LIT (Second session)

It's only Tuesday and Saturday seems sooo very far away.

30 January, Saturday

We went to Manila Endocrine Laboratory again in the morning. Got there around 830am and there was a long line already. Not all for LIT though. Some getting blood drawn to test allergies or congenital diseases.

C didn't feel as clammy as last week when they got 12 vials. A veteran on the second try.

We met Eunice and Alvin, a couple with the same lymphocyte autoimmune issue as ours. Eunice was just starting on LIT that Saturday. She's pregnant now so they're trying to "catch up". Praying everything will go well. That evening she sent me text saying her ultrasound showed her baby's heartbeat! Awwww....

Got my shots at St. Luke's around 6pm. A bit more painful than the first round but still tolerable. C took pictures of me with Dr. Aleta. Will post when he sends them to me.

31 January, Sunday

We decided to stay close to home so I won't get too tired or stressed. Also I decided not to take a bath (sorry if this grosses you out) because it really stresses me out, keeping the bandaged arm dry. We watched the first screening of The Blind Side, had lunch at Cibo and after buying some groceries, went home. I took an hour-long nap and was happy that the injection spots felt very itchy. Swelling and itchiness are good signs that the therapy is working.

Despite having a late afternoon nap, I felt so sleepy so early in the evening and was knocked down at 10pm (that is very early for me).

1 February, Monday

After taking care of some work stuff, I went to the St. Francis Natural Health Care Center on Panay Avenue for my first try at acupuncture.

I was apprehensive at first but I had prayed about this and soon enough I was calm and ready to try it out. Sister Regina Liu looked very kind and calm as she slipped in and out of seven cubicles with a very spartan but clean setup.

I was made to fill out a 3-page questionnaire on my medical history.

The line was long, consisting mostly of older people. The air smelled of leaves burning. I kept wondering if the smell came from outside.

Finally it was my turn. Sister Liu asked about the doctor's diagnosis, asked about my period (if I felt any pains), asked how many LIT I've had, etc. She kept on scribbling and only looked up in amazement when I told her we got pregnant naturally. A lot of people come to her to be treated of infertility. And few people really believe us when we tell them we had really been trying very hard NOT to get pregnant for the past 10 years. Haha.

She was very pleased to find out our two pregnancies happened naturally. I'm very pleased too.

I told her about my plan to get my blood test or LAT on February 8 so we can find out if we can start trying for a baby in mid-February. She suggested I have acupuncture sessions twice a week. I wanted to ask her so many things but felt bad for the long line waiting outside.

She asked me to lie down and proceeded to put needles on my forehead, tummy, knees and feet. There's a slight pinch at the start but you don't feel the needles at all when they're in.

An assistant put a small cork-like incense on the middle needle on my tummy and lighted it. Now I understood what the burning leaves smell was. As the smoke blew towards my face, I didn't know what to do. Should I inhale? I blew on the smoke so it would change direction. Haha. I worried too that the embers would fall on me and I'd be screaming in pain and causing a scene. Good thing I lifted my head a bit and saw that they put foil under the incense, to catch the ash. Whew.

When the incense had burned out, the assistant came back to put another one and I asked her what it was for. She said it's chinese herbs for better circulation. Ok. Good, good.

The needles were in me for maybe 30 minutes. I'm going to be back there on Thursday.

Throughout the day the injection spots were horribly itchy. Yehey! I was thinking maybe the acupuncture helped a bit too.

That night, we had dinner with a friend who was going through IUI (intra-uterine injections) to get pregnant and after talking about our LIT sessions and acupuncture, I asked: so if this works, who gets the credit? C smartly replied: God!! Amen! Thank you Lord for that reminder. You send us people to help us, You give us wisdom in deciding what steps to take, You provide financially and You buoy our hopes. You alone deserve the credit!

When we got home, we took out the bandage and were so elated that the spots were more swollen than the previous shots. Itchier too. :)

Next steps: acupuncture on Thursday, LAT on Friday or Monday. I dreamed last night that I had my LAT and the percentage had risen from just 4% to 77.5%. We are hoping for at least 80%.


GINA said...

Oh my, I am reading your many posts only now. Sorry, was rather swamped with work.

What a journey this is turning out to be!! Am hoping God will give you what you and C have been wishing for. =)

makescoffeenervous said...

Hey Gina girl!

I miss reading YOUR posts! :)

Yes, what a journey indeed. But God is faithful and I think that is the biggest blessing: getting reacquainted with God's unbelievable faithfulness. :)

Whatever the outcome, we will give thanks and praise.

Post na soon!

Edwardson said...

