A stab in the dark….

Modern medicine saves so many lives, increases our life span, but sometimes we need to trust in the alternatives and ‘give them a shot’. To listen to our body and try to get to the route cause of every day irritations than can impact and cause us major problems on a daily basis.

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We put a lot of trust in other people such as, experts, professionals, doctors etc. The other night I was woken up with the most unusual pain in my abdomen that slowly grew worse and worse, a real stabbing pain that was gripping the entire, of my now very swollen tummy. I often suffer with bloating. Apparently I have the worst bloating my consultant has ever seen in 35 years, but it never came with pain. IBS. That is what he said I had a good few years ago now, when I was referred to him, and he told me I was to cut out certain foods which ‘I THOUGHT’ might trigger it. It was a case of trial and error, but I never quite seemed to master it!

I woke up another day, also a few years ago with the most horrendous pain in the center of my chest, which spread across my entire chest. I rang the consultant. ‘Its just your IBS’ he said. ‘No, No No’ I said, this is something different, there is pain its a different sensation’ I continued. I could sense his irritation coming down the phone. ‘What do you want to do’ he asked….Isn’t he supposed to suggest what ought to be done, I thought? ‘Well’ I said ‘I think you ought to maybe put a camera down or up or somewhere to see what is causing the pain’. He had an opening a few days later in his diary and I snapped it up.

‘You have to sedate me’ I said ‘otherwise I will gag and you will never get that tube down my throat’. I know he thought I was being ‘precious’ but I know my gag reflex. He agreed, reluctantly.

I was unaware of it all, thank goodness, and when I woke up my other half was patiently waiting beside the bed, bored to tears most probably as these things do tend to go on! The consultant finally came to see me, pulled the curtain around so he could talk in private. That makes me smile, because of course you can hear everything going on the other side of any curtain! Anyway, its a gesture I suppose. ‘Well’ he said,’ I have to apologise, you have an olympic sized ulcer on your duodenum. No wonder you were in pain’ he smiled as he showed me an image of my said olympic sized ulcer…. delightful! Prescription at the ready and follow the instructions and all will be good, adios amigos….

Fast forward to the other night, the stab in the dark, that I could have done without. There I was pacing the room like a woman in labour, swollen to the point of a woman in labour about to give birth execpt there was no baby. Just enormous swelling and pain. Was it my ulcer again, was it my IBS or was it my rare cyst?

Cyst, what cyst I hear you say. Oh yes, I also have a rare mesenteric cyst in my abdomen, behind my intestines and right beside my aorta, the shape of a hot water bottle! A fancy cyst, not your normal circular ones!

This too, was caught or diagnosed quite by accident. I was having what I thought was kidney pain and was eventually sent to a urologist. Who couldn’t find anything wrong who sent me to someone else who on first sighting couldn’t find anything wrong who sent me back to the urologist who sent me for an ultrasound….

‘Voila, there is something there, but I don’t know what it is’ the Doctor said. He needed to consult with other professionals and consultants and would get back to me.

I got the call whilst giving a facial to a client (this was in my Beauty Therapy days, when I used to be a beauty therapist, one of my many,many jobs) anyway, I digress. I could hear my phone buzzing and was berating myself for not turning the phone to silent. Once I put the mask on my client, I left the room to let her relax, to let the mask work its magic and to see who kept calling me.

It was the consultant. ‘You have a rare cyst, a mesenteric cyst’ he said but I sensed apprehension in his voice. It is hot water bottle shaped, behind your intestines and beside the aorta. You will have to come down to get it drained. I have never come across one of these in the 30 years that I have been a doctor, he continued…. mmmm I have heard that before I thought!

That was also a good few years ago now and I carry on, as you do with life, hoping the pesky little thing will just remain quiet and not give me any bother. So, you see my dilema, the other night whilst, rocking on the bed, pacing the floor and wondering if morning would ever come so that I could go see a doctor and figure out what was going on. Was it my cyst, my ulcer or my IBS, was it all three deciding to rock up together and give me a hard time…….

The lovely Doctor saw me, performed an ECG (to be sure that the old ticker was behaving itself), he wrote a prescription for pain killers, tablets to take down the swelling and tablets treat any ulcer that might be there. He then wrote a letter for A & E for a CAT scan, should my condition stay the same after taking the meds, in case it was in fact, the cyst.

‘It could be an ulcer, it could be your cyst, it could be the IBS, OR, he continued, it could be gall stones! Wait, what, gallstones….. hell no, not something else to be joining the party in there I thought, feeling very despondent.

The tablets eased the situation so I didn’t bother going to A & E to sit with possible covid patients for 12 hours. I thought about the alternatives. I googled, dieticicians, Nutritionists, Hebalists etc until I came across Kinesihealth… Kinesiologist….. I really felt that if it was the IBS or indeed the ulcer, or indeed gall stones, aren’t they triggered by diet? so instead of treating the symptom, I wanted to get to the bottom of the cause of all this pain and bloating. The Cyst? well, there is nothing I can do about that, that just appeared, perhaps had been there since birth an no one knew, but food wouldn’t disturb it.

I had to take a stab in the dark here and try the alternative. So I headed off to see the Kinesiologist a couple of days later. We chatted, talked symptoms, talked previous medical history, talked about stress…. sure I have stress this year, a move, 2 significant deaths and my other half having a significant operation to deal with. We all know stress can affect the body.

She pops me on the the treatment couch I raise my arm, my leg, I press against her arm and she’s checking my muscle reaction I think. She taps here and there, and places a jar by my neck, puts something in it and this rotation happens for quite some time. All the while she is saying, yes, ah OK, yes, great, etc etc.

The diagnosis is that my body is totally intolerant to Gluten and Dairy and completely overloaded. I have to take her word for it. She is the expert. She is the professional and I am open to try new methods of medicine. She makes up a concoction of Bach flower remedy for my emotional state to help heal and calm my internal state. Prescribes a digestive enzyme and some liquid zinc with the promise of sending on a list of food products which are gluten and dairy free.

I can’t do any harm can it, to give it a try? What have I got to lose. But all I can think of is how wonderful it would be, if for once, we could get to the bottom of all this bloating, the indigestion, the fluctuating bowel movements.

Don’t get me wrong. We need medical doctors and I will continue to visit mine and I will now ask for him to refer me for my CAT scan, just to make sure the old rare cyst doesn’t need draining. Sometimes, though, instead of relying on medication to treat symptoms, isn’t it better that we try to find out the route cause of the problem and treat that?

Some people say they are quaks, but remember this. Long before Medical schools and medical doctors, we had alternative healers, like homeopaths, chinese medicine, witch doctors. Didn’t our own grandmothers treat us with salves and balms and poultices for different ailments from herbs and leaves and bread and all sorts of foraging.

Even in the Salon, I would often tell my clients to make their own home made masks. Pineapple for example, on the skin is great for exfoliation, provides vitamin c. Its great for sun damage and uneven skin tone. Just lay a piece of gauze over your face, then on top of that lay some fresh pineapple and a bit of the juice, lay back for 10 minutes and wash off feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Oats, eggs, honey, strawberries, cucumber to name but a few more, all natural, all have healing benefits when placed on the skin and hair. They do the job that a salon manufactured mask would do, so I think these alternative practitioners know their craft and have as much of a place in helping to heal our bodies as our medical doctors do.

Wish me luck….. Gluten and dairy free, here I come!