December 31st, 2008



I went for an acupuncture treatment yesterday, since I read that it might be an effective way to help recover from my neuropathy. (The chemo treatment damaged the nerves in my feet and arms, and as a result I have chronic pain and lack of feeling in my feet.) Everyone mentions how acupuncture doesn't really hurt, and it was true that the piercing of the skin felt like a painless prick (when I could feel it at all). However, my acupuncturist then would try to find a nerve, which makes sense since she was trying to treat my neuropathy. But she would try to use feedback from me to figure out when she'd reach the right place. From my perspective, I would feel nothing for a bit and then there would be a sharp shooting pain going through my arm or foot. Often times I would literally jump. It's possible that my neuropathy, or my painkillers, make it difficult for me to feel low-grade pain sensation and only alert me when the pain gets extreme. But it definitely wasn't the painless and sometimes euphoric experience that I was led to expect.

The good news is that my nerves seem to still be alive, even in my feet. Also, I confirmed that the soreness I feel in my wrists & arms is in fact nerve pain. But I'm really not sure if the treatment was a good idea. My wrists and arms have been hurting quite a bit more than they did before the treatment, especially around the time the painkillers run out. For my feet, the sensation did eventually become a pleasant one, but I'm not sure if there's any lasting benefit, and there's definitely some pain around some of the puncture points there, too. So even though I made an appointment for next week, I'm not sure I will return, especially if the pain persists for more than a couple of days.

At least the cost of the session should be tax-deductible. I noticed during my accounting that we will probably exceed the 7.5% of AGI floor for medical expenses this year. This motivated me to go and pay off the balance of my hearing aids—I had only paid for half of them when I bought them. The staff was a little confused as to why I wanted to give them money sooner than they required, but after I explained that I effectively get a 25% discount if I pay out the money now rather than next year, they were more than happy to accommodate me.