“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” ~ Edward Everett Hale
In the following guest post, Stephanie, a big supporter of this little lark, writes about her experience with Chinese medicine. When she was diagnosed with a condition called gastroparesis, she turned to a more natural approach to achieve balance in her life. I appreciate Stephanie opening up and sharing her story! Enjoy!
Over the years, I have grown to love and appreciate Chinese medicine in so many ways! In 2001, at the age of 21, my boyfriend (now husband) and I packed my Kansas bags and moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. What a drastic change of scenery not to mention culture shock. I was immediately impressed with the choice of “alternative” medicine. Having already gone through surgery and medications for endometriosis, I couldn’t wait to dive into a more natural approach to healing.
When I walked into my very first acupuncture appointment, I recall being anxious, not exactly knowing what to expect. An exotic smell (later understood to be moxa) filled the office and anatomical posters in Chinese lined the walls. I took a deep breath and put my trust in my intuition that this would help. After lying on the table and feeling the first few needle points, I immediately began to relax and melt into the table. I’m pretty sure a nap happened. This wasn’t so bad! Over time, after a series of treatments and a healthy dietary change, my symptoms alleviated completely. This, however, was only the beginning of my medical journey.
Digestion has unfortunately always been a challenge for me. In Chinese medicine terms, I believe I was born with weak “congenital jing qi.” [An aside from TLL: Congenital jingqi is what we are born into the world with. It exists from conception and defines what is passed onto us from our parents and ancestors.] At the age of 28 I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition that affects the motility of the stomach, preventing it from being able to properly digest food. There is no cure at this time, only treatment options such as medication, dietary restrictions, a gastric pacemaker and feeding tubes. As my world crashed down on me, I once again refused to only rely on what the Western doctors recommended.
Over the last three years, acupuncture has been an incredible relief to a majority of my symptoms, such as nausea, bloating, fullness and pain. It was especially helpful for anxiety while learning to deal with a chronic illness. I was feeling better and so inspired that in 2009 that I decided to enroll in a 3 ½ year acupuncture program located 90 miles south from where I live. Totally crazy, I know. My husband was completely supportive and willing to make the sacrifice of our time together for me to do pursue my passion.
The first year of education was the best I ever received. Studying with a qi gong master was priceless. Learning about the theories behind such a mysterious medicine, the hundreds of points on our bodies and how they energetically connect, not to mention practicing needling other students (and myself!) was hands down the most fascinating experience of my life. My body, however, did not agree with the passion and by the end of spring quarter it crashed. I learned the hard way that stress is a major contributor to the severity of gastroparesis. Over the summer I took a leave of absence and eventually decided to stay close to home and focus on taking care of myself. So, back to the acupuncturist I went. Within a few weeks I started feeling like myself again and continued to go often for a couple months. This completely saved me during a very difficult and painful time. She was so compassionate and her touch so healing. An hour on the table has done more for my symptoms than any medication ever did.
Acupuncture has made a world of difference in my quality of life. And, the healing is far more than just the application of needles. I have learned a new way of living; how to slow down and learn to find an awareness in all things surrounding us, as well as finding a deeper and more meaningful connection to the mind and body.
Thank you to this little lark for sharing all of your beautiful stories about the yin and yang of life. Your writing has been an inspiration for me and I am so happy to have discovered it!
*Here is a link to a great scientific study done on acupuncture and gastroparesis. This only further supports the power of acupuncture! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15510787