November 28, 2011


in early spring of last year (2011), i was a mishmash mess of neurotoxicity and active infection deep within my brain. it was a real humdinger of a nightmare to live with and presented quite the challenge for my doctors to treat. the most complicated part of it being determining how to go about balancing detoxing me while continuing to fight the infection. this was further complicated by the fact that this all came to a head between scheduled trips to see DR H. (doesn't it always!). DR H wanted me seen in office - obviously an unscheduled, last minute trip to SF wasn't possible, so DR D fit me in. she is only a 2 hour drive away - easier trip to manage - especially when one is a basket case of neuro toxicity - not to mention that we had to make multiple barfing pit stops. rather barf on a curb than in an airplane bag. 

i saw DR D...and after examining and assessing me, she spoke directly with DR H. between the two of them, they came up with a plan. the first order of action was to try and detox me as efficiently and effectively as possible.

detox is not something my body has ever done well. never ever. it's been something that has been immensely frustrating to all of us (me, DR H & DR D). during my appointment with DR D, she came up with a combination of homeopathic meds etc. that she felt were best suited to my body and it's notoriously uncooperative detoxing nature.

of course, detox constitutes a round of multiple homeopathic meds and lots of tinctures and lots of needles and a degree in physics to incorporate it all into dosing schedule.

take this with that. mix this one with that. take that one on an empty stomach. 20 minutes after that drink this. take this one with food. take this one 2 hours away from food. stand on your head when you drink this. pat your head, rub your tummy while simultaneously swishing this one around in your mouth. alright, that part i'm kidding about. but you catch my drift. detox is a full time job that requires a certain ingenue to figure it all out. fortunately, DR D is really good about helping iron out the nitty gritty of dosing schedules.
scheduling mayhem aside, some of the oral detox meds they had me taking were probably among some of the foulest tastes known to mankind...but i could handle that - even without complaint and i was more than happy sticking myself with a needle thrice daily despite the re
sulting myriad of blue and green hues spreading across my belly. happy. more than happy to deal with that all. the part that i was not happy to bear, the part that was by far the toughest, roughest part of the detox protocol was the part that DR H prescribed:

5 straight days of massage
that was a real chore to endure
yes, that's right, i said ENDURE.

i know - i am probably the only person in the world that would describe a massage as something to endure.
but hey, it's the truth.
the very thought of it makes me cringe
call me weird. i get it. i know. i am weird.

DR H wanted me to do a very specific type of massage therapy - ayurvedic. i had heard the term "ayurvedic" before but i had no idea the history behind it. i thought it was some new chic term spas invented. not at all. aryuvedic medicine practices have been around for about 5,000 years. it's pretty fascinating. the more i read about the specific type of ayurvedic massage, DR H wanted me to do, the more amazed i was that my medical doctor knows about stuff like that. blows my mind the level of information that man has stored in his brain. he's priceless. it is so scary to get so super sick and not have your doctors close by - hek, they don't even live in the same country! - but even so, we are so fortunate to have the medical team we have. 

the 2 types of massage DR H wanted me to do were:

abhyanga and shirodhara

they sounded completely foreign to me and i might add, a little spooky and little off the beaten path. he told me that shirodhara consists solely of a practitioner dripping warm oil over your forehead. he told me that he wanted me to have that done an hour at a time for 5 days straight. apparently it's supposed to help balance out the brain. i thought it sounded reminiscint of chinese water torture. abhyanga is similar to lymphatic drainage massage - except it's done with warm medicated oils.

first we had to find a place that practices aryuvedic medicine and one that also did both abhyanga and shirodara massage. it took several days to find a place. once we did, i was booked for back to back appointments for 5 days straight. i was so super freaked out about it - 
more nervous to go for this than i was going for my first colonic. no lie. i didn't know how my body would react (what if i barfed right there on the massage table?) and i didn't know what exactly to expect.

the massage started with the abyhanga massage. first, the practitioner would pour oil on the back of my head and than VIGOROUSLY massage. this part felt more like a flogging if you ask me. there i lay, face down on the table, oil being vigorously rubbed into my head. so vigourous my head would bounce up and down on the table and i was worried i wouldn't have any hair left by the end. the rest of the nightmare consisted of warm oil being massaged into my body. long, fluid strokes followed by more pelting and pummeling. i guess it would be best described as kind of like a combination of swedish and lymphatic massage. i'll admit that the foot and hand massage part of it was nice but that constituted about 5% of my time on the table. the rest of the time i just endured. i would get super nauseated about 30 minutes in. and 60 minutes in, i always had to go to the bathroom. what a nightmare.

"excuse me sir, can i get up to go pee?" i would timidly ask 
(oh yes, did i mention my practitioner was MALE?)
back to having to pee halfway thru the treatments. keep in mind, by that time, i was one ginormous grease ball. i'd have to get up off the table, body basted like a turkey, hair slick with oil and bedraggled and have to slip and slide my way to the bathroom. what a sight for sore eyes.

then it came time for shirodhara. warm oil dripping over your forehead. i read about it and it is described as a pure bliss experience. not in my world. more like chinese water torture, if you ask me. at any rate, i was pretty nervous. i was arranged on the table and this pot was hung above me and then the next thing i knew i was being blind folded. i nearly had a coronary. then i had to lie there while a steady stream of oil relentlessly dripped across my forehead for one long hour. 

the shirodhara torture chamber
it wasn't horrible but it wasn't this luxuriously fabulously relaxing blissful experience that it's cracked up to be. of course, maybe it's just me. sickness and detoxing aside,  i've just never been a "spa" sort of person. this wasn't exactly a spa thing but the general concept of it was the same - doing relatively nothing for an extended period of time. i don't do that well. and i don't find it enjoyable. i can't relax because i can't turn off my brain. i just lie there thinking of all the things i should or could be doing. mental to do lists just pile up in my brain no matter how hard i try to just chill out. once the massage began and the practioner started massaging my arms and legs, all i could think of was that this was costing me an arm and a leg. then when the practitioner started massaging my feet and toes, i lay there worrying about whether or not i had toe jam. then of course was the bladder issues. how relaxed can one get when they have to pee every 30 minutes during a 2 hour treatment. no matter how hard i tried to get into a zen state of mind, i just couldn't. this grease ball could not chill out. period.

chill out, grease ball!
anyhow, on the third day of this 5 day ordeal, the theme song from titanic softly wafted in over the speakers and all i could hear in my head was my own ad-lib version of this epic song,
"how long will this go on? i'm here, there's everything to fear. i gotta go pee. i am stuck on this table, this just goes on and on and on. i am nauseous now. i fear i might barf. there is no end to this. it just goes on and on and on..."

anyhow, i survived the entire 5 day ordeal.
on the last day, all i could think was thank goodness it's over.
i've never been more relieved in my whole life.

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