Sunday, October 7, 2007

Liver Congestion and Castor Oil

I've had three visits with my acupuncturist now and this is my diagnosis: Liver Congestion. If you aren't familiar with Chinese medicine, as far as I can tell they view disease as disruptions or imbalances in Qi. Organs usually involved in infertility are the kidney, spleen, and liver. My diagnosis was made based on my pulses (measured at three different places on the radial artery at three different depths) and the appearance of my tongue, which looks pretty good according to Laurel, especially compared to my pulses.

In order to smooth out my Qi and get the blood moving to "decongest" my liver I'm taking herbs (Qui Gong Peony), getting acupuncture, doing yoga (especially twisting postures), and applying Castor oil packs. I'm not giving up on Western Medicine fixes, just taking a break and exploring other possibilities. The Castor oil isn't as bad as it sounds either. I'm supposed to apply it to my abdomen, cover with a flannel cloth and a hot water bottle and leave it for at least an hour three nights a week. The University of Maryland Medical Center actually endorses it as a treatment for endometriosis. I still haven't found an explanation for why or how it works, but it's kind of a nice quiet time with my hot water bottle and Castor oil, so I'll keep doing it I guess.

Writing it all out like that makes it sound like I'm desperate. In a way I guess I am, but that's not how I feel most of the time. I just that this (having a baby) is really important to me and I want to give it a good try. If I have to let go of this hope at some point I will feel better knowing that I tried (almost) everything.

I think every woman in this situation at some point asks herself, "What am I willing to do? What can I live with? When is it OK to stop?" I'm still trying to answer those questions, but for now I feel authentic about where I am and what I'm doing.


Nate, Maurine, & Hannah said...

You so don't sound desperate to me. I am glad you are trying alternatives to Western medicine. Just don't drink castor oil- even with orange juice it is the grossest stuff ever. I drank it to try and induce labor. Yuck! I need to get back in to Yoga- it really centers me. Love Mo

The Sheets said...

I agree with Maurine. This doesn't sound desperate. I mean, you aren't doing anything really drastic here. You are continuing Yoga and getting some quiet, pamper-time.

I think it sounds pretty relaxing and yet, it's working toward a goal.

Sounds like a win-win sitch to me. :)

kathryn said...

i am glad that you are exploring your limits. i didn't really do this... i guess i just thought about more hormone stuff usually associated with western medicine and decided that it probably wouldn't be a good route for me to pursue right now. but, i must say that it is definitely possible i will think about it all again in the future.

in the end, fertile or not fertile, i think adoption is pretty cool.

i am envious of all the quiet/relaxation time this is forcing you to spend on yourself!! i totally dig the castor oil and hot water bottle treatment! i too need to get back into yoga. did cara hopper ever tell you that she actually got certified as a yoga instructor?

thanks for keeping us updated on your journey.

Hope said...

Hey Jessica,
I found your blog through Marcie's. I am finishing Nurse Midwifery school in December and in keeping with that have really gained an appreciation for the Chinese medicine route. :) We have actually had a few patients have some luck with adjustments from chiropractors specializing in infertility, so you might try that as well. Also, the herb Vitex has been known to aid in fertility, so you might ask your accupuncturist about it. Okay, I'm rambling, but feel free to email me if you want- I'm working with a midwife right now who has an abundance of herbal/alternative therapy knowledge. Good to find you!
-Hope Huckeba

Gioietta said...

I was glad when I moved to Memphis and had a more 'ample' array of options, other than the 'in'famous clomid! My acupuncturist also had me 'warm my belly', I did it in the evening with some oil, which I guess is castor oil. I forget exactly what my 'eastern' diagnosis was, (PCOS in western terms) however I know one thing for sure was that I needed to get some stuff 'unstuck', she used terms like 'goo' and 'thick' to describe my reproductive organs. Not a pretty picture I guess. But I did enjoy it and I am now wishing I could go back and relearn this, try to get my cycles shorter, healthier. BTW, do you know what bayberry is? I still have it and forgot what I was supposed to be taking it for. Maybe you could ask?
So sorry I wrote so long.

The ladies up here said it right. Desperate seems to get a bad rap, but you are doing this for love, it is already a labor of love, a much longer and ardous one....and you are in the meanwhile taking the steps to prepare your body, mind and soul for a precious someone. I am praying for you so much.


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