Friday, July 26, 2013

Mixing Traditional & Modern Medicine

Let's talk shots.
Not the alcoholic kind either.
The ever so lovely hypodermic kind.
I've had some recent encounters with some rather large ones.
They seemed like they were larger than this, but maybe it was just me.
The first round, several weeks ago now, was a shot into each bursa of my hip. Did you know you had a bursa?
Here is a refresher for you if it has been a while since you've had to recall any of the more obscure parts of anatomy.
I have chronic bursitis, have had since I was a teenager. I don't know why in the world I ended up with all of these old lady things. And if you're an old lady, then my hat off to you, and a bow to you, because you put up with a lot! I've had more than my share of these shots into my bursas, is that the correct plural form? I don't know. So no grammar police after me ok?!

Then 3 weeks after that, I had to have the same kind of shots in this tendon pictured above. I couldn't remember what in the world the name of this part was called, because my doctor just kept called it a tendon and referring to the problem as tendonitis. He said the tendonitis in what I now know is the quadricep was caused by the prolonged inflammation of the bursis in my hips. Hmm. Surprise, surprise. One problem can lead to another! Meanwhile the location of the shots in said bursis had bruised significantly and remained somewhat painful and had the shots themselves had not relieved the pain at all yet. Here is one girl hoping this stuff started to work! In addition to these problems, the bursitis in my left shoulder needed attention to and was also causing tendonitis under the bursa. So what was the treatment plan for that? Why, you guessed it! Lucky you! Yes, another shot with that big nasty needle at the top of the post. Here is another pic for you to feast your eyes on and wince a little at. If you're not wincing, just remember the size of that needle up there.

Two weeks after the tendon shots, I went back this past Thursday expecting to get shots in both hips again. My rheumatologist has told me he has seen significant improvement in chronic sufferers if there are two rounds administered in each location. What's a few more steroids at this point?! Yes, yes, I know steroids are not extremely beneficial over a length of time, and I had more than my fair share last year during chemo treatments, but allow a girl a little denial. Otherwise the brain starts to curdle with the stress of it all.

So anyway, Thursday. Expected shots in the hips again. Instead, the pain I had been experiencing in my whole right side was significant enough to cause the doctor to change his mind on the route he had originally laid out. My left hip and shoulder had improved somewhat. But the right side had actually gotten worse, therefore the doctor gave me a shot in my right hip, as planned, but threw in one in the quadricep again, and just to even everything out, I got on in the right shoulder. Sheesh! You'd think he got paid by the shot!

I go back in a month to see what else needs to be done, and possibly get one last round of shots somewhere. I'm not sure I want to speculate where at this point. I think I've run out of bursas, but I know there's a few more tendons that could be stabbed.

All of this got me to thinking, I can't be relying totally on what most of us call "modern" medicine, because the pain is still around and there are side effects to almost all man made medicine. Like lack of sleep, oversleeping, pain at the injection site, overall pain, fatigue, headaches from lack of sleep, cravings for Dr. Pepper, those kind of things. I'm sure several of my loyal readers (why in the world do you spend your time with crazy, crazy me?!) are aware of my use of essential oils. If you're new, hadn't come around in a while, or a stalkerwannabe, then pay attention: There are these things God created inside of plants in the beginning of time till now called essential oils. They are basically the life force of a plant (plants are alive, right? right) distilled out by steam and collected in pure form. You want the pure form, generally called therapeutic grade here in the old good USA. These essential oils can penetrate something called the "blood brain barrier", a layer that keeps the bad things from getting into the brain. But the molecules and other chemical makeup of these essential oils are some of the tiniest things in the world and therefore can pass through this barrier in the brain. They cause regeneration of cells, go to the source of the problem and fix it not just relieve it.

I thought essential oils were just to smell good and the reason why lavender worked on headaches and insomnia was because the smell caused a person to relax to the point where the problem could relieve itself so to speak. Turns out lavender (in therapeutic grade) has the actual power to de-stress your body so you can sleep, it has chemicals in it that God put there which can heal the cause of a headache and take away the pain, it is an antiseptic, antifungal tool for burns, scrapes, abrasions, cuts and can relieve itchiness on bug bites, reactions to poison ivy and poison oak, prevent bug bites, promote wellbeing, and yes, make things smell good. Who knew, right? I for sure didn't have a clue. But remember, essential oils have been around for thousands upon thousands of years. They were the aspirins and icyhots and iodines before those things were discovered and/or created.

But now that I know, I'm trying to learn how to use all of these goodies that feel like have been literally dropped into my lap for the betterment of my family and my body. How have I been using these "traditional" means of medicine to mix in with the "modern" methods? I'm so glad you asked! Did the title of this post clue you in that I would eventually get around to mentioning that part? Yes, I know I have a tendency to didn't have to point it out. Seriously, you can stop now. 

