Friday, March 27, 2009

Healing Facial Palsy with Chinese Medicine

I wrote this post for my Chinese Doctor's Blog. He had it translated into Mandarin. His blog can be found HERE.



A case of facial palsy caused by brain tumor surgery

On July 31, 2007, I underwent 12 hours of brain surgery to have a 4.5 cm brain tumor removed. It’s known in layman’s terms as an “acoustic neuroma.” An acoustic neuroma (also known as a vestibular schwannoma ) is a rare, but benign, usually slow-growing tumor on the vestibular portion of the eighth cranial nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain.
2007年7月31日,我經歷了12小時的腦部手術,摘除腦部4.5厘米腫瘤。簡單的說是一個“聽神經瘤”。聽神經瘤(也稱為前庭神經鞘瘤)是在第八對腦神經的前庭部分的一個罕見,但是良性,通常生長緩慢的腫瘤,由內耳連接到腦子。
Just to backtrack, let me list the symptoms that led up to my diagnosis. Prior to the surgery, I had been suffering with tinnitus (ringing in my ears) for 8 years – starting in 1999. A few years after the tinnitus started, my tongue started to feel numb. In 2006, while living in Taipei for 6 months, I started seeing “lightning bolts.” I went to an eye doctor , because I feared I had a detached retina. He said that my retina was fine, and attributed my vision of these lightning bolts as a symptom of “old age.” I was 43 years old!
話說回來,讓我列出我的診斷症狀,手術前,我就受到耳鳴困擾(鈴聲在我的耳朵) 8年前-從1999年開始發生的,幾年後,耳鳴開始,我的舌頭開始感到麻木,2006年,雖然生活在台北6個月,我開始看到“閃電。於是我去看眼科醫生,因為我擔心我的視網膜脫落。
他說,我的視網膜沒問題,並說這”閃電”可能是由於“年老”。 ”我才43歲!
My symptoms began to get worse in the spring of 2007. I started to get sharp headaches, and I NEVER got headaches except as a young child before getting glasses. Even scarier than the headaches were episodes of dizziness that were so bad I couldn’t walk – I would just wait several minutes for the dizziness to subside. I told my doctor about the dizziness, visions of “lightning bolts,” and severe headaches, but she brushed these symptoms off and told me I had “ocular migraine headaches.” She gave me pamphlets to read and basically said there is little help available for migraines.
2007年春天我的症狀開始變得更糟了。我開始感受劇烈頭痛,事實上 我從來沒有頭痛過,除了兒童時期,我戴了眼鏡時有這樣的經驗之外。更可怕的不只是頭痛、頭暈發作,而是我不能走-我只想等待幾分鐘讓頭暈緩解。我告訴醫生 頭暈症狀像“閃電”般的劇烈頭痛,但她並不重視這些症狀,並告訴我有“視覺偏頭痛”。她給我一本小冊子閱讀,並說對我的偏頭痛有幫助。

I had brain surgery en route to relocating from San Diego to Taipei. After leaving San Diego my husband, Sujoy and my daughter, Anjoli and I flew to the east coast of the United States for a 2-week visit with my family in Massachusetts. While sightseeing one day with my family, the dizziness was just awful – so bad that my cousin, who I was visiting at the time, told me that I was not to set foot on the plane without seeing a doctor in Massachusetts first. So, I ended up visiting the emergency room at a hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and within 20 minutes of having a CT scan, I was correctly diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma! I was relieved; because I had a feeling I had a brain tumor.

在離開聖地亞哥之後,我和丈夫Sujoy及女兒Anjoli,飛往美國東海岸2週,拜訪我在麻薩諸塞州的家人。 有一天與我的家人出遊時,我的頭暈症狀又發生了,我的表哥告訴我說,在我還沒回去之前他可以介紹我一個在麻薩諸塞州的名醫。我最後到了麻薩諸塞州 Plymouth一家醫院的急診室,做了20分鐘的CT掃描,我被正確的診斷為前庭神經鞘瘤!我很欣慰,因為我終於得知結果了”我有腦腫瘤”。

