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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CranioSacral Therapy is also Healing Me!

11 Adar Bet 5768

Folks, I've been weighing my words for a while, wondering how to explain to you another of the miracles in my life. I'll go for the briefest possible chronological explanation I can cobble together and hope I effectively communicate to you about the phenomenon in my life these days.

Bear in mind that the following is NOT a comprehensive account of personal events. That would take weeks to type out!

Dec. 20 2007 My elbow and wrist break in a freak accident

Dec. 20 2007 The orthopedic doctor who tends to my arm errs but I do not realize it until...

Dec. 30 2007, upon admission to the emergency room of a local hospital after I've fainted from increasing pain over the past 10 days. Turns out that the guy who set my arm increased the damage. According to the specialists who admitted me, assessed the problem and performed surgery, the errant doctor should have sent me by ambulance to this very hospital for immediate surgery instead of providing a flimsy splint and unstable cloth sling and telling me to see a doctor in three weeks! I should have been put into what is called an "Immobilizer" (constructed with specialized materials) that prevents further movement of the healing arm for the prompt, arm-saving journey.

Jan. 7 2008 surgery stabilizes my very deteriorated arm. The long wait for this operation was due to circumstances beyond my control and that of my doctors (we live in a country besieged by terrorists and filled with their victims). My arm is temporarily casted in plaster, then soon encased/immobilized in a special hinged device to promote maximum healing for several weeks.

I use my Personal Pain-O-Meter to lessen pain (see Lower Your Pain in One Step by Using a Personal Pain-O-Meter ). It works.

I munch on pain-busting foods (see
Painbusters! Doctor's Orders that Work!). They improve matters.

Upon removal of that hinged device mentioned above, I begin aggressive Physical and Occupational Therapy to restore the use of my crooked arm (the stiffened elbow does not yet extend my arm) and stiff hand. Elbow fractures are among the most difficult types of bone breaks to heal, as doctors know.

Elbow fractures, my sore wrist and my bonus Comminuted Ulna Fracture (a "Complicated Fracture" to medical folks) made treatment and recovery quite delicate and painful. Doctors prescribe a common painkiller that helps me a lot. We stop using it before I become accidentally addicted. But within days, the shockingly high pain necessitates a trip to the emergency room. That doctor restores the previous medication to my life ("You don't have an addictive personality," he announces), advises less aggressive PT/OT and the situation improves. For a while.

I continue less aggressive therapy until I'm advised to use a different painkiller. And I begin using an arm-straightening brace several hours daily, as well as a device to increase the flexibility of my fingers.

But something goes seriously wrong... The new drug makes me vomit violently for several hours. My doctors end drug treatment and prescribe moist heat packs, relaxation techniques, accupuncture and nerve stimulation. They worry about how to relieve my fluctuating pain. So do I. I try EFT, massage and more.
Within days my surgeon, therapists and I realize that my pain is not lessening as much as expected. My arm and hand movements are not improving as much or as quickly as expected, either. The pain becomes so awful that I eventually fall to the floor from a seated position, fainting in front of friends at a social event.

Another emergency admission to the hospital leads to me to a very savvy doctor and a frightening Diagnosis: Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy also known as CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Though the medical world's jury is still out regarding the CAUSE of RSD/CRPS, I strongly suspect two culprits: 1. The substandard treatment I received on the day of my fall (it caused a bigger fracture) AND 2. The delay in my desperately needed surgery.

RSD is a degenerative condition that (according to textbooks) can be solved ONLY one of two ways: the upbeat psychological condition of the patient OR a drug cocktail that lessens pain while relaxing patient until the fracture heals and the pain resolves.

Upbeat is my nature, as the medical team kept noticing despite all that was happening with me (one kept laughing with me during some hilarious discussions). So a new doctor (a pain specialist) on my team added a particular drug cocktail to my diet while I prayed for a cure. I return home, still praying.

