Acupuncture with stimulations
Excited for New Treatment Possibilities

I have been very excited from the first day I scheduled this initial series of acupuncture treatments.  Although always present, chronic pain began interfering with my life significantly over the last couple of years and intensified this last six months to the point that Tramadol no longer worked.  See my “Myofascial Release Therapy – First Experience” for more on that.

Open Minded Approach
Chase, Service Dog patiently waiting
Chase is wondering what’s taking so long! (it’s was a ten minute wait lol )

We (my loving husband and beautiful service dog, Chase and myself) arrived for my appointment, with a totally open mind and no expectations.  As with my Myofascial Release Therapy, I didn’t do any research because of time constraints and I’m beginning to believe, that when delving into unexplored territory like these alternative/complimentary therapies, knowledge may not always be advantageous. I always choose practitioners and clinics with whom I’ve established a pattern of trust, so to be able to go in, with no pre-conceived ideas or influences, is actually quite freeing. That’s not like me at all. I tend to research a topic to death! I believe it’s a left brain thing, but I’m liking this new me! 😂

Here We Go

I entered the therapy room with a pain level of about a five-six out of ten on the pain scale. (For those who have not read my recent medical posts, I am now on a low dose fentanyl patch to allow me to get out of bed and try these new treatments. At this point, for myself, I am adamantly against long term narcotics even for a eight-ten pain level.

The Needles 😱
A few needles in my right arm

Just kidding…I didn’t care about the needles lol. With 14 surgeries, dozens of procedures and probably thousands of lab draws/iv placements, to say that needles don’t scare me is an understatement. I praise God for that, otherwise my attitude toward Acupuncture might have been quite different. So that’s always the big question people ask about Acupuncture – “do the needles hurt?”  In all honesty, I barely felt them. Pain is relative and different for everybody. However, the pain I have on a daily basis at such high levels, affecting so much of my body, compared to the sensation of small, skinny little needle pokes to my skin, well, they live in two totally different realms of the pain spectrum in my world. I can’t even bring myself to really call it pain.

Acupuncture for chronic pain
There was only one that I would consider mildly painful on insertion – it was one of these babies 😂

Interestingly, as the 50 needles were going in, and electrical current eventually applied to 8 of them, my “chronic pain” sensations started melting away. I guess it makes some sense that if we can distract ourselves from pain by staying busy (even mentally), other physical sensations could also serve as a distractor. So, prayers said, lights dimmed, my christian music playing near my head and per doctors orders, I needed 30 minutes of rest and relaxation during the treatment. No problem!!!

The Bottom Line

I actually would have posted this the day of therapy, right after I got home, but I wanted to bask in the feeling of being at a pain level of 3-4 instead of the higher levels. So I decided to take most of the remaining day to just do “whatever I wanted.” 😁  I went to bed, at that same level, even free of pain at my feeding tube site (4 needles were placed around it during therapy) and woke up at no more than a 4, possibly 5. Excitement pulsed through my body! I literally wanted to rip off my fentanyl patch 😂 but then thought better of it lol.

Need More!!!
service dog comforts
Chase was very happy when he could rejoin me!

We knew the relief from the first session would not linger for long and now I feel like a person who craves drugs for pain, as I eagerly await my next Acupuncture appointment. My VA Spinal cord doctor so kindly opened a spot up for me this coming Monday. Now it’s set up for four more sessions, weekly. This sequence of frequent sessions in the beginning is the gold standard. Then we’ll evaluate the outcome to determine how frequently to repeat the series or schedule regular ‘tune-up’ appointments. The nice thing about Acupuncture, if it works on a person, is its cumulative affect. This is a nice benefit! While I require weekly treatments initially, the expectation is that they can be stretched out farther.

VA Medical Center
The main lobby of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center

The VA medical care system gets a bad rap sometimes (and sometimes it’s deserved), however, there are so many medical centers and clinics around the country that are truly awesome. I am very blessed to be close to one of the best. The Minneapolis VA Medical Center is a Spinal Cord Injury Hub – one of 24 in the country. Equipped with great innovative technology and equipment, SCI Hubs are staffed with highly trained and experienced providers including doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers, therapists (physical, occupational, recreation), psychologists, and support staff. They possess a lot of skill to deal with the unique problems that can affect people with a spinal cord injury or disorder.  Minneapolis VA is also one of only 4 Poly-Trauma Centers in the VA system. Every encounter I’ve experienced with them has been positive.

Compassionate and Caring

The staff at the Minneapolis VA SCI/D (Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder) PACT (Patient Aligned Care Teams) are compassionate, experienced and very persistent in their dedication to helping veterans meet their goals. My spinal cord doctor displays so many wonderful traits in his practice, including, understanding of SCI difficulties, respectfulness and understanding of my faith, and is just a good, kind person. I can’t say enough positive things about the entire SCI/D PACT! (gotta love all those military/veteran acronyms 😂 )

Physical Therapy

I also had a brief appointment with one of the SCI/D Physical Therapist. He gave me a TENS unit to help relieve pain flares in different parts of my body. I will use this as needed to supplement other treatments. This type of therapy offers intermittent, flexibility, is customizable by me for each day, as well as specific area of pain, because, every day is different!! I’ve put it to use several times already with some success in pain management.

God, His Word and Music

I believe I’ve exceeded my goal to be less wordy 😂 , so I’ll close now with a very appropriate scripture verse along with a video of one of my favorite songs/artists in the Christian music genre. The Word of God always speaks to me and He always seems to find a way to show me exactly the verses I need to see! Music has always been a huge conduit from my soul to the Lord – probably because so much of it is based on scripture! ♥️

Both the verse and the song, convey to me that because our incredibly, awesome God created me with purpose, I need not fret or worry. He has everything under his dominion, guiding and preparing me ahead of time to walk (roll) the path that I’m on. I wouldn’t trade this path for anything because it keeps me close to my Lord and leads to eternity in Heaven!! Praise Him for His love and compassion!!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:8-9

Overwhelmed – written by Phil Wickham and Mike Weaver, Performed by the band, Big Daddy Weave

Youtube video created by Cindy Omlor

A side note – the African children in the background are singing in their native tongue the words: “You are beautiful. You are wonderful. You are glorious. You’re my King.”

Overwhelmed (lyrics)

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

All that You’ve done is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful

You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful
Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful
You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful

You are Glorious, You are Glorious
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious

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