My posts have become infrequent in recent years but the years have not been uneventful. After my partial gastrectomy, I gradually learned to adapt to my new anatomy and recognize the signs that my body was losing it’s “balance”. When needed, doctors would intervene with medication but I have always sought the subtle signs of imbalance and the gentlest, most natural way to realign. Prescriptions are often more like heavy artillery and come with their own side effects that need further adjustments. Over the years, I became skilled at using magnesium, DGL licorice, ashwaganda, coconut oil, milk thistle, molybdenum, and variety of herbs and supplements to naturally maintain my “balance” while trying to minimize the use of pharmaceuticals.
When the tumor in my stomach was discovered in October 2007, we also discovered that I had a benign cyst on my liver. It was not something that needed to be addressed but we kept and eye on it over the years and measured it whenever I had a CT scan. Over the years it gradually grew and my gastroentrologist instructed me to let him know if I ever felt any discomfort in my right upper quadrant. In July 2014, I woke from a nap and felt a dull ache and did as I had been told. An ultrasound revealed that the cyst was now quite large, 11 cm x 10 cm x 9 cm and it need to be “deroofed”. The top would be taken off and it would be drained. The surgery would be done laproscopically and I would go home the same day.
I was in the skilled hands of the same surgeon who did my partial gastrectomy and the surgery went well. I had some mild chest pain in recovery so they kept me over night and sent me home the next day with a Jackson Pratt drain that would remain in place for the next several days. They removed enough fluid from my cyst during the surgery to fill FOUR Starbucks GRANDE cups…Yikes!….that’s one big cyst! The convex bulge that had been just below my sternum was now a normal concave shape…and I was on my way to recovery…
…until…three or four days later my body started to completely shut down. I was weak, in pain, and could barely function. Family rushed me back to the hospital and after excruciating x-rays of my abdominal cavity it was discovered that I had developed two bowel obstructions post-surgery. The surgeon had to go back in repair the bowel obstructions and I spent an unexpected week in the hospital and six weeks off work. It took months to recover my strength and now, more than a year and half later, I am still struggling with trying to find that same “balance” in my gut that I had prior to the liver surgery. The same “tricks” that I would use prior to the surgery no longer work and for last year and a half I have had a difficult time maintaining a regular bowel pattern. I’ve had some other health issues as well, which I’ll discuss in other posts, and the financial resources can only stretch so far…so I’ve struggled along trying to find that balance again. I haven’t been terribly “off”…just not quite where I want to be….
A couple of weeks ago, with other health issues now under control, I decided to try acupuncture to address the imbalance in my digestive system. I’d had remarkable success with acupuncture for insomnia in the past and I knew that if I went to a “western medicine” doctor, I’d get my 10 minutes to discuss my symptoms and a prescription to alleviate them. That’s not what I want. I want a body that is working as optimally as possible so that it can function properly and deal with whatever comes its way. Allopathic medicine has its place, of course, and has served me well…but, there is also much that can be gained from complementary and alternative medicine (I’ll have more to say about this in future posts).
After just one acupuncture treatment I am pleased to report that while not yet perfectly normal, my bowel function is much improved. I have three more sessions scheduled in the next three weeks and I am looking forward to further improvement.
Coming soon: Posts about iron deficiency anemia, adrenal fatigue, frozen shoulder, rosacea and chalazion, osteoporosis, and perhaps even a seizure update! LOL! The fun never ends…but, for the most part….life is good and all is well!