Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well...after quite a while of being told to "wait" for my frozen shoulder and the neropathy in my feet to get better, I made a decision to try alternatives. Yesterday, I visited Dr Yang, who is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and is a chiropractor. We discussed my issues and agreed to try a few things to alleviate the pain. We agreed to focus on my shoulder first.

So...yesterday was my first ever acupunture treatment. Dr Yang inserted somewhere around 14 to 18 needles in my legs. The basic belief is that pain is caused by an energy imbalance. Inserting the needles helped to "push" excess energy from certain body areas to those areas lacking energy. The needle insertions really didn't hurt - some I didn't even feel other than the pressure that I knew she was inserting a needle. After my legs, she next inserted needles into my right hand and arm. (The frozen shoulder is on my left.) Finally, she inserted three needles into my left hand and just above the wrist.

After inserting all the needles, she lightly rubbed my left shoulder with an ointment of some kind - smelled like menthol. She turned out the lights, told me to take a few deep breathes, said to sleep if I could and she left the room. Unfortunately, I was not able to sleep. After a few minutes of sitting very still, my left shoulder and the muscles on the back of my arm started to throb. It got pretty uncomfortable. When Dr Yang finally returned, I told her about the pain and she immediately rubbed my arm/shoulder with more of the ointment, removed the pins from my left arm and allowed me to move the arm - which eased the pain. Dr Yang thinks it may have been the position of my arm and we will try a different position next time. She also put an herbal patch at the spot where I indicated the most pain.

Now...the results...I actually do have reduced pain in the shoulder and I am able to move the arm more that before the treatment. I was able to lift my arm about maybe 45 degrees when extended to the side. I am not able to raise it just about 90 degrees - or almost straight out. Still can't raise if above my shoulder when extended to the side; but, it is better. Obviously, I must wait & see, but I haven't had any episodes of the shoulder throbbing yet. Maybe best of all, I slept well last night. Even though I have been taking Ambien, I have had some difficulty sleeping as I am unable to get into a position without pain.

Dr Yang gave me extras of the herbal patches and a bottle of the ointment (only available from China) with instruction to use them. We also agreed to treatments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two weeks. At that time, we will review status/progress and decide whether it makes sense to continue.

An interesting thing about this venture into treatment alternatives is the fact that Dr Yang's husband is a pulmonologist here in Indy. Therefore, she was very careful to ensure that her treatments don't interfere in any way with my normal lung cancer treatments and follow up.

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