News flash: ONLY 7 SESSIONS LEFT!
Third appointment with the good doctor. This time I have TWO rounds of cupping: the first over my needles, and then, because not strong enough, another lot…plus more acupuncture. Again painful. But, she says, looking at my tongue, I am making good progress, kidney yin much improved. I admit to transgressions over the weekend but some honour is restored during my rigourous treatments!. I ask about the energy pills and discover they are the caterpillar fungus that we came across in Bhutan: so rare that the Prime Minister told us he had started an annual auction to prevent smuggling and to regulate the market. These, however, are farmed.
When I get home, I look at my back – it looks like my Orla Kiely bedcover. Three layers of fading cupping marks…
Left alone for long periods today…half-heard conversations with other patients fascinating: the male artist has lost 5-6 kgs since xmas and we have long descriptions of his bowel movements (think he has back problems); then there’s the woman who talks about ‘weeing’ and is keeping a chart…cystitis perhaps? It keeps me occupied as I lie in vague pain and stiffness waiting for the channels to clear.
It is true that, even after so much time in discomfort, I come home and feel invigorated. Mandy, and Hilary, who has come to visit, both notice.
No alcohol passes my lips, two days now…buy an organic apple juice with ginger, which is rather refreshing. Think I could get used to this – but see later!.
Only 8 more sessions left, but this morning as I rush to dry myself after my post-yoga shower, I feel a searing pain on my shin: look down and it is bleeding! Overnight the dreaded radiotherapy rash has appeared. When I present to the radiographers they are surprised it hasn’t done so before, but comment that my skin is very good, and I ‘look after’ myself well. The problem is the final sessions are much more concentrated.
Later, I see Dr Miah, who is not worried; she tells me to keep up with the aqueous cream but make sure it doesn’t go in any of the raw areas. She thanks me for telling her about Servan Schrieber’s Anti-Cancer book; she now has something to recommend to her patients when they ask her for advice. I confess my forays into TCM but she is fascinated and now wants to read the blog!
Back at the TCM surgery, pony-tail boy whispers, ‘I don’t know how you can drink that tea’, as I leave after my fourth session of acupuncture and cupping. Dr Deng, though, is pleased with my progress, and the cupping marks are decreasing in their intensity. She tells me that my stagnating blood is finally on the move again, and she places needles around my rash in order to feed it with blood to help it heal quicker.
My kidney pulse/yin is much better now, and my tongue is a good colour. The alkaline diet is beginning to work. However the terrible tea gives me noxious wind and the energising caterpillar fungus pills keep me awake! She adjusts the tea, and lessens the dose of the pills, while increasing the frequency of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, also known as Rehmannia 6 or 6 Flavour Tea-pills, the classic TCM remedy for restoring the kidney yin. Also known for increasing libido, menopause symptoms (ladies please note!) and boosting the immune system. Worth a go, three times a day!
I have been reading up about the kidney yin and TCM in general. In TCM the kidney really governs the well-being of the whole body:
Western physiology and anatomy limits its description of the kidney to the actual organ itself, TCM assigns such profound, broad significance that it is obvious that the Chinese concept of `kidney’, as the home of the `ancestral chi’ (inherent constitution) and the root of yin and yang for the entire body refers to a much vaster terrain. Dr Michael Tierra
Thus the health of the kidney is critical to restore the correct ph balance (7.4) in the body and discourages the growth of cancer cells. When the blood is alkalized, it is able to contain more oxygen, absorbing up to 100 times more than a body with a high acid content. People with cancer often have bodies, which contain too much acid, thus eating right is critical. Further, in relation to cancer, TCM pinpoints possible causes of blood stagnation, which seem pertinent in my case:
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that cancerous tumors are the result of blood stasis or phlegm accumulation or both. Qi activates and governs blood circulation. Deficiency of qi may cause blood stasis. Stagnation of qi, which is usually due to an emotional upset or affection by exopathogens, is another common factor that impedes the normal flow of blood and results in blood stasis and eventually tumor formation. A Practical English-Chinese Library of Traditional Chinese Medicine by Prof. Dr. Enqin Zhang (Engin CAN)
Many may think it is mumbo jumbo, but it has worked for over 5000 years, and I am just hoping it works for me!
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The weekend finds me in Wales with old friends, Anthony and Carrie, chauffeur driven by another chum, Tara. They are the most perfect hosts – great cooks and lots of laughter; I feel a right spoil-sport as I decline various of my favourite foods – smelly cheeses, home-made chicken-liver pate; and more than a bit naughty as I accept a glass of champagne and then a glass of red wine – surely a girl must have some time off for good behaviour? Nevertheless, I have taken the precaution of boiling up two days’ worth of tea – partly out of deference to my hosts as the smell is so disgusting, but partly to ensure that I safeguard my progress and don’t find an excuse not to take the medicine! Just hope that my yin will be back in shape by the time I see the good Doctor Deng on Tuesday!