Monday, April 14, 2008

East meets West

I have a new treatment plan...that's right, I said it. I am kissing western medicine goodbye for the foreseeable future. I have given western doctors 4 years to figure out my problem to no avail. So, I am giving the Chinese a chance.

A little background: I first went to a fertility specialist in July 2004. They ran all sorts of tests and in the end diagnosed me with "unexplained infertility", basically code words for "everything about you looks perfect and we don't know what's wrong so we are stamping this label on you". Then, they sent me down the same treatment path they send everybody: Clomid with injectible trigger shots to promote ovulation (even though by all accounts it appeared I ovulated fine), IUI (even though Ryan's sperm count was great and there was no evidence of a problem with intercourse or fertilization).

When these treatments didn't work, it was time to move to the next level, injectable hormones. Luckily, we did not have the money to jump into that, which gave me time to think.

As I thought about the next stage of treatment, I started to get a little angry. If everything about me looks so great, why are they giving me the same treatments as people with diagnosable fertility issues? Why are they concentrating on treatment, rather than finding or trying to fix the problem? And why, when I told them I felt I had luetal phase defect (the third phase of my cycle is too short, interfering with implantation) did they pump me full of progesterone, rather than figure out if that is indeed the problem and (if so) teach my body to produce these hormones on its own?

Most of all, why did I concentrate on the 17% success rate, and fail to recognize that this means 83% of the procedures fail. 83%.

So, I started to do a little research. I figured, hey, I can't afford the western treatments anyway, maybe I'll see what's out there. I bought a book on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and answered pages of questions as to my symptoms and characteristics. I won't lie to you, some of them seemed odd (fuzz on my tongue? huh?), but afterwards I found out that I have symptoms of Kidney yang deficiency, Spleen deficiency, and Blood deficiency. I noticed there was a chapter on Luetal Phase Defect. I flipped there and read that the most common deficiencies leading to this defect are the three I just listed. Bingo! Finally, validation that western doctors could not give me.

So, what's next? Well, I can tell you what I'm not doing. I'm not forking over $1200 and injecting my body with synthetic hormones. Maybe I will in the future, but not now. I owe it to myself to try a natural approach first. If nothing else, I will be a lot healthier and balanced when/if I decide to pursue the next step in western fertility treatment. And, who knows? Maybe I'll end up pregnant in the process!

1 comment:

Brittany said...

i love that you are doing this! a co-worker of mine is having some good successes with this right now and i totally believe there is something to it.