Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The "Break" Pedal

I keep jumping on and off the IVF rollercoaster. I must love a thrill, because I wait until the car is at the top of the hill, looking straight down at the ground, and then I pull the brake. Or maybe I mean break. In any case, I'm a mean tease.

So here's my latest IVF escape route: on Monday, I had an appointment with a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner (Dr. M). She considers herself to be a life coach more than anything else, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I am very attached to my Western medical heritage. I was pre-med in college, until I decided passing out at the sight of blood was an undesirable trait in a doctor and moved on to something else. I've stayed somewhat in the realm of science, though, and I struggle to wholly accept alternative therapies.

But, at the same time, I'm really drawn to TCM - especially in the way that Dr. M practices it. Her philosophy (and that of TCM) revolves around the body as a whole. The image I have is of the body as an ecosystem, complete with rivers, mountains and valleys. If a river is dammed up at some point, the riverbed will become dry and desolate in certain places, and other areas will flood. Instead of pushing more water forcefully through the river (which will cause more flooding and stress on the system), she works to remove the dam and restore balance. (Well, that's my mental picture anyway.)

On the whole, she was really pleased with the lifestyle changes we've made thus far. She had some additional suggestions, many of which revolve around the lack of protein in my diet. (I've done well removing things I have trouble with, like sugar and gluten, but I need to focus more on eating foods that nourish me.) She also pinpointed a muscle in my abdomen that may be contributing to my cramps and the pressure sensation I always feel in my abdomen. I've been following her recommendations this week, and the pressure sensation is almost totally gone. I can't remember the last time I could say that.

The consult itself took two hours; C and I were really astounded at how accurately she was able to pinpoint additional symptoms and lifestyle details that I hadn't mentioned. Everything she said just made sense. Plus, she struggled with infertility herself, and a lot of her practice is from personal experience. I'm going back in a month to start acupuncture, and I'm really excited about it. C still wants to do IVF, so if this doesn't work on its own, I may be open to a combination approach. But for now, where IVF is concerned - I've hit the brakes. Again.

And the really shocking thing - I'm not only ok with it, I'm happy about it.

ETA: I should clarify, C is also really open to this avenue. When I said he still wants to do IVF, it's true - but he's willing to try this first.


WiseGuy said...

Go do it, girl!


Kim H. said...

I so wish I could email you and encourage you/ask questions. :-) I think that if you're at peace with the decision - that is the most important step... so I can't wait to hear more about how this goes.

Cara said...

sounds like a great avenue indeed. looking forward to hearing your feelings.


Heidi said...

You have obviously sparked my interest. Since i am not in an emotional/financial place to do another IVF, this may be an option for us. You and I really need to get together sometime to talk. We need to set this up.. I wish you the best of luck with however you proceed.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big believer in holistic medicine, a combination of the both might be really beneficial if the TCM doesn’t work on its own.

Your ecosystem analogy is fantastic btw

My Endo Journey said...

I too find alt med fascinating! I hope it goes well. I look forward to coming back and seeing how it goes!


Kymberli said...

I'm interested in seeing how this approach to treatment works out. I've seen others do a combination of the two and have good results, and some who've taken only your approach and also had good results. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I hope it works out for you. :)


Misty said...

Sounds like a good plan. I am glad that the pressure in your abdomen is gone. That is great.

Cassandra said...


Ultimately it never did the trick on its own, but I feel like the TCM stuff I've done has really helped me. The herbs were very good for my cycle, and the acupuncture was good for dealing with IF.

Good luck!