I wish I could say that acupuncture is effective, but the best clinical trials thus far do not bear out the belief that it is efficacious against any condition.

One doctor my mom recently visited had recommended acupuncture for her pain. He was effusive. He kept praising acupuncture. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. But I shouldn't have been surprised. Having an "MD" trailing behind one's name doesn't imply the individual has enough scientific background in the understanding, much less assessment, of what is necessary for a treatment modality to be considered efficacious. A medical researcher with a solid grounding in science, experimentation, and the conduct of clinical trials is mandatory.

The fact is the most objective studies to date have shown that acupuncture performs no better than sham acupuncture, meaning that "needling" a person elicits only the placebo effect. And it's the belief in the efficacy of the method and expectation that one will receive relief/cure from acupuncture that affords one some subjective benefits (a transient reduction in perceived pain for instance)--but no therapeutic value when it comes to actual disease.

May I suggest that if you do keep visiting acupuncturists (and herbalists, and other "alternative medicine" practitioners) that you maintain your visits to MDs. Please do not forgo legitimate medical care in favor of untested and/or debunked/discredited remedies such as acupuncture.

makescoffeenervous said...

Thank you for your comment, Edwardson. It's much appreciated.

In the case of our acupuncturist however, she is a 9th generation practitioner and has 20 years of experience in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She also holds a Master's Degree in TCM from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, CA, USA.

That being said, we aren't putting our hope in acupuncture alone. We are still going through our Western treatments and most of all, lifting it all up to God, who chooses to bless our efforts, in His time.

Thank you for reading my blog and for your inputs!

Edwardson said...

My mom actually visited this very acupuncturist a couple of days ago. (I stumbled upon your site while trying to check whether the St. Francis Center has a website.) She was very sure that the treatment would alleviate her now month-long suffering. That night her pain (which had already subsided courtesy of the anti-neuropathic drug she'd been on for almost a week) returned with a vengeance. I found her in tears the very next morning, swearing she'd rather die than suffer another night of torture.

I could very well present this as evidence for acupuncture's lack of effectiveness, and even as evidence for causing harm. But if I were to do so, I'd be guilty of committing the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc ("after this, therefore, because of this"). The fact is just because event B follows event A doesn't mean that A caused B (since there are many events that precede B, not just A). Anecdotes in general are never taken as objective evidence for or against any treatment because there are so many confounding factors in any story/testimonial that adulterate it. For instance I failed to relate that my mom had climbed a flight of stairs up and down that day--something she had not done for more than a week while convalescing. For all we know this may have been the cause or a contributor to the return of the burning pain in her legs. But as with the acupuncture she had undergone, just because she had climbed the stairs that day does not mean that it must be the cause of her pain that night. For all we know she would've experienced intense pain whether or not she had walked, jogged, climbed or what have you. In short the pain may have just happen to coincide with the acupuncture and climbing that day. We don't know.

I have a copy of Liu's pamphlet and what makes me shake my head is that as with other "alternative medicine" (it wouldn't be called alternative if it actually works, it would be simply called medicine) practitioners who boast of being able to address medical concerns, she doesn't seem to understand that having studied and earned degrees and practised for lifetime a profession that's ineffective does not make it effective. Take homeopathy for instance. There are numerous practitioners worldwide who've trained in homeopathy. But test after test after test have shown that homeopathic remedies are mere placebos. And even from git go, there is no plausibility whatsoever for a medication with *no* active ingredient at all to work--according to homeopathy the more dilute their remedy is the more potent it is, such that one without a single molecule of the active ingredient is more super ultra mega powerful. Just to show how out of touch with reality homeopaths are, about a week ago groups in the UK, Australia and New Zealand publicly overdosed on homeopathic pills. The groups wanted to show how homeopathy is bogus. Given how the tablets they ingested have hardly a single molecule of the supposed medicine, none of the participants suffered any ill consequences.

Bottom line is always evidence. In the case of "complementary and alternative medicine" practically all of the best evidence thus far have refuted their claim to effectiveness. The best read I can recommend would be biostatistician R. Barker Bausell's _Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Alternative and Complementary Medicine_ and for a more readable title journalist Rose Shapiro's _Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us_. As for websites the following are the best resources: quackwatch.org and sciencebasedmedicine.org.

Incidentally, the latest and best clinical trial (the STEP trial by Harvard) on intercessory prayer involving some 1,800 cardiovascular patients at various hospitals in the US has shown that prayer is ineffective and that those who received prayers and knew they had been prayed for suffered more post-op complications. The study was funded by the pro-religion John Templeton Foundation so it cannot be criticized for being biased.

makescoffeenervous said...

thank you for your comments, edwardson.