Time for an update…
So: after my last surgeon’s visit, I decided I was done with hearing the words “there’s nothing we can do” and “you’ll have to learn to live with it.” While I’ve been trying alternative routes to health all along through herbs, gentle yoga, and meditation, I decided I needed an expert on board. So with great expectations, I walked into the office of a lovely woman who practices both Western and Eastern/Chinese medicine.
I was greeted by potted plants, shelves of tea, herbs, chinese teapots and teacups, an invitation to don some comfortable slippers, and the presence of several wooden foot-massagers under the chairs in the waiting room; I was also given a cup of fresh, cool water to drink.
Xiu-Mei saw me for my first consult and her gentle presence was a balm in itself. She patiently took my history, and unlike every Western doctor I’ve seen, identified my battle with C. Diff. as the main cause for my present state. Every other doctor felt that since I had beaten the infection, it was now a non-issue, but Xiu-Mei felt differently. She considered not only the damaging disease, but the hammer-like drugs used to treat it, and the length of time I was on them. These were the very concerns that I have held for the past 2.5 years, and I felt for the first time that I was finally with a doctor who was on the same page.
Xiu-Mei saw me as a whole being, past, present, and possibility. She saw me as a body, energy, and psyche. Her questions touched on every aspect of my life, not just my physical well-being. In the end, Xiu-Mei saw a broken body and a stressed psyche. Her main concern was not just that my digestive system consistently malfunctions, but that my immune system can barely respond as it is supposed to. The strange hives, the scratches that refuse to heal, the bone-crushing fatigue and constant nausea – all this is related to my over-taxed immune system. Xiu-Mei also confirmed that I was on the right track by trying to eat a light Paleo/Crohn’s diet and cooking all my fruit and veg. Xiu-Mei also identified dairy, most grains, and dense foods as harmful. “You simply cannot digest a regular meal” she said. So seafood has become my best friend. Crab, ground shrimp, and light fish have become my main protein sources and most days, they sit in my stomach like a dream (compared to what I usually feel after eating protein). White rice is also a part of my diet; whole-grain or brown rice irritates my intestines too much. This may not be considered strictly Paleo, but my body really needs this carb source to battle the severe fatigue I’m struggling with right now, especially since other forms of protein are too heavy for me.
I’m still existing on one meal per day right now, but thanks to Xiu-Mei, I’ve learned to eat it in parts – 1/3 at a time, over three hours. This means I can make sure I’m getting a balanced meal, but my system only has to deal with very small amounts of food at a time. The rest of the day, I drink water and tea. I also take several Chinese herbs Xiu-Mei prescribed for me to rid my liver and body of the toxins still stored there from when I was on heavy antibiotics and pain-killers. The herbs also help my body to digest food. I’ve worked my way up to a high dose of probiotics, and take omega-3 fish oil to promote the healing and strengthening of tissues.
Xiu-Mei also uses acupuncture to treat me, and places an infrared heat lamp over my abdomen to draw blood flow to my digestive system. As far as pain relief goes, it works! After my last visit, I’m going to start a B-vitamin complex again since my intestines don’t seem to be absorbing those vitamins from food. I’m pretty sure I’m anemic again too, judging by my fatigue levels, and Xiu-Mei suggested I ask my Western medicine doctor to order blood tests to check my iron levels.
What impresses me most is that Xiu-Mei makes no bones about the fact that she can’t cure me, but in no way has she given up on me. She believes I can have a much better quality-of-life and that her techniques can help my system to heal and strengthen itself. She treats me as a complete being which is so refreshing – I can’t express how good that feels. She’s given me hope 🙂