Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Bottom Line

I wanted to add this last bit to my previous post, as this is what I really believe is going on.
  • I truly believe the body can and does heal itself.  However, it can't do it very well when it also has to deal with things in the body that are wrong.  Until I correct what is wrong within my body, I will not see the kind of significant improvements I am hoping for.  Fix what is wrong, and then the body can devote all its energy and resources to healing the damage that's been done.
The bottom line is:   Have the CCSVI procedure to fix the vein issues so that the body can then utilize everything I'm already doing (diet, supplements, acupuncture, physio, massage, etc) to heal the damage!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Moving Forward

The past week has been an interesting one for me.  I attended the Global CCSVI conference that was held last Sunday/Monday and was able to listen and reflect on what a number of the presenters had to say regarding CCSVI.  A huge thank you to the volunteers from the National CCSVI organization for putting together such a fabulous event.  For me, it came at just the right time...I was feeling quite discouraged about my health, and this conference, along with what I've been doing with the acupuncture, has totally reinvigorated me to push forward!

I'm feeling as if there's been a shift in my thinking and that another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place for me.  Whatever it is, I welcome it and would like to share some possible connections/questions/comments I have been making this past week.
  • The TCM 'intervention' seems to be helping.  In the past week, my entire lower leg has actually stayed fairly warm to the touch, a thing unheard of the past few weeks, nay...months!  I have actually gone up to my husband and said "feel my legs, feel my legs"LOL .  My feet haven't been ice cold either.  That hasn't translated into any big changes in the stiffness/numbness of my feet, but I was able to drive around town and feel safe doing that's pretty good.
  • My acupuncturist/TCM doctor has me on some Chinese herbs to support my kidney and liver.  Last week she also added another herbal powder (Si Ni San) which is referred to as a frigid extremeties powder to help with the circulation of my blood.  I find it very interesting that the TCM doctor believes the worsening of my symptoms is due to poor circulation and connects it with my kidneys/liver Qi.  The reason I find this interesting is that the renal vein is now being checked during CCSVI procedures...which begs the question, Is there some connection between the renal vein and what the TCM doctor, my massage therapist AND my reflexologist are saying is poor circulation/flow/blockage in my legs?
  •  My CCSVI procedure only involved the IJV's...not sure about the Azygous and I know the renal, iliac, and interior/exterior cava were NOT checked.  This begs 2 questions: Do I have problems with the veins that haven't been checked (current data suggests that 70% of people with CCSVI have issues with the Azygous) and Have I possibly restenosed (current data suggests that 80% of patients restenose within 18 months)?
  • I think CCSVI is more tangible a condition than MS.  Therefore, I don't believe there is such a thing as MS.  MS is just a convenient label that neurologists have put on a wide variety of symptoms.  
  • Listening to Dr. Code and his struggles with diet, makes me feel a lot better about how I'm managing with my diet.  :)
So, where does this all lead to??  Well, it looks like I'm going to have to have my veins checked for CCSVI again.  I'm leaning towards Vascular Access Center of Seattle.  Dr. McGuckin was one of the presenters at the CCSVI conference and I liked what he had to say and his enthusiasm for this procedure.  If there is any one out there who has had Dr. McGuckin perform the procedure on them, I would love to hear your thoughts/comments.  In the meantime, I will continue to keep the status quo.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I've really been re-evaluating these past few days what I'm doing as far as diet and supplements go.  Not being able to drive, or at least not being able to drive safely, has scared the 'bejeebers' out of me because not being able to drive has so many implications.  Foremost is not being able to drive to work (I have a 50km commute) and just the lack of the sense of freedom that driving brings just leaves me feeling scared.

So, I've been doing a lot of re-reading of books that have been helpful to me in the past and looking at health articles on the web.  One thing I wanted to share was Dr. Andrew Weil's "Seven Strategies of Successful Patients" from his book, Spontaneous Healing.  In it, he identifies 7 common strategies that patients who experienced spontaneous healing used.  They are:
  1. Do Not Take "No" For An answer
  2. Actively Search for Help
  3. Seek Out Others Who Have Been Healed
  4. Form Constructive Partnerships with Health Professionals
  5. Do Not Hesitate to Make Radical Life Changes
  6. Regard Illness as a Gift (that's a tough one)
  7. Cultivate Self-Acceptance
 I also want to share this website, which I have found to be helpful, especially during those times when I am feeling discouraged.  It also offers a free e-book entitled Healing MS: A Hero's Journey.

It's hard to stay positive when your body doesn't seem to want to cooperate, despite your efforts.  But looking at your situation with a 'glass half empty' view doesn't help you at all.  So the only choice left is to continue fighting for and searching for the thing or things that will help you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

TCM Intervention

I was feeling really frustrated this past week, as I was beginning to think that I may be having a relapse?  Haven't had one since the CCSVI procedure, don't really want to believe that's what it is...but the evidence seemed to be pointing in that direction...right time of year, sudden worsening of numbness in feet/legs, very cold extremeties, and increased spasticity in my legs which has made it very scary to drive at the moment and has me wall walking/wall bouncing a lot of the time!  Aargh!! :(

I went to my scheduled Acupuncture appointment yesterday, hoping that I would find some relief/help.  Now, I've been seeing Vanessa regularly for about five months now, mostly for Acupuncture, but we've been introducing Chinese herbal remedies into my 'healing regime' the past couple of months.  Yesterday, when I told her I suspected that I might be having a relapse and gave her my reasons why I thought that, she immediately went into what I now refer to as 'triage' mode. LOL

According to Vanessa's explanation as to what was going on with me, I was NOT having a relapse (yeah!!) but a reaction to the change in weather.  (We've been having colder weather this past week...hmmm....coincidence??....not according to Vanessa!)  Because I already have problems with blood flow (in my legs), when it gets colder, the body needs to work a little harder to maintain blood flow, especially in the core (trunk area), and everything constricts which results in even poorer blood flow to the extremeties...hence increased coldness, numbness, and spasticity in my legs.

She immediately went to work with the acupuncture needles and then had Antonella, another practitioner, do moxibustion therapy on my feet.  It was weird having both of them working on me...I jokingly commented that I felt like I was in emergency, to which they replied, "this IS an emergency, we need to get your blood flowing!"

Moxibustion or 'moxa' for short, is an interesting therapy.  Moxibustion is applied indirectly (a few cm from the skin) using sticks with compressed moxa. (Chinese herb).   In traditional Chinese medicine, moxibustion is used on people who have a cold or stagnant condition.  (Cold feet and poorly circulating blood?...  I'd say I qualify.)  The burning of moxa is believed to expel cold and warm the
meridians, which leads to smoother flow of blood and qi.  

After my treatment, I was sent home with my own moxa stick and an herbal 'tonic' (which I have to mix with water,  drink 3x/ day, and tastes absolutely disgusting!).  I have to use the moxa stick on my feet 3x/day as well.

I like the moxa stick, the warmth of the stick on the bottom of my foot is soothing, although I have to be careful not to keep it in one place for too long or too close, as it starts to get VERY hot!

Is it working?...well it's only been a day, but my feet have not been as icy cold as they were and I think, just maybe, that I'm moving around just a wee bit better.  Only time and a little moxa will tell!