Just keep reading. Golly...
First off let me say this, I am a distributor for a company who sells pure, therapeutic grade essential oils distilled without additives from plants grown on farms they own or have lease contracts with to harvest seeds and plants grown organically with the utmost care and distilled in company distilleries. The name of this company is Young Living, you can go here to see their website if you like. I found out about them through a friend who hooked me up with a group of crazy awesome people all coming together in a place called The Lemon Drop Lounge. Our website is and is full of tidbits on how to use these oils and testimonials of real people (as opposed to fake people, you know) who have used the oils and seen some remarkable results. You can also begin reading about the first 21 days of our personal journey of using Young Living Essential Oils by going here.

Now, that you know what I use and how I found out about them, I can go on with what I've used for this particular problem of mine. To be honest, I've not been as diligent about it as I should've been (don't we all say that?) about even researching which oils were the best, but used what I knew about. Pain will do that to you. You don't care what you are putting on as long as it works!

After the first round of shots, I used a roll-on bottle to apply an oil blend I had made up. It consisted of a blend called PanAway, Peppermint, another blend called Valor, and Spearmint diluted with extra virgin olive oil. Along with the ice packs prescribed by the doctor, I made it through the first round.

With the shots in the tendons and my left shoulder I used the roll-on mentioned above, but when I didn't have access to it, I would rub straight Valor on to prep the sites, then use PanAway, Clove to numb the area, and Peppermint to drive in the relief deep into the tissues. I also used the ice packs and the heating pad as directed.

This time, I was in a lot more pain, and even after the shots couldn't put my full weight on my right leg, and I kept experiencing shooting, pinching pains in my hip which would travel all the way down to my heel. I even had more trouble moving my hip around, certain angles were just nigh impossible. Thank goodness I'm able to not have to hold a 9 to 5 job, or I'd be in tears more. I'm blessed to be a homeschool mom of two, who somehow always seem to have me on the go. So, this mom needs to be able to go!

I still take prescription meds, kinda have to with the cancer thing and all, but my Rx meds were not relieving my pain, only making me loop-ier. So when I got home, I grabbed my oils in desperation and concocted the mother of all essential oil rubs! What did I use? Well, I'll tell you after the following disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a nurse or any other kind of medical person. I am just a person. Therefore I can not under any circumstances tell you what to do with your own body. I can only tell you what I've done and the effects it has had on me. What you do with that is your own business. There. That wasn't so painful, was it?

I put together in a ceramic bowl (one can't use plastic with some of these essential oils, so ceramic or glass is best):
1 drop Lemongrass
2 drops Peppermint
2 drops PanAway
2 drops Valor
1 drop Chamomile
1 drop Lime
1 drop Spearmint
1 drop Rosemary
1 drop Tea Tree oil
3 drops Vitamin E oil
2 tsp Avacodo oil
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

and my amazing, awesome, you can't have him, hubby applied this concoction on my legs, my back, my neck and my shoulder for me, since I couldn't reach most of the areas that were hurting.
I swear, people, or at least strongly, strongly promise that within 5 minutes I had relief, 10 minutes later I could put weight on my right foot without wincing, and within an hour the inflammation had gone down enough that I wasn't on the verge of crying or trying to snap someone's head off for just looking at me. I'm constantly amazed by what these oils can do, even though I use them everyday and see results everyday.

I am learning something new each and every single day about these oils. I don't know it all, I'm certainly not an expert! No where close, darlin'. And now, I'm venturing off into the world of herbal medicines again. Gasp! Did you just call me a hippie?! More like a homeschooling, happily married to the same man 11 years, pro-life Christian who believes in big families, small government, the right to bear arms, make homemade granola, have a big vegetable garden, and use every available resource God put on this planet for me to use.

I stuck my toe in the whole herbal world when my husband was injured on the job eight years ago, to help him deal with the pain and inflammation of his injury. We also trudged in the shallow depths a couple of years ago with an herbalist in our area, Rhonda Dial But we couldn't quite afford the regiment and stopped using the herbs when I got sick in 2011. Now that the cancer treatment part is over with, and I have learned more about what I've been putting in my body all of these years and what all around me is not really good for me, I'm trying to wade into this world unknown to me. I began taking vitamins today. That is a big deal. Especially because I don't like having to keep up with pills. Swallowing them is no big deal, I can swallow lots of pills at one time. But I have to have my daily/nightly meds in one of those pill holder things that reminds me which ones to take, because I have trouble keeping up with that kind of stuff. So adding three or four vitamins a day?! Yikes! I have jumped off the deep end into this whole "natural" thing!

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