Essentially I am facing two problems currently.
1) My esophagus has stopped working correctly and has no wave function in its lower 2/3, making it impossible for me to swallow solid food. I would like very much to resolve this, so that I can eat dinner with my family.
2) Something has happened that has caused my esophagus to stop working. We need to figure out what it is, and make it better.
Today, I took a fantastic first step toward figuring out step 1. Hurray!
Over the weekend I have found two very exciting articles about the use of electro-stimulation to improve esophageal dysmotility. Here are the abstracts:
Kansas Research Hospital and Medical Center, Kansas City, MO.
Background: The treatment of progressive oropharyngeal dysphagias of neurological origin as well as esophageal motility disorders is extremely difficult and may involve artificial means of maintaining nutrition and hydration, such as the use of percutaneous gastrostomy and other surgeries. Acupuncture has been found to be beneficial in poststroke oropharyngeal dysphagia.
Objective: To describe acupuncture treatment of a patient with progressive oropharyngeal dysphagia and esophageal motility disorder of undetermined etiology.
Design, Setting, and Patient: Case report of a 68-year-old woman at a solo private practice in Kansas City, Missouri, treated beginning in 2004 and followed up through early 2007.
Intervention: Acupuncture treatment including electroacupuncture for 11 sessions. Points used were SP 6 and SP 9 (connected with 2.5-Hz stimulation), LU 7, LI 4, and ST 36, bilaterally. From the second treatment onward, CV 22 was added. Each treatment lasted 25 minutes.
Main Outcome Measure: Symptom response following acupuncture.
Results: The patient reported complete resolution of symptoms after 11 sessions, and she has remained symptom-free for 2 years without needing further acupuncture treatment or any other therapy.
Conclusion: Acupuncture should be considered as one of the therapeutic tools for treating oropharyngeal dysphagia and esophageal motility disorder.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) improves upper GI symptoms and balances the sympathovagal activity in scleroderma patients.
Sallam H, McNearney TA, Doshi D, Chen JD.
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555, USA.
To assess the impact of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) at gastrointestinal (GI) acupoints on GI symptoms and quality of life in scleroderma patients, 17 patients filled out SF-36 and GI symptom questionnaires before the electrocardiogram was recorded for two intervals: baseline and TENS. At home, patients applied TENS for 14 days, then were reassessed. Acutely, TENS application significantly increased sympathetic and vagal activities vs. baseline (P=0.02 and P=0.004), respectively. Prolonged TENS application normalized the sympathovagal balance (P=0.04), decreased GI symptom scores (P=0.02) and increased the physical functioning score (SF36), which strongly correlated with the change in the sympathovagal balance (r=0.6, P=0.02). In conclusion, TENS at GI acupoints offers a potential option in the treatment of upper GI symptoms, but further study is necessary.
With these two studies in hand, I visited the wonderful acupuncturist who has been treating me for the past eight months. Not only was he impressed with my research but he was very willing to give me the identical treatment that worked on the woman in the original study. So, we did it!
When he inserted the two thin needles in my abdomen (near my esophagus), my entire stomach jumped! It had such a quick and strong reaction. After he started the low electric stimulation in the needles in my calves, my stomach started to make all sorts of noises. It was bubbling and gurgling merrily away, things were really moving down there. I could not stop smiling the entire time. I kept thinking to myself, "This worked for that woman after only 11 treatments and I am already having my first treatment! I am on my way!"
I have no idea if there was any effect at all upon my own esophageal motility but I can definitively state that my entire body responded to the acupuncture and electro-stim today, and my stomach was digesting very well. When my gut jumped as he inserted the needles, my acupuncturist gave me a huge smile and said, "That is a very positive sign. Something was sluggish down there and it just turned back on."
Is it possible to do a happy dance online? I am so happy. It was such a wonderful day. I am feeling 200% better than I did just two weeks ago, my skin is looking so much healthier and my brain fog has lifted. I even managed to take 6 neprinol today and I feel that the supplements have been helping me so much. My whole aura is positive right now. I just know I am on the right path.
So, tomorrow morning we leave... and I hope that after Wednesday, I can write definitively that there is no cancer in my esophagus - that we are on the right track with the healing steps being taken, and that there will be plenty of time for my healing journey.
Sending much love and healing to you.