I was sent by ambulance an hour north to Massachusetts General Hospital. My brain tumor, though benign, was life threatening. It was very large and had been pressing against my brain stem.
我被送上救護車,並開了一個小時到北麻省總醫院。我的腦腫瘤,雖是良性的,但會危及我的生命。這是非常危險的並已對我的腦幹造成壓迫。
A few days after arriving in Boston, a team of the top surgeons and Ear Nose and Throat doctors operated on me. As I mentioned, the surgery was quite lengthy – 12 hours! An excellent team of doctors removed the entire tumor. My neurosurgeon was Dr. Fred Barker and my ear doctor, from Mass. Eye and Ear was Dr. Michael McKenna.
幾天後我抵達到了波士頓,耳神經外科以及喉科醫生組成了醫師團隊為我執行了手術,如我所提及的12個小時的手術是非常冗長的,醫師團隊成功的為我移除了腫瘤,我感謝替我動手術的醫生—佛瑞德貝克和麥可邁可納。
I was not afraid AT ALL going into the surgery, for I knew I was in good hands, in one of the best hospitals in the world. I placed my life in God’s hands, and knew that, through the doctors, He would take care of me.
整個手術過程當中我一點也不害怕。我相信為我操刀的醫生。我把我的生命交給耶穌。我相信祂會保佑我的。
Following the surgery, I experienced somewhat severe facial paralysis, also known as “Bell’s Palsy.” This was deeply upsetting to me, and I became very depressed. I also had terrible pain in my neck and at the “wound” area of the surgery. Also, since the tumor grew around my nerve for hearing, I lost 100% of my hearing in my left ear.
I couldn’t close my left eye, and had a gold weight inserted on my left eyelid so I could close it. Also, after leaving the hospital I experienced terrible insomnia. This was quite disturbing to me, since I knew that my recovery was contingent upon adequate rest.
手術之後發生了後遺症,我的顏面神經癱瘓了,也就是所 謂的貝爾氏麻痹(Bell’s Palsy)這使得我變得非常沮喪,同時間我頸部開刀的傷口處也產生劇烈的疼痛,也由於腫瘤長在我聽神經的附近,開刀後我喪失了左耳全部的聽力,我也無法 闔上輕易的闔上左眼,離開醫院後,我嚴重的失眠,這使我相當的困擾,因為我知道適當的休息可以讓我的健康恢復。
My husband and daughter flew to Taipei a few weeks after my surgery, as my daughter had to start 4th grade at the Taipei American School. I missed them terribly. It was awful to have to recover from major surgery without them. I asked for special permission to fly to Taipei after recovering for just 4 weeks.
手術之後我丈夫和女兒從台北飛來美國看我,我非常的想念他們,之後我向醫院申請出院許可跟他們一起飛到台北,
About a week after landing in Taipei, I visited general practitioner Dr. Gao in Tienmou to see if he could refer me to a good neurosurgeon for follow up appointments, but mainly to obtain a prescription for antidepressants.
一個禮拜後我抵達到台北,我拜訪了位在天母的醫院-高醫生,請他介紹神經醫生給我,讓我能繼續治療,主要也希望能得到抗憂鬱的治療藥方。

Dr. Gao was so kind to me. I broke down and cried while telling him of my surgery and he could clearly see how severe my facial palsy was. He held my hands and said, “of course you are UPSET! You are experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome!”
I asked him if he could also recommend a good Chinese Medicine doctor, as my neurosurgeon recommended that I try acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. (My neurosurgeon told me that he knew nothing about Chinese Medicine, but that it “couldn’t hurt to try!”).
高醫生對我非常的親切,當他檢視我左臉的面癱時,我再也止不住我的淚水,並 且跟高醫生敘述我開刀的經過. 高醫生握緊我的手並感同身受的告訴我,他知道我很沮喪,同時他也告訴我正經歷著創傷後壓力症候群,我問高醫生能否介紹我一位好的中醫師,因為我在美國的主 治醫師告訴我能試試中醫療法。

Dr. Gao told me that he once had an episode of hearing loss in one of his ears, so he visited Dr. Chang. To Dr. Gao’s delight, Dr. Chang restored Dr. Gao’s hearing. Dr. Gao spoke highly of Dr. Chang, and explained that he was a well-respected and highly reputable doctor – one of the best in the field of Chinese Medicine in Taiwan.
高醫師告訴我,他曾經患有聽力受損,並尋求張醫師醫治。高醫師開心的說,張醫師治愈了他的聽力,並且對張醫師有高度評價,還說張醫師是一個值得尊重和高度信賴的醫生-可以說是最棒的台灣中醫師之一。

So, in October of 2007 I visited Dr. Chang. He told me that he had success in treating facial palsy. I was so happy. He gave me powdered Chinese medicine and a special herbal tea (a “secret” blend of his). He told me that it would most likely be a very slow recovery since the tumor that was removed was so large. I felt better just visiting him; he is so caring, calm and positive.
2007年10月,我見了張醫師,他告訴我他有成功治療面神經麻痺的經驗,我聽了真是非常 開心,他開了粉狀中藥和特殊藥茶給我(自製秘方)。他告訴我:由於之前腫瘤太大,所以需要一段緩慢而長的時間才有可能復原。我很開心我見到他,他讓我感受 到溫暖並且給我正面想法和態度去面對我的病症。

