Monday, March 9, 2015

The Result of 5 Months Under the Care of a D.O.

I've been going to regular D.O. appointments for the past 5 months. For a couple months I was going every other week, then it was every 3rd week and now just once a month. In that time the doc and I have had the chance to get to know one another and I've had the chance to give his methods a good try, I wanted to give you all an update on how this less conventional approach is going.

Back in November of last year I wrote about that initial appointment with this doc. My subsequent appointments have been similar in that we spend a few minutes talking about how things have gone since the last appointment and then he spends 20-40 minutes manipulating various parts of my body. The appointment is only ever scheduled for 30 minutes but he doesn't seem to have a problem extending that appointment if he thinks he needs more time. How about that?

The main focus has been on 3 aspects of my health: my chronic migraines, my fibromyalgia and my weight issues. What's great is that these things don't get compartmentalized the way it happens at a M.D. office. But in an effort to communicate effectively I'm going to break it down by category.

Chronic Migraines
The doc spends a fair amount of time manipulating my neck and my skull. Sometimes using obvious movements and other times the movements are almost undetectable. So far I haven't noticed any real improvement in the severity or frequency of my migraines. Then again, I would have been shocked if anything he could do would make a meaningful impact on either.

That being said, I also think it's too early to tell if any sort of change has occurred. If the past 9 years of living with chronic migraines has taught me anything it's that some months are better than others, some weeks are better than others, some migraines are easier than others... There is an ebb and flow to every aspect of my chronic migraines so only long term data would turn my head. Well, long term data or a dramatic shift in how I'm feeling but that would require a miracle.

Every time I go in, my whole body gets moved. He is twisting my back, moving my arms and legs, head and neck all around. To my untrained self these movements seem like little more than just movements. But to the doc they are quite intentional and personalized to the issues of the day. For a while I didn't notice any difference. Then one day, we were talking about how things were progressing when it hit me. I hadn't woke up feeling like I had been run over by a truck overnight in quite a while. Not long after I also realized I hadn't had a really bad fibro flare in a while either. I've had a flare or two but not as painful as usual.

What's funny is that this change happened and I wasn't even watching for it, probably because I wasn't expecting it. After all, I stretch every day. I move my body. I guess I just didn't really believe specific intentional movements could make such a big impact.

Trying to Gain Weight
I've been slowly losing weight since my migraines went chronic more than 9 years ago. Each year I complain about the weight loss and try hard to put the weight back on. Instead of gaining, I've continued to lose. Now, instead of needing to regain 5 lbs I need to regain 25 lbs. Quite disturbingly none of the M.D.s I saw took it seriously or made any sort of effort to help me tackle the problem. They would tell me things like-"you look great" - "It's not a problem" - or say nothing at all.

The D.O. immediately took this matter seriously. He thought that a big part of the problem might actually be my body's inability to properly absorb the food that I eat. This is the first time anyone has offered up a possible explanation. I've always just guessed that my weight loss was due to the amount of nausea and pain. He gave me some probiotics and digestive enzymes to assist my system. The downside is that now I'm swallowing more pills, something my body has been extremely resistant to. But after a few months I was able to make it a habit. After a couple weeks of taking them regularly I started to see some benefits. Unfortunately, a week later, my body started to reject the digestive enzymes. It must have had an accumulative effect because it wasn't a problem until suddenly it was.

I was disappointed I had to stop taking them just as I was seeing some improvement. However I had put a few pounds on so the doc thought I should restart the enzymes, taking them only until I started to feel wonky. Then stopping, resting and then restarting them again. Basically, he wants me to play with them for the next month to see if I can continue to see the benefit of weight gain and better digestion without regular intake.

Fingers crossed. I really do need to put weight on. I'm not at a healthy weight, plus I'm just not comfortable like this. For the first time since I started to lose weight I actually feel like I have a good chance at gaining some, if not all, of it back. I couldn't be more thrilled to have a professional partner helping me tackle this increasingly squeaky wheel. Such a relief.

To Sum Up
Slow and steady progress is being made. Progress that I know I couldn't have achieved from an M.D. The nature of what my D.O. does is so different. The goal of going to see the D.O. was to improve the quality of my life. I was certain I could feel better than I did even though I know there is no cure for either chronic migraines or fibromyalgia. I can say with certainty that I am feeling better now than I was. I hope that with continued care I will continue to see progress, especially where my weight is concerned. Time will tell. I'll keep you posted.

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