Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I've gotten into the habit of talking about the MS as though it were a conscious entity. "The MS is pushing back at me" or "The MS is unhappy today."

My doctor told me not to talk about the MS as though it had a separate existence. He had an excellent, eloquent, and profound explanation for why... which, sadly, I can't reproduce for you right now. But his prohibition, at least, I remember, and I pass it along to you.

Many of our fellow MS bloggers have been kind enough to share their treatment regimen--often DMDs and steroids, none of which I'm using. In case anyone's interested, here's what's keeping me on my feet:
  1. Classical 5-element acupuncture. (You can't just go to someone whose shingle reads "acupuncture," there are a lot of different schools of treatment, and by my lights, this one's the best.)
  2. Medical qi-gong, sort of an "acupuncture without needles."
  3. Occasional visits, as needed, to a Chinese herbalist.

    The most interesting thing about these first three treatment methods is that they don't recognize MS as a disease; they think of it as a set of symptoms, that the West has lumped together and given a name. They're treating what's upstream of the MS.

  4. Bodywork, to unkink the kinks that life and neurological issues have put into the body. (This summer I'm getting Hellerwork, but I'll be replacing that with shiatsu during the school year.)
  5. Iyengar yoga, the most recent addition to the treatment regimen. I wish I could take it from Eric Small, who does teach sort of in the area, but I can't get to where he teaches and back to work in time. Oh well, the guy who's teaching the sessions I've been taking is very compassionate and quite well informed, and that's more than good enough for me.
  6. Muyoshingetsu-ryu kyudo (this latter has been allowed to fall off the list for far too long because walking and standing have been really uncomfortable, and archery practice begins with walking to the shooting line and then standing there; but with the passing of summer and the last few acupuncture treatments, that discomfort is passing so I can get back to my archery practice). For those of you following along at home, your spiritual practice of choice can be easily substituted, if Shinto archery doesn't appeal to you.
So there you go. I'm very lucky to have such Cadillac care available here in Southern California, and an employer who is willing to adjust my schedule so I can get away from work early enough to miss hellish afternoon-rush-hour traffic on my freeway commute to get my weekly acupuncture treatment (administered by my MD, who's also a board-certified neurologist--you can't beat that for MS care).

Of course, insurance pays for next to nothing. Don't talk to me about whether insurance needs reform... but that, definitely, is another story.

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