When Dr. Huang - his hand pictured - was 19 years old, Communist China was jailing a lot of professionals including doctors. He was from a poor family - he still has joint issues from carrying super heavy pails as a child - outside the city. When officials offered a 6-week acupuncture training course to “replace” the doctors who were in jail, he signed on.
He later went onto medical school (in China still) where he specialized in gastroenterology. He has been doing acupuncture for over 40 years!
I met him when I was in my early 20s and I was very sick with the inflammatory bowel disease and couldn’t get off the steroid medication, called prednisone.
My friend who went through cancer at a really young age and credited Dr. Huang for helping her through her blood marrow transplant. That’s how we met.
When I first met him, I was distrustful of doctors (you can only imagine how I feel these days) and wary of telling him I was on prednisone. The few naturopaths I’d seen freaked out that I was on prednisone and told me to get off immediately. I was like: yeah I’ll get right on that and then die without the steroid, good advice.
I was prepared for resistance when I told him about the prednisone but he laughed - he always laughs! - and said: no problem, we can work on you while you taper off it slowly. I looked at him in shock, nobody had discussed HEALING me and TAPERING off the drug that casually.
He then saw my skepticism - I’ll never forget this - he said: I had a liver cancer patient that was given 3 months to live - that was 10 years ago! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA
I’m laughing right now thinking about him laughing.
I don’t know why I started crying when he first gave me needles - I think it’s been well-established that I am emotional and a crier, oh well, I refuse to feel ashamed about that anymore - tears rolled down my face.
He got a kleenex and gently wiped them away since my hands/arms had needles in them. I never forgot his gentleness and his compassion. I’ve known him for so long, he feels like family. Wait, no better than family.
Whenever my medical case gets rough, I book an appointment with him. Not only is he fucking brilliant - oh and an advocate, he is one of the main acupuncturists that made sure it was covered by insurance in Washington state in the 1990s - and an expert on the GI, he’s compassionate. He actually gives a fuck if I live or die.
It is unbelievable to me how SOME - not all, some of my docs are AWESOME - treat me like it’s irrelevant to them whether I live or die.
After I got my blood drawn while I WAS IN BED on Friday, I started thinking about what a travesty it is that I have to work SO hard to get to all these appointments when I am the sick person! Like what the fuck!? Why should I have to drive all over a city that has had terrible urban planning and is in total denial about the population surge?
Now it’s looking more and more like I’ll have to leave the state to get help with my GI.
Dr. Huang is very concerned that I’m only able to eat 3 eggs per day. I am very concerned as well. It’s only 18g of protein - I need around 50/60g per day - ESPECIALLY since my immune system is compromised and I’m trying to stave off cancer. Nothing works right when protein is too low. He knows that. I know that.
The collagen isn’t going to cut it. So I’m texting with bestie now trying to figure out which whey products will work (thank goodness she is such a food experimenter - when we were kids, she was the one that would try something super random that most children wouldn’t eat. The problem is I can’t do smoothies anymore. They warn you when you’re starting chemotherapy: don’t eat your favorite foods while in treatment!
I drank/ate at least 2 smoothies a day for MONTHS after the surgery where I lost the four organs in 2014. Smoothies, this Arrowhead gruel-like cream of wheat but not wheat, I can’t remember, and eggs. That was it for several months and then I slowly added in some other foods.
I remember my mom putting smoothies in front of me during treatment and even then, I was starting to be so disgusted by it. I definitely can’t do anything thick in a drink form. If we can get small amounts of protein powder per liquid - the ratio has to just right so that I don’t gag and my gut has enough liquid to move the powder through. I don’t know how to describe what it feels like but - I guess like sludge. Too much powder with not enough movement or liquid gets stuck in twists and turns of my intestines.
I think if I do it close to the time that I’m drinking broth AND giving myself IV fluids AND doing movement like stretching or walking, I should be able to tolerate at least a tablespoon to start.
This is the shit I’m thinking about ALL FUCKING DAY. If I do this…should I do this? Should I bother going back to that doctor again? Is going across country to Hopkins worth it? Or do I start at Stanford where I have no warm leads? How long can I survive outside of my cocoon? Oh shit, I forgot to order more estrogen patches! And pick up nature-thyroid! Why do I have prescriptions at THREE pharmacies now and that’s not including compound? I have to get that streamlined - ok add to list for Sarah to help with. We’ve got a LOT to work on….
And get this: it looks like I’m eligible for more food benefits BUT but but….I have to prove that my out-of-pocket medical expenses exceed a certain amount. I don’t know, my friend Jenn is helping me. My head is spinning from trying to manage all of this, and make sure I can think straight on such a weird diet. It’s great news about the benefits, except the part where I have to track down every single receipt, invoice, whatever to prove my expenses.
The government does not mess around. They make you work for every fucking cent, even after I served my community for 30 years as a tax-paying worker. No dignity.
The system does not allow us any dignity. It’s begging, and scraping and keeping people in the cycle of poverty.
It’s fucked up is what it is.
Meanwhile, so many people sticking their head in the sand.
Like that will make the bad thing go away. I’ve tried it. Doesn’t work.
I’m off to meet an old friend from the Food Movement days in New York City! She came to town and is going to help me figure out essential oils which I’m super excited to learn!
It’s a lot for me to do on a Saturday - I usually sleep most of the day - but because I had a light week of doctor appointments, that allows for a few activities that are crucial to survival.
Amazing how focused on survival we can get - and I realize I’m nowhere near refugees fleeing war-torn countries or villagers being massacred or a disease ravaging entire towns. I get that.
I just wonder if most Americans get that. The survival skills I see around here…are super depressing. I mean, if survival means ordering the perfect cup of coffee while heading to yoga class - then yes, everyone is GOOD TO GO. If the country devolves into more cartel type leadership and street gangs like many, many places in Latin America?
I digress. I’m trying to stick to my own personal story here! But when my survival is tied up with people who are in denial…it can get a little tricky. Fortunately, I have some amazing people coming through. Including my old friend that I need to get ready to meet!