Are you wary of chiropractors? Unfamiliar with their care? Well, don’t wait until your pain is too excruciating to bear. Let me share my story…
BACK in May. 2007, I was feverishly raking my yard. You know the movements: side-to-side constantly, consistently, bending to scoop up the leaves for hours at a time, etc., etc. Well, this certain day I hurt myself. Bad. Believing that I easily pulled or twisted a tendon or muscle, my home remedies – the use of ice packs, and then heat via a hot tub and the use of a heating pad – did not alleviate the pain. We’re talking ice-pick sharp and consistent pain under my upper left rib cage area, below the breast.
This happened on a Saturday. By Saturday evening I was ready to go the nearest hospital Emergency Room. Yuck. Instead I chose to contact a former chiropractic doctor. He was available! Although he had recently re-located further away than I wanted to go, I HAD TO GO! Even at that late hour on a Saturday evening, Dr. James S. helped to mildly relieve this inclusive initial throbbing of the area.
Days proceeded. Pain continued. Level 10 pain on the scale, it was day-in and day-out. Procrastination was led by fear when I finally decided to contact my regular endocrinologist, Dr. Conrad T. I made an emergency appointment. Dr. T. and I had been acquainted through my healthcare system for a few years. This specific “emergency appointment” left me sitting, uncomfortably, in his office waiting room for three hours. To shorten this part of my story, Dr. T. talked me into his giving me an injection of a numbing concoction, right into the pained area. OUCH! Well, it numbed up immediately. Phew! I grit my teeth so hard, they hurt.
Finally relieved, the pain returned an hour and twenty minutes later. Calling Dr. T.’s office once again, I had an appointment the following week. My main purpose to see him, again, was to request orders for an MRI as well as get a pain medication. Well, that appointment was deflated if only due to my having to wait another two hours while in his office. Angry and in pain, I left. I did not want to sit there for another 2 – 3 hours! I never went back to his office again – for anything!
Having done research to learn about the area where the pain generated, I began calling it “my spleen pain” because I narrowed the pain to be precisely in that area. In my frightened state of anxiety, I also suspected that something might be wrong with my pancreas. OMG!
Days go by…In the interim, I had already made a big decision to become involved with the world-renowned University of California, Davis, Medical Facility (UC Davis). Hoping to make an appointment with an acclaimed Endocrinologist and Professor, Dr. Thomas A., that did not happen. You see, my rationale for making this BIG decision had BIG hopes. I filled my brain full of bright and shiny ideas of being cured of an “uncommon spleen malfunction.” This constant pain had me thinking – a lot!
INSTEAD of seeing the head-honcho, I was scuttled to meet with Dr. Allen T., a resident intern. Hmm. Realizing that UC Davis is an academic hospital, getting to the top dog was strongly discouraged. Disappointing at best.
Meeting Dr. Allen T. was delightful enough. My first impressions were that he is young, ambitious, a listener, and a newbie = wanting to make a good impression with his peers and supervising physicians. Mm hm. After introductions and pain descriptions with him asking me certain questions, Dr. Allen T. invited Dr. Kevin K. into the examination room. Although poked and rubbed once again, nothing was found. Woe-is-me.
A requested MRI was denied, again, along with a denied request for an X-ray. Although I believe an X-ray would be useless because of the soft tissue involved, I also believed with hope that anything would help! Happily, a “CT Abdomen with Contrast” was arranged and performed a week later. It showed nothing pertaining to this specific pain. How can that be?! However, it did show other things. These “other things” were not addressed but totally ignored such as an ovarian cyst and a displaced disk! It appalls me that nothing, nothing, nothing was said to address these issues. I don’t get it! This consistent ignorance has always lead me to do my own research for cause and effect. Without the internet as a research unit, I would have to live in a library or form one of my own! information is knowledge! But, one thing at a time. I need to focus on this constant “spleen pain.”
THROUGHOUT the next year and a half, the original pain persisted. As described to anyone who would listen to me, medical personnel or otherwise, it felt like a knot, a golf ball, under my front left rib cage with numbing of the whole left rib area. The pain was stronger when I ate, no matter what I ate.
At this juncture, I had seen six – no eight – different medical doctors at the UC Davis facility concerning this painful issue. Along with Drs. Allen T. and Kevin K., there were Drs. Allen T. with R; then Allen T. with Dr. O; then Allen T. with ‘can’t remember his name!’
Next, a painful emergency rib situation brought me to and through an ‘urgent care’ appointment at UC Davis once again. I had an attack of that “spleen pain” again. On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being the worst, this pain wa a 10, sharp and distinct without cause. It felt like the thin sharpness of an ice pick being pushed under my ribs. The wait was not as long as I expected, wherein I met by Dr. G. (aka: #9). After an initial examination once again, she was stymied and said she would have to refer and confer with Dr. H. (aka: #10).
To conclude that day, it was decided, and concurred that I have something know as “gastroporesis.” Therein, a prescription was written up for 5 mg of ‘Reglan’ to be taken 30 minutes before each meal.
I did not like hearing that. I am not a pill taker. “Also,” began Dr. H. “I’ve put you down to have a Barium CT Scan. This will show what’s going on in that specific area.”
“Hallelujah!” I wanted to scream! “Finally, a doctor that believes me, that wants to find out specifically what this pain is!”
Two weeks go by before reporting to the UC Davis Medical Center via an appointment for this CT. I arrived early with hopes of walking to a nearby restaurant for a quick breakfast. A breakfast burrito was on my mind! Anyway, once inside, an attendant started explaining that he “will fix me some eggs and toast. As soon as I’m done eating, the test will begin.” I was shocked! Here I was expecting a dye injection or the necessity of drinking the nasty, chalky tasting barium when that was not the case at all. Unbeknownst to me, the test ended up being a “gamma test.”
I told the attendant that I had not eaten. If I did, what would be the problem? “We wouldn’t be able to do the test. You’d have to reschedule and come back. That would take another 6 – 8 weeks.” Definitely a case of “divine intervention.”
You see, while the food is ingested and on its way through the esophagus to the upper intestine to the stomach etcetera, I had to stand in front of a large metal scan that video-taped all this digestive action. Painless and interesting, it bothers me to know that I was not told that that was going to happen. Good thing I did not eat before leaving the house! “Not eating” is a requirement for this test – that I was uninformed about!!! And there were three parts to this scan, each scanning 45 minutes apart, with the actual scan lasting 10 minutes, while I was in a standing position.
AFTER all that, the test result was negative – nothing was wrong or out-of-place. It showed nothing unusual! That’s good and bad as far as I was concerned. Bad because I still do not – nobody knew – what is the cause of this spleen pain?!
Wait, this story gets better….
Once again, personal research lead me to ingest five capsules of Vitamin E, two capsules of Evening Primrose Oil, and another two capsules of White Willow Bark. Drinking Aloe Vera juice, readily available in gallon jugs at health food stores, is a natural substance. It tastes terrible but its benefits are just that – beneficial – for a persons’ immune system.
Still through UC Davis, I was told to see an endocrinologist. “Okay,” I said, “hook me up with one here.” The response – from an attending physician was “we do not have any endocrinologists here. You will have to find one on your own.” WHAT?! How unbelievable is that?! I suppressed my tongue and left, defeated in the fight for pain cause, treatment and hopeful relief. I never went back and hope I will never have to!
Again through personal research, I located an endocrinologist, a female as preferred, Dr. Adeela A. Well, she was stumped to hear about my “spleen pain.” She told me to find a “General Practitioner.” I did, Dr. Jude W., who was also stumped but ordered X-rays anyway. They did not show anything once again!
How many doctors is this now? I lost track.
Discussing this with my friend, Libby, who is a masseuse at a chiropractor’s office, she urged me to make an appointment with a chiropractor at the Oak Point Chiropractic center. I did. Meeting with Dr. Mike S., he initially suggested that the pain could be due to a pulled abdominal muscle with a fractured cartilage located in the area of the rib where the pain was most persistent and prevalent. Sounded good to me! Made sense. My mind was actually put at ease thinking that this is curable as opposed to having a gastrointestinal complication or worse, a spleen or pancreas problem.
On the pain scale of 1 – 10, I walked into Dr. Mike’s office with an eight. During the course of my initial visits over a two-week period, twice a week, the pain subsided altogether with occasional bouts no stronger that a two. That was autumn of 2011. I continued chiropractic visits with him over the course of many months leading into 2012. Result? The pain is gone. Let me repeat that: THE PAIN IS GONE! After consulting with fourteen western medical physicians, this chiropractor helped. His care and knowledge also suppressed the lower back pain due to the ovarian cyst and displaced disk.
Believe it. Lesson learned: chiropractic health care will be first and foremost from now on when my body gets in trouble, when it screams in pain for relief.
A. K. Buckroth, mydiabeticsoul.com