Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This Acupuncture Stuff Might Really Be Helping


Well, if you saw my last post, you know I had a really intense flare-up last weekend. Coincidentally, I had canceled my acupuncture appointment on Friday because I was exhausted from a poor night's sleep due to a sick child and because I wanted to be free for whenever we could get into the pediatrician. (Ellie is fine, btw. Just a tummy bug, which she kindly shared with me. :)

My next acupuncture appointment was Tuesday, and I wasn't optimistic that it would make a major improvement in my pain and energy levels. I've been doing acupuncture since late December, thanks to the generosity of my parents, and while I'd made small amounts of progress in becoming more functional and taking fewer pain meds, I wasn't convinced acupuncture was the source of the improvement. But I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and figured if nothing else, I feel better just feeling like I'm doing something since my medical doctors don't seem to be making much progress with my illness.

I did notice that after my appointment last Wednesday I was able to inhale deeply without causing pain. It only lasted a couple hours before the pain returned, but it was something that definitely was different than before my acupuncture session. And it was the first time I'd been able to do that without any pain since I got sick last June. It didn't last, but it was still nice to experience that.

Anyway, I told my acupuncturist my tale of woe from the weekend, but also mentioned what had happened last week. We did a bunch of needles, and I left the office feeling pretty much the way I felt when I went in, which was pretty lousy. At that point, I still had pain when I inhaled deeply.

About 30 minutes after the appointment ended, I again noticed I could inhale deeply without pain. Again, it only lasted a short time, this time about an hour.

Today, however, I woke up feeling ... better. Not great. Not even as good as I did a week ago before the flare up. But a definite, noticeable improvement in both my energy levels (which I would rate today as about a 3 versus the 1 I rated it on Monday) and my pain levels (which I rate at about a 7, down from an 8.5 on Monday).

I was able to cut back a little on my pain meds today, which makes me happy, and I wasn't constantly watching the clock to see when the next dose was due. (Although my pain did let me know very promptly when the next dose was due.)

So there's no way to know absolutely for sure that it's the acupuncture that made a difference. Perhaps I would have felt better today anyways. Perhaps the Plaquenil is kicking in sooner than my doctor anticipated.

And if it's just a placebo effect, I can live with that too.

Who knows?

But I do know that I'm going to try very hard not to miss another acupuncture appointment, even if I'm feeling like crap. Maybe even especially if I'm feeling like crap.

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