THE “D” WORD
When it comes to IBD, we all wish there were some amazing magic that would make it just disappear.
Since our doctors don’t seem to posses such a thing, alternative medicine may be of interest. Some health food store remedies, amazing diets and multi-tiered marketing products have probably already been touted to you by well-meaning friends.
We are dealing with our youngsters’ health and it is very hard to stand by feeling helpless while they suffer. So we are very susceptible to those pushing alternatives, and hopeful that we will find that magic.
OK, I live in California, so you expect me to be discussing magic solutions. Well, I have been known to mess with auras and, to get to my house, you do have to drive through the Rainbow Tunnel. Still, you’d be surprised at how really level-headed I am – for my neighborhood that is.
I don’t pretend to have any scientific facts to present, but you may be interested in my experience with alternative medicine and products.
I do take my daughter to a homeopathic doctor, but she is also an allopathic doctor. When my daughter was 14, surgery was suggested. I stood with the X-ray doctor, our gastroenterologist, and the surgeon around an X-ray that showed a piece of my daughter’s small intestine that resembled spaghetti. Actually, more like capellini.
My knees buckled. “How is this child walking around like this?” I asked in shock.
“I don’t know,” was the reply.
I reported what I had seen to our homeopathic doctor. She urged us to have surgery as soon as possible. No way was that scarred intestine ever going to return to normal.
The night before surgery, a “friend” called me to tell me not to do it. He would send over this great stuff (that he was selling) and it would “aerate” her colon and she’d be fine.
I still grit my teeth at the thought of that phone call. I spent half an hour on the phone with this guy trying to explain to him the X-ray I had seen and how sick my daughter had been over the last year. And that is to say nothing of how she wasn’t growing and, if we didn’t act soon, she would spend the rest of her life at 4’ 9”. Not that there is anything wrong with being short, but she was meant to be taller.
The amazing thing about this conversation is that I didn’t just hang up. I threw the “sure-to-cure” colon aerator he sent over into the garbage. My daughter had the bowel resection that summer and grew three inches by Christmas.
While in the hospital, she did use a homeopathic remedy for nausea caused by the morphine. It seemed to help. Believe me, I do not dicker over whether something has a placebo effect or is really working. If she feels better, that is good enough for me.
Now, here is the part where you will start rolling your eyeballs at me. We have a way of dealing with medicines, remedies, health food store concoctions, well meaning friends “cure alls” etc. My daughter holds her pendulum over the product and asks if this will help her. The pendulum swings in one direction for “yes” and the other direction for “no.”
Okay, not exactly fool proof, but it has put a lot of weird stuff into the garbage can instead of into my daughter’s intestine. Things it has said yes to: some homeopathic remedies, Omega 3 oil, and certain vitamins. These have seemed to help her.
One of our friends purchased some latest-fad thistle product at the health food store for his ulcerative colitis and he told us that within three days of taking the stuff, he was bleeding again.
Needless to say, he stopped using the product immediately.
Another friend of ours was touting great vitamins that she was selling. After checking all of the ingredients, I noticed that this thistle product was listed. I turned them down. We didn’t even need a pendulum for that one.
About diets, I have noticed that what works for one person doesn’t always do it for another. One very popular diet has IBDers either swearing by it or swearing at it. One person told me that it worked wonders for her, another person ended up in the hospital after trying it. Two other people in our support group that tried it saw no difference and gave it up after several months.
So, I’d say diets are worth trying but with caution. There are people that do get better just by changing their diet.
About acupuncture, people I know who have tried it say it is very relaxing and that they feel better. Be very cautious with the herbs they give to drink though. Many of these have a laxative quality and can be harmful. People with IBD do not usually need laxatives.
Now, remember this is my opinion here, and some acupuncturist would probably like me more informed. But I recommend if you are going to do acupuncture, try the needles, stay away from the brews.
Just because something is an herb or is “natural” doesn’t mean it won’t have serious consequences for some people. Just like any drug, you want to know what it does, what’s in it and what are the possible side effects.
About meditations, guided visualizations, stress reduction, support groups, etc., all of these may be helpful. Remember, relaxing is good. Dealing with a chronic disease is stressful. In fact, you doing the meditation will probably help your child. It will help you stay relaxed and focused, able to make the best decisions you can about your child’s health.
Have faith but do not suspend intelligence.
So, from this side of the Rainbow Tunnel, I send alpha waves your way and wish you all good health.
Copyright 1996 - 2002 Arlyn Serber