So, I went to Dr. Chang who had me come three times per week for acupuncture and moxibustion treatments. I had read that for facial palsy, it was necessary to receive both moxibustion and acupuncture. Moxibustion is the application of heat resulting from the burning of a small bundle of tightly bound mugwort leaves to targeted acupoints.
我四個月前開始到張醫師診所進行針灸治療,我曾經讀過關於面癱的中醫治療是需要針灸同治的,至於灸法乃是燃燒一小束艾葉並施於穴位之上的一種療法。

Within 2-3 weeks of visiting Dr. Chang, I no longer had insomnia! THAT was a HUGE miracle, in my eyes. About a month after starting treatment with Dr. Chang I ran in the Terry Fox Run for Cancer – a 5k run!
經過2~3週張醫師的治療之後,我再也不失眠了,此外對我已經受損的雙眼來說,這真是很大的奇蹟,經過張醫師治療一個月之後,我就可以參加5公里的慈善長跑。
As I mentioned, I had (and still have) a platinum weight inserted in my left eyelid to help it close. Even with this weight, I could not close my left eye when I laid down on Dr. Chang’s table for my treatments. I had to close it with my index finger. Within about a month of taking Dr. Chang’s herbs and receiving acupuncture treatments, I was able to close my left eye without using my index finger.
如同我說的,我左眼皮還是閉合不全,當我躺在張醫師的治療床時,我只能用食指來閉上我的左眼皮,經過張醫師中醫治療一個月之後,我已經不再需要使用手指來閉上我的眼皮了。
My husband and I watched carefully for signs of healing from the Bell’s Palsy. Prior to getting acupuncture, the left side of my face was quite slack, and my eyebrows were quite uneven – as you can see in the “before” picture. Gradually, we noticed that my eyebrows became even and I started to develop a nasolabial fold on the left side of my face. I did not have a nasolabial fold after the surgery. (Nasolabial folds are the deep folds that run from the side of the nose to the corner of the mouth). My mouth, which sloped down on my left side slowly started to straighten over time.
我丈夫和我仔細看了的我的面癱有恢復跡象。針灸之前,我左邊的臉是很鬆弛的,我的眉毛很歪斜不 正-正如你所看到的“之前”圖片,逐漸的,我們注意到我的眉毛還有鼻唇溝開始與右邊的臉變得對稱了(鼻唇溝是側面鼻子的嘴角的交合處)。我的嘴巴,這對我 的斜面左側慢慢開始整頓隨著時間的推移。
By January of 2008, many people were commenting on how much by face had improved.My eyebrows were even and my mouth was nearly straight. I was much happier and the anti-depressants helped take care of my depression. I continued to exercise regularly which helped a great deal. (I still exercise regularly, of course!).
2008年1月,許多人都說我的臉有了很大的改善。我的眉毛還有我的嘴幾乎回復成直線了,我也很開心抗抑鬱藥也幫助我的抑鬱症有所改善,因為我還是繼續保持運動習慣,這是一個不錯的紓壓方式。(我還經常運動,當然! ) 。

By December of 2008, ALL of my pain – in my neck and in my head (at the wound site) disappeared. This was a great relief to me. I think the recovery from the surgery is just very lengthy, but I have no doubt that Dr. Chang’s medicines helped aid my recovery.
2008年12月之後,我的肩頸及頭痛都消失了,這對我而言是一個解脫,我想從手術到復原的過程是一段很長的路,但是無庸置疑張醫師的醫術幫助我恢復健康。

Even though my face was improving and the pain had subsided, I complained to Dr. Chang that I was ALWAYS tired. I was SO tired of feeling tired! Dr. Chang explained that I need to tonify my “chi.” Chi is the body’s life energy. So, in November of 2008, Dr. Chang prescribed his “cooked medicine” to me. Every day, I cook a wonderful mixture of all kinds of herbs – flowers, pieces of what look like bark and twigs, and small muslin bags of herbs in 1400 ml of water in a ceramic pot for one and a half hours. I am THRILLED to say that, within a week of taking Dr. Chang’s “cooked medicine,” I finally had energy! I can honestly say that I have never felt so good as I have been since taking this medicine. I drink one cup in the morning and one cup in the afternoon. I have energy, I feel strong and I no longer have “brain fog.” I have recently become addicted to crossword puzzles – and my mind has never been sharper! I complete them very quickly!
雖然我的臉及疼痛已經改善,但是我還是跟張醫師抱怨我 總是感到非常疲勞,張醫師說我需要補氣,氣可以說是能量,所以2008年11月張醫師開了處方煎煮藥給我,這些處方有花類、樹根、樹枝等藥草都用紗袋包 裝,用1400cc的水煎煮,我很激動地說,服用張醫師的處方不到一週,我的體力開始回復了,誠實的說,自從服藥以來我從沒感覺這麼好過,每天早上及下午 各服用一杯中藥,我體力回來了,頭腦也不再混沌了,我最近迷上填字遊戲,也可以很快速的完成遊戲。

