Monday, March 2, 2009

"Alternative" Treatments

Some of my postings may seem to be dogging western medicine, but that's totally not what I'm about.  I'll take whatever I can get, and I think it's important to explore all options.  Believe me, after going through major brain surgery, I LOVE western medicine.  And it's saved my life on more than one occasion!  (When I was so sick with Crohn's in 2002, I truly believe Remicade saved my life.)

At the end of last week, I was able to visit two of my alternative practitioners.  One is my acupuncturist, Mitch.  He's awesome, but unfortunately he's moving so I've got to find another one in town.  But we worked on calming points, digestion, and tension in my upper back.  Let's just say with two needles at the top of my shoulders, I could feel the tension melt away!

The other is a lady named Jude.  I'm totally going to get the explanation of what she does wrong, but I'll try anyway.  

She's an RN by training, but now works with patients using a hybrid of techniques.  One is N.A.E.T (using kinesology - testing to see how certain substances affect your muscles, indicating a weakness or allergy- and she works to help your body overcome these sensitivities - NON INVASIVELY), she also does cranial/sacral therapy, and she combines all this with mind body techniques.  Some people think this stuff is hooey, but I have seen results in the 4 years that I have been working with her.  Best of all, she works with western medicine to help your body react as best as it can to treatments.  Run away from practitioners who aren't willing to work with your western docs!

The thing with Jude is that when I had run out of options for treatment with Crohn's, she did give me some alternatives.  One includes probiotics, and two other supplements that include plant enzyme blends including amylase, lipase, and bromelain.  Jude gives options when western medicine may not have all the answers right now.

Here's what happened.  After 2 years on Remicade, I developed an immune reaction to it that caused a Lupus-like syndrome.  It took them a long time to figure this out, and I was just married, had swollen joints and couldn't move.  It was horrible.  Remicade uses mouse DNA, and there have been more reports of more problems with this drug because it uses non-human DNA (and therefore is probably cheaper to produce).  But I digress...

Then I move on to Humira, which uses human DNA instead of mouse.  I knew in the back of my mind that I only have a limited amount of time on these TNF blockers - I just knew the same thing was going to happen.  And it did.  Within 2 years.  That's when I added acupuncture to the mix several months before I started having the same reactions with Humira.  I wanted to get my body in the best shape possible to handle what was coming next....

Because during this time, I was also on an immune suppressant called 6MP (Purinethol).  The trouble with 6MP is that it can mess with your liver.  And after nearly 5 years on 6MP I had to get off of it.  It was crazy.  My GI doc was talking liver transplant and all sorts of crazy stuff.  Luckily, my liver went back to normal levels after about 4 months, but not before we had a massive scare with my biliary ducts being inflammed.  They were thinking that I had some autoimmune liver disease.  This sh*t was getting too crazy for me. 

When my GI doc suggested that I try Tysabri, a drug for Multiple Sclerosis that had been pulled from the market, and then put back on the market, I said, "TIME OUT".  I am doing well.  Tysabri has been linked to the human form of "Mad Cow" disease.  No, thank you.  Tysabri will be an option of last resort.  I want to try these other options that I have with Jude, and let's just slow down a little bit.  She agreed, but I don't think was too pleased.  A colonscopy was scheduled in April of 2008, and ALL LOOKED GREAT.  GI doc was amazed.  She still wanted me to go on a very low dose of 6 MP, and I said, let's just wait.  Had a follow up in June of 2008, and all was well.  The basic take away was, "Keep doing what your doing.  I can't argue with the results.'

My point in all this is that as a patient, you need to be aware of all options available to you.   Don't be afraid to seek out options that help put YOU in control of your destiny.   And in hindsight I am grateful to have overcome several significant health challenges before I faced probably the grand daddy of them all: the brain tumor!   It gave me a whole other perspective and a sense of calm that I just can't describe.  I just KNEW I was going to be okay.  And I can't describe it any other way than that.


  1. Hey Jenny - if you still haven't found another acupunturist - my Uncle has a clinic in Noblesville - Associated Healing Arts where he does acupuncture. He's a retired anesthesiologist, too, so he's familiar with Western Medicine. Plus, he's a pretty fun guy.
    Dr. Robert Locke:
    33 Metsker Ln
    Noblesville, IN 46062
    (317) 770-0540


  2. Crohn's "disease" is what happens to your intestines when you eat things you are allergic to. These allergies are usually dairy and/or glutin. The immune system creates the inflammation. Try looking at what you are eating. It may be safer than mouse DNA. It is better to try to find the cause of the problem and try to change it that continually trying to treat the effects of the result of the problem.


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