AND THEN the VERY UNEXPECTED HAPPENS: I suffer a horrible reaction to the drug cocktail on day two. I forget who and where I am, then fall from lack of balance during a stroll outdoors. A friend treats me with CraniosSacral Therapy. She ends the mental haze within minutes and provides pain-reduction techniques that work.

Next day, I meet with my personal physician. She believes the painkilling cocktail dose was too high for any normal person. "It could have felled an elephant!" she hollered at the prescribing doctor (no longer on my team).

It takes several days for the effects of the drug cocktail to leave my system. Ill and frightened, I realize how strong a Death Wish drug addicts have. I'd NEVER go through this experience voluntarily!

Talk about stuck! My sunny disposition is not helping my arm to heal and now drugs won't work. My worried surgeon (I adore his conscientious, caring attitude) and the growing team of medical experts on my case recommend the use of a Pain Management Clinic (it uses therapies other than drugs when necessary) and using even more gentle PT/OT methodology. WHEW!

But progress again proves to be too slow. We have a limited window of opportunity to heal the arm/hand muscles before the opportunity is lost. RED FLAGS go up with everyone on my now HUGE medical team. And (thanks to bureaucratic snafus) I'm still waiting for my first Pain Management Clinic appointment.

So how do I expedite the healing of my arm and hand while enjoying the aggression-reduced PT/OT? Read on.

I decide to laugh at my plight instead of letting it ruin my life. I prepared a hilarious costume for the forthcoming Jewish holiday of PURIM. It pokes fun at my medical dilemma so much that... More on that soon ;^ )

Thanks to the down-graded pressure in PT/OT and lots of giggles since then, I've been almost pain-free for about a week. At most I need an aspirin, NOT narcotic painkillers or sedatives. And with my clearer, more focused mind, I realize that there are MORE than two ways to conquer RSD/CRPS!

I call the woman who wrote the dedication in my book: that certified CranioSacral Therapist who helped me out of the accidental overdose. We book appointments to complement my PT/OT schedule. I also book appointments with another CST professional who can fill in when my preferred practitioner is unavailable.

Treatment One: Resolved the drug overdose problem that has clouded my mind for days, as you know.

Treatment Two: We get my arm to reach across my chest and face in a limp manner. I do NOT need to cry out in pain. My elbow loosens up so much that my crooked arm becomes almost entirely straight! NO stiffness or pain.

Treatment Three: We increase the flexibility of my wrist and fingers by several degrees. Painless!

My PT/OT team is shocked at my sudden leap forward during a subsequent appointment. The skin color on my affected arm is dramatically better, as are the flexibility and pain-free status.

Major Improvement, hmm? More movement and NO PAIN.

CranioSacral Therapy. Doing for me what Western medicine could not.

Stand by for more good news, G'D willing. And maybe a photo of me in my Purim regalia next week...

And, uh, Doctors on my "Whazzup with this Chick?" team, though you never admit it to me, I know you peek at my blog cuz I can track the visitors to my site. I also overhear your remarks when you think I'm out of earshot. I salute you. You're dedicated professionals who preserved my arm (let alone my sanity!). We're working together to fully restore it. My progress couldn't have happened without your compassionate and terrific care. Hugs, Yoji


Suffering with a Medical Crisis?

Been there, done that, wrote a book about it, and going forward into the future

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To your good health,

Yocheved Golani
Coping with a Medical Crisis?
Make the Changes You Need in Your Life.


Unknown said...


thank you for your comments, thank you for your help and thank for making the contact with your therapist.

We are goping to continue with the CST and I do hope that Adam will start laughing again. He has an amazing sence of humor (when he is not in pain).



Yocheved Golani said...

My goal is to give back to the world the richness I received from it and from the people in my life.

Your son's agony is very real to me: I've been through it! I'm determined to help him to recover to the best of my ability.

Remember this, Ari: The intention to heal also empowers people to repair themselves. Each action, each thought, that your son fills with a focused effort on healing can bring him relief. Prayer is a powerful coping mechanism, too. Talk to GOD as you'd talk about the situation with your best friend. May The One Above speed that recovery along.

Please let me hear from you in the future, with updates.