At present (February, 2009) my Bell’s Palsy continues to improve. My smile on my left side is slowly turning upward, although my mouth still is uneven with an open mouthed smile. I now keep my mouth closed when I smile for pictures, but I will never stop smiling/laughing when I am NOT posing, of course!
2009年2月我面癱的情況持續有好轉,微笑時左臉的肌肉也可以運作稍微正常,雖然我的嘴巴在我開口笑時還不是很對稱,但是我還是會保持微笑。
I am so grateful for the wonderful medical care I have received during such a tumultuous health crisis. Drs. Barker and McKenna did a wonderful job debulking my tumor - and since they were able to remove tumor in its entirety, the chances of it regrowing are slim. I had an MRI about one year after my surgery and the MRI showed NO signs of tumor regrowth! Phew!
再經過這樣健康危機後,我很慶幸我得到這樣的妥善的治療,Drs. Barker and McKenna成功的幫我開了腦部手術,而且再復發的機會也不高。我之後也照了MRI,報告也顯示出沒有腫瘤的跡象。
I know that the Lord was watching out for me when he led me to ALL of these doctors, especially Dr. Chang. I still receive acupuncture twice a week. I look forward to my acupuncture visits. I always feel peaceful after seeing him and his kind, dedicated staff. Dr. Chang gave me hope when I needed it most. He is an answer to my prayers.
我知道上帝一直眷顧著我,並引領我接觸這些幫助過我的醫生—特別是張醫生,我現在仍然接受一個禮拜2次的中醫醫治,並期待保持長期的治療。見到張醫生和他的工作團隊我總是心裡感到平和,張醫生的治療帶給我希望。


Note: In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbs, I regularly take the following supplements: a "women's" multivitamin (multivitamin plus various herbs - they can be found in all health food stores), B vitamin complex, Omega-3 purified fish oil - which contains both DHA and EPA, and Co-Q 10. For one year I took a mushroom extract which was a blend of 7 mushrooms. It's called Stamet's 7 and can be ordered HERE.
This formula is a blend of Himematsutake, Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake, Lion's Mane, Zhu Ling and Yun Zhi mushrooms.



Me, September 2007. This photo was taken about a week before I started to treatment with Dr. Chang.




These pictures were taken on February 4, 2009. Apologies for the quality. I took them using a mirror. (It was a "good face day!"). I believe the weight on my left eye is not needed now...it's weighing down my eye too much, so I am going to have it removed soon.




This is a recent photo, taken in January, 2011. Three and a half years post-surgery.






Here is a picture of the herbs I take before cooking them:




This is my "magic cauldron" that I cook them in!




This is the magic potion I drink every day! YUM!

19 comments:

Ratty Rach said...

wow sue that was a great read in that it was really inspiring, loved it, and you look fantastic too! You are and have been soooooo brave - not sure I could have been the same. XX

Suesjoy said...

Thank you sweetie!!
Glad you enjoyed it.
Now GIT blogging,woman!
:)
xx

VanO said...

I get teary-eyed when i read this. Sad for what you went through but ecstatic that you've come through it so well ...
You're a real inspiration ... and the Chinese medecine is fascinating
Thanks for sharing this, you're my hero!

ahva-rahn said...

Hi Chum!

You are looking mighty fine. I hope the darkness goes away. Looks like you could make a nice risotto with that herbal stuff.

Be well
P
x

VanO said...

...and I love the recent pictures. Still pretty as ever and looking a like your work-out routine is paying off since the holiday pic's you posted on FB.

xoxo

Suesjoy said...

DUDES!
you are evah so kind.
hey not a bad idea Paul!
I am quite the gourmand these days.
I am MUCH more chipper too,btw! Going to stop the Lexapro soon. I hate having to take it- I think if I keep working out like a maniac I can keep the blues at bay.
xxxxx

Lucy said...

Just real quick (coz I'm tired this Friday night....)

You are looking really Hot in those last pics. nice and SKINNY! (you should see my new spare tire! arghhh.... sigh.)

I'll be back later to read (and comment more)...

GREAT STORY (from what I've skimmed so far) Thank God you're here. What an ordeal.

grace said...

You are looking good my friend!

xoxox Grace

:)

Suesjoy said...

Thanks Lucy and Grace!
aw...it was just a fluke...like I said it was a "good face day!"


Dr. Chang is taking Dr. Gao and I out for a Japanese lunch week in a few weeks. It's "take your favorite CASE to lunch day" in Taiwan...

hee hee hee.

:)

LMS said...

You inspire me!

VallyP said...

Oh Sