flutter open their eyes, making the transition from sleep to awake smooth and seamless. That's not how M rolls. No matter how gentle, how soft, or how sweetly I try to coax her from dreamland, she wakes up in much the same way that I imagine she would if I were to wake her up by poking her repeatedly with a red-hot branding iron.

2) She doesn't spend alot of time pondering the universe, or the human condition. She is very smart, don't get me wrong. She's just very practical. What's the use of contemplating the future of mankind and existentialism when there is so much laundry to do and the Buggins has done a crapper that is making the wallpaper peel?

3) Ever since she married me, she has been plagued with crappy health. I mean, most people in real life find it simply unbelievable and decide she must be making it up. Which she's not. Let's just review 2006 alone:

February 2006: Diagnosed with Idiopathic Larygotracheal Stenosis, or unexplained scar tissue buildup in her throat. The opening of her trachea was the size of a drinking straw. What causes such a thing, you ask? Good question. That's what "Idiopathic" means. It means no one fucking knows.

March: Undergoes tracheal resectioning surgery, essentially dismantles and rebuilds her trachea. 2 days intensive care, 7 days in hospital, another week with her chin tied to her chest by a string (!). Also can't speak for 3 weeks, or lift anything heavier than a glass of water. Try that. With a 1 year old.

May: She started having these terrible attacks of pain in her chest and stomach, like heartburn but 100 times worse. She looked like she was in more pain than when she was in labor. Run to the emergency room, they tell her it's heartburn and give her something (it doesn't work). Next night, back to emergency room. Scans, x-rays, MRIs, etc. They come back and say "Not sure what the attacks are, but we DID find some gallstones, and that MAY cause them, so we'll just go ahead and take that out". Gallbladder surgery ensues.

July / August: IUI to IVF Conversion. NEGATIVE.

August - I start blogging :)

August: We first notice Buggins' favorite game with her dolls is called "Going to doctor". Also, any time we get ready to put Buggins in the car to run errands, or go to the playground, she says "Going to doctor?" This makes my wife cry.

Sept / October: Painful attacks continue, about 1 every 14 days. Scariest things I ever saw. I wonder more than once if her life is in danger. M strips out all fat from diet, and eats next to nothing for fear of further attacks. Within 3 months, she loses over 15 pounds. (as an aside: She looks f'ing HOT)

Nov / December: IVF #2. Chemical positive. Miscarriage hits on Christmas Day. So painful she was curled up in a ball on the couch weeping right through New Years. And that was ON PAIN KILLERS.

January 2007 (I know, I said 2006 review but it's only one week of 2007) M has consultation with a Gastroenterologist, who examines her and then tells her these painful attacks are most likely reactions to STRESS. Dr. recommends (but will not prescribe) anti-anxiety medication.

So, that does it for our year in review. Ahh. Good times.

Now, I have enough experience with M to know that she has to discover something for HERSELF in order to believe it. I can tell her "30 R.ock" is one of the funniest shows ever, but she won't believe it and will not watch it. Not until she stumbles upon it on her own while perusing the contents of our T.ivo will she see the light. Then she will tell me about this new show she discovered called 3o R0ck.

I have said probably 50 times in the last 3 months "Hey M, you know alot of my blogging ladies (as you are all affectionately known) are having good experiences with acupuncture. Maybe you want to consider giving that a whirl?" And depending on her mood, I have gotten one of the following replies:
1) Oh, sure, sounds good, maybe I'll get a facial too, and my nails done, and I'll go for a 50 mile run, and maybe have lunch with friends. Is it ok if I leave the baby at home all day by herself?"
2) I don't need some wacko sticking needles in me, I already have one wacko sticking Folli.stim in me;
And then there's the tried and true:
3) Go Fuck Yourself. (I get this one fairly frequently)

Now, I'll get to the "change" that I have noticed in her. I don't know exactly when, or how this happened, but she stumbled upon a book called "Inconceivable" (which I'm sure many of you have already read) and she devoured it. It was like some kind of light bulb went off in her head. Then she read more, and found a book called "The Cure for Infertility" which is all about acupuncture and "Chi" and various other eastern medical things. She reads this stuff non-stop now. And when she's not reading, she's talking about it. I think it's safe to say these books have changed her life as much as any book possible could.

I believe in eastern medicine, even though I know nothing about it. To be more precise, I believe that western medicine is seriously flawed, so I give the benefit of the doubt to any alternative. They've been doing eastern medicine for thousands of years, and we've been doing IVF for , what, about 30 years? Hmmnnnn....

To put it mildly, M is very excited, more excited than I've seen her in years. Really. She is taking real interest in this, and she is seeing an acupuncturist and Dr. of Chinese medicine next week. She is determined to get her body "right" and to rid herself of all the illness, negativity, drugs, and stress that have built up in her body in the last few years. She's talking about taking MANY months off before cycling again, in order to accomplish this "cleansing". She says she is Taking Her Body Back.

I'm happy that she's so happy, and that she has such a worthwhile goal, and I am truly interested in where these journey will lead her. But I know that things are different now, and I'm not quite sure when we might be cycling again. If Ever.

Just so that I can keep up with her, can anybody tell me what my "chi" is? M tells me I need to work on it.


Lyrehca said...

Good luck with your wife's journey into acupuncture. I did it for several months while doing IUIs, and while it helped me relax, I stopped regular sessions when the last IUI failed.

However, my clinic offered acupuncture sessions before and after egg transfers, which I did. No idea what they did, but this pregnancy took and so far, so good.

Jen said...

what a coincidence, i'm starting acupuncture at a clinic that specializes in fertility, along with the tcm approach. i hope it works, i've heard a ton of great stuff about it. good luck to M too :)

A.M.S. said...

I think I know exactly what M was experiencing. Sharp stabbing pain right under the bottom edge of her sternum? "Spastic Colon" is all anyone would tell me. Apparently all of the stress I was feeling was causing parts of my intestines to spasm into little knots. They gave me some pills that did nothing. A lot of yoga, learning how to say "No" and a bunch of help from DH is about the only way I made it better. Given the causes of my stress at the time, kick boxing might have helped too. Pent up aggression? Me? Never. Hope M gets to feeling better soon. If it IS the same thing I went through, she has my deepest sympathies.

Amy said...

Well, I clicked on your "comments" to see if anyone knew what "chi" is...because I sure don't :-(. I'll have to check again later. Maybe mine is broken too.

SmarshyBoy said...

Many of the concepts emphasized in traditional Chinese medicine have no true counterpart in Western medicine. One of these concepts is qi (pronounced "chi"), which is considered a vital force or energy responsible for controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows through the body via channels, or pathways, which are called meridians. There are a total of 20 meridians: 12 primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, organ systems or functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow of qi cause illness; correction of this flow restores the body to balance.

GLouise said...

Good for Mrs Smarshy! Acupuncture did help me relax (until the acupuncturist started stressing me out about not drinking the awful herbal medicine).

My advice to Mrs. Smarshy is to ask for the medicine that she can insert into capsules ;-)

theoneliner said...

I don't know about acupuncture but i do know about yoga...the stuff rocks. When i take a yoga class ..I swear its like I'm something...I sleep way better and feel very peaceful.

Whatever 'medicine' she chooses...I hope she feels much better soon. Poor m. ; (

theoneliner said...

hee, hee. i meant to type "on something." Although, i am something...something really special.

serenity said...

I did acupuncture and herbs for about three months before IVF #1- went once a week. I will admit that I saw a great improvement in my cycles. And I felt freaking FANTASTIC the nights where I had the acupuncture done.

And despite what I now know to be a large uterine septum which was the reason for our chemical pregnancy, I did actually get pregnant when I was doing acupuncture. The rest of the time I've had BFNs.

Frankly, I think it's a wonderful idea that M is embracing this. Anything that helps is a good thing, in my opinion.

And if it helps manage her stress a bit more? Wonderful!

Jamie said...

I had to laugh... your description of M and how she is a "spring" and how she responds to being woken up... that is totally me. Maybe my "chi" is broken too.

I tried to read "The Infertility Cure" a few months ago but I just had time to skim it. Maybe I need to give it another look. Let us know what she finds out and how it goes for her. If she has success I will definitely have to motivate myself to follow her example.

Melissa said...

Ah, Smarsh, I'm glad that M has found something to be passionate about. I am much like M, and find myself so focused on the negative aspect of life b/c of IF-and the hubs had a hard time putting up with me while I worked through the emotions of IF...Finding something besides IF (even if she's doing it to prepare her body for IVF) to focus on is such a good thing. And, I'm crossing toes here hoping that the accupuncture, etc...solves ALL her medical problems-wouldn't that just be fantastic?

Rumour Miller said...

Taking her body back! I love that line! You go, Smarshy Girl!

T said...

Well hooray for 2007 finally getting here! It's gonna get better, I'm sure of it...

Best fixes I've experienced?
1) Studying Tai Chi and Qi gong, it restored my health & flexibility after nearly being paralyzed from spinal fractures from a car accident. Totally calmed my panic attacks too.

2) Gift of a weekend at some fancy-schmancy Ayurvedic spa where they detoxify you and give you hours of herbal oil massages. This was to heal after a partial molar pregnancy followed by 8mo of chemo and endless worry. Felt great and reset my body to get pg again.

3) Marrying the most supportive man who totally balances my Type A with his calm humor.

Sounds like your wife is off to a good start with you by her side and a new direction for healing. Oh, and my gut pain turned out to be a small bowel obstruction from adhesions after endometriosis and several surgeries. An exploratory lap fixed me up, pain was gone. A General surgeon did me more good than a therapist!

What works for you in this healing process?

soralis said...

Good luck. I hope both of you find some peace this year.

Pattycake said...

I tried accupuncture for my AU and it helped. I had no idea what to expect and I really liked it. It felt more productive to me than my counseling sessions when my AU first hit. Its like a spa treatment, therapy session and Dr. visit all in one visit. I found the positive attitude of the practioner, the way they listen and respond to you to delve into all of your personal symptoms and issues to balance you, to be very theraputic and helpful for me. Unfortunately my insurance covers counseling and not accupunture.

lola said...

Acupuncture is fantastic - it got me through two of my three cycles and I truly believe it had a lot to do with the success of this one. I even sent JMA to acu against his will !

I'm so glad that she's found something that she is really interested in and passionate about. I hope she enjoys acu as much as I did! It's worth the expense.

Shannon said...

Where have you gone, Smarshy? Will you ever come back?

Hope all is well with you and your family!!

A Tennessee Follower, Shannon

Shannon said...

Where have you gone, Smarshy? Will you ever come back?

Hope all is well with you and your family!!

A Tennessee Follower, Shannon

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