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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Adventures in acupuncture

Yep. I took the plunge and gave it a try. When I informed Allison that I had made my first appointment, she said, "So, are you going to have to lie on a bed of needles or something?" Apparently she was under the illusion that I was joining the circus rather than trying a new infertility treatment.

After some research, I decided to make an appointment with this acupuncturist. I decided on her for a few reasons:

1. She is certified by the ABORM (American Board of Reproductive Oriental Medicine), which I found out thanks to a tip from a newly pregnant friend.
2. Her practice is close to my house and to my office.
3. Her website was written in plain English.

These standards seem easy to satisfy, but you would be surprised by how many places I ruled out based on number 3 alone.

Regardless, to say I was nervous before the appointment was an understatement. I was worried that I was going to get there and decide everything she told me was a load of crap. I was worried that the needles would hurt. I was worried that it was going to be a waste of money. I was worried that she was going to make me eat or drink something strange. And most of all, I was worried that we could unknowingly be taking a step in the wrong direction.

Brian and I prayed before I went inside to the appointment that God would make it abundantly clear to me in that first visit whether or not that was the right next step for us. And thankfully, within minutes of meeting the practitioner (affectionately nicknamed "Needle Lady" by my clearly open-minded sister), there was not a doubt in my mind that I was exactly where God intended me to be.

For starters, I honestly think half the advantage she had was the fact that she is a woman. I have always had male doctors and never had an issue with it, but in my dealings with our fertility specialist, it has become painfully clear to me on a number of occasions that no matter how smart or empathetic they are, men will never quite be able to grasp the issues women deal with.

She asked me a bunch of questions, and (get this) seemed legitimately interested in my answers. Based on my recent interactions with Dr. C, I was a little gun shy in bringing up the issues I had noticed with my temperature charts and luteal phase, but not only did she not dismiss me, but she agreed with me that they were worthy of concern and, believe it or not, seemed to be interested in helping to fix them.

What surprised me was that she actually knew all of the science behind my issues- I was expecting to walk in, have her do some kind of strange chanting and rain dancing, poke me with some needles, and then send me on my way. Imagine my surprise when she mentioned actual medical terms and was able to explain what was going on in my body in a way that I actually understood. And the point when I really knew we were a good match was when she actually made a joke about my ovaries, saying that they were currently functioning like a sweat shop- it's amazing what a difference a little humor can make when you are spilling your guts about your mind-numbingly frustrating medical condition(s).

And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, she was encouraging. When we were talking about PCOS, she said at one point (while literally beaming), "I know you hate it, but I LOVE PCOS!" And by that, she meant that she has taken a lot of interest in it and enjoys the challenge of "rehabilitating" patients that have it. She didn't guarantee that we would end up pregnant, but she seemed very optimistic about our chances and thought it was not so much a matter of "if," but more a matter of "when."

I promise I am going to stop raving soon, but I also appreciated that her approach was more directed at the goal of getting my system back in working order rather than just helping us get pregnant. Yes, the goal is for us to have a baby, but more importantly, I would like for my body to function properly without requiring chemical assistance. What a novel concept!

Ok I'm done now, I promise.

Oh, and to answer your question, no, the needles didn't hurt. It was just a quick poke (or 10) and then I didn't feel a thing. I did keep my eyes closed the whole time, however, because watching them stick out of me weirded me out.

I'm going to have to go in twice a week for the first month or two until my body starts to get back on track. Our plan for now is just to try this on its own and see what kind of results we get. If, in a few months, we haven't made much progress, then we'll consider adding in other medical treatment in conjunction with it. And I'm sure many of you will be happy to hear that we will most likely be trying out a different specialist if and when that happens, because we have just about written Dr. C off at this point. Sadly, that means no more stories about Robot Nurse or Nurse Goldfish, but I'm sure you'll get over it.

So that's where we are. I'll be sure to keep you posted, no doubt with an amusing story or two to keep you entertained along the way.

Thanks for the 8 millionth time for your continued support and prayers!

PS- For all of you Words with Friends fans, the word "Qi" was used on several occasions in one of the pieces of literature she gave me. Nice to know the word doesn't exist solely for the purpose of getting rid of a 'q,' right? :)


Amanda McD said...

Glad your appointment went well and the "needle lady" made you feel better. Bring on the baby!

Courtney Squillante said...

I am so so so so happy for you! What a nice change of pace to feel optimistic and hopeful and to know that is where God wants you to be! I will be praying fervently that this is the answer! And I'm not gonna lie, I'm so excited that you are considering another doctor/practice. I just want to punch those people every time you write about them... Thinking of you!

Brittnie said...

Yay for acupuncture!! I am so happy you were peaceful and excited overall about the first appointment. I clicked on your friend's blog that you linked to in this post and I agree with her that the acupuncture brings down the stress level while also allowing you to feel in control of your treatment, in a good way. Excited to hear more about your adventures with the needle lady!

The Blogivers said...

I'm going to say something I never thought I'd hear myself say: yay needles!

Kate said...

Yay Acupuncture! I never thought I would be so enthusiastic about needles and nasty herbs, but it has been such a positive experience for me, and I'm so glad your first appointment was equally positive! I found my Yoda to be so willing to answer all my "silly" questions and really take my concerns into account - something we don't always get from our MDs. I hope you continue to enjoy your time with Needle Lady!

Stevie McCartney said...

Oh I'm so happy for you!! I did acupuncture and had great results. It's so nice to get out of that Dr's office and talk with someone that wants to talk with you about this stuff. Yay!

Steph said...

this is great news, amanda! ps - i am also a fan of 'qi'... gotta have all those words memorized!

Risa said...

Yay! So great to hear!! And I agree with everyone else...what a refreshing change of pace. And I love that Qi is on that website's homepage...glad to know the meaning after using it so much!

Chrissy said...

Yippee!!! Still praying!! And I am a "Qi" fan. Perhaps it would make a good baby name someday soon? :)

Allena said...

I am constantly amazed at your stories when your doctor/nurses blow you off - I am very happy that if you need to seek medical treatment again you will go with someone different. Too bad the 'needle lady' can't do that too - she sounds perfect!

Erika said...

Maybe you can ask Needle Lady if she wants to go to med school and become an RE and then SHE could be your dr!!! What a brilliant idea.

Brittany Sciba said...

Sooo happy that it was a positive experience for you!!! Love you!

Kelly said...

So happy to read this! Your mom told me on Monday how happy you seem about this new approach! Yay!