Sunday, March 18, 2018

Retreat for treatment; it's time.

It's been one hard week... but a very interesting outcome.

Tuesday I had a treatment with Dr. Frischman in Jerusalem. That went well, and as usual, I walked out in less pain. But unfortunately the abdominal pain comes back all too soon. I had a headache that evening, also, and he tried to empty my lymph nodes and do some cranio-sacral work on my head to alleviate the headache.

I still had the headache when I left, but it was duller. I was able to get to sleep. But I woke up with the same headache, stronger, on Wednesday. It only intensified throughout the day. I tried all the natural methods he taught me, and it was just getting worse and worse. In the evening I had some Cannabis, hoping that would work, and it didn't. At midnight I was beside myself with one of the strongest migraines this little head has ever dealt with. I had nothing to calm down the pain. I needed the dreaded "cocktail" at the emergency room.

That was an ordeal. The ER was busy, and my migraine was not a priority. I was yelling in that bed, writhing in pain, literally shrieking out loud sometimes, and it still took two hours for them to get me my medicine. It is clearly written in my chart, *by* my neurologist, that if I come in with a migraine I am to get these medicines immediately. It wasn't until Robert finally spoke to a doctor who was familiar with my neurologist's protocol that things started to move.

When I finally got the dose of Prednisone I needed, they put it in a "push", all at once into my arm, instead of hanging it with saline to go in slower. That caused an awful reaction in my body, I felt that there were pins and needles and ants crawling all over me, immediately. That feeling was horrendous, but only lasted about two minutes. It felt like forever, though. I never got that medicine in a "push", and I will ask that that not be done again. It took the standard 40 minutes to take effect, then my migraine began to subside. I had gotten also a shot of Phenergan, a relaxant/sedative, and was finally able to un-tense my muscles and rest. I fell asleep for a while before we were discharged. Got home at 5am. Robert, bless his soul, was up at 7 to get the kids out to school. I spent Thursday in bed, still with a low-level headache. Stronger than remnants. Thursday night came and the headache increased in intensity. I got scared we'd be headed back to the ER. I decided to dose myself up with what I could and see if it made a difference, if I could get myself to a drug-induced sleep. It took a lot of drugs (I hesitate to tell you what I actually downed that night!), and was able to sleep it off.

In the meantime, I'd been in touch with Dr. F throughout this all.
He and his wife had a suggestion for me, and it was one I had been thinking of myself, but didn't think anything like that would be feasible... They proposed a two-week intensive treatment, at their house in Jerusalem. They said they had done this before with patients while they were in the states, and it can work out well for patients who need intensive treatment. It means staying at their place, in a guest room, and having two treatments a day, while also having my nourishment needs taken care of in the best possible way, and me being able to rest. No driving kids around, no errands, no cooking, etc. It sounded exactly like what I had envisioned. I felt that this would be the best way for me to know if my body will be able to respond to the treatments and not slip back into pain mode all the time.

It's a financial burden, but Dr. F's wife suggested to set up a chessed fund (Jewish charity giving) to help sponsor me to do this. Yes. A plan was formed.

Friday morning I went to Jerusalem, but I didn't drive myself. I knew that could trigger the migraine again, and also my abdomen hurts when I drive too much. Our dear friend was ready able and willing to drive me there (in my car) round trip, so I could lie down in the passenger seat, relax, and be in less pain. Thank you so very much, G!! That treatment Friday morning was very very good for me. It was all about the headache. I am so grateful to Dr. F for giving me precious time on a Friday, which he usually doesn't see patients.

Shabbat came and although the abdominal pain wasn't any easier (it was harder, actually, Friday night), I got some amazing, restorative sleep. It was probably still my body recovering from the two and a half day migraine and all the overdose of meds. I slept all night, all morning, ate Shabbat lunch, then slept another 4 hours in the afternoon. And I'm tired again now. I just wanted to update with these changes that are about to happen.

Tomorrow morning I have to make my way, with my friend, to the northern city of Kfar Saba for the MRE test on my small intestines. I'm nervous about it, and considered canceling because I am doing these alternative treatments with Dr. F. It is an MRI, but of the small intestines. The test was ordered by my gastroenterologist, because, well, undiagnosed pain... We have to rule things out. I think it's important for me to go through with it (it means getting contrast chemical into my body, which is bad for kidneys, and we are trying to clean me out of toxins), because it's just more information we'll have about what might be going on in my belly. If I do wind up going to Mayo clinic (I still haven't canceled or postponed... yet?) I'll have this test to show them also. Mayo would be April 9th, if I don't postpone or cancel. I think this two week period that I will be having intensive treatments with Dr. F will be very telling for me whether or not I will go through with going to Mayo or not.

It comes down to if the pain can be taken care of with Chinese medicines and treatment, or not. I need to know this. I am still predominantly out of commission, I am still very much in pain when I am on my feet, things haven't changed. But if my body can respond in these two weeks (I'll be coming home for Shabbats), then SCORE, I can avoid invasive treatments and/or surgery. If not, I'll know for sure.

The balance of Western medicine and Eastern medicine is not an easy balance-- they often seem to cancel each other out. I am learning so much from Dr. F, and trying to make some very important changes. I will stick with him no matter what needs to be done. But the question remains: can this get me out of pain, permanently. I cannot go on living like this, it's not OK, I'm in too much pain, all the time.

So, big icky test tomorrow, it'll be a long day. Just the traveling alone is long, and doing the test will wipe me out (I have to be fasting, and "clean myself out", drink contrast dye, etc). But it'll be *done*, crossed one box off on the list. Monday morning I'll be driven by my son Dov, who will be home on a month-long vacation from Yeshiva, to Jerusalem to start my course of intensive treatments at the Frischman's house. It'll be so good not to have to worry about the kids schedules and immediate needs... Dov will be home the whole time I won't be, and he can drive them places and help make meals. It's good timing. Then we'll all be home together for Passover. And by then I'll know I'll be able to make a decision about the Mayo clinic. I know this all sounds complicated, but I think it's systematic, and all happening at the right time. I pray to G-d for clarity of all these decisions.

Now I'm going to sleep.
I just wanted to catch you all up to speed...
I'll be updating when I can/want/need to. You know that.
We'll get answers. Somehow. It's going to become clear. I pray.


  1. I hope the two-week treatment works and makes a huge difference for you!

  2. I continue to grieve that you have to go through this, Sarah, and pray that you can find some permanent relief. Could you put up the link to your funding page?

  3. May Hashem and all His shlichim send you a refuah shleima, and a rebirth, a personal yetziat Mitzrayim.
    מן המיצר קראתי י-ה
    Sending you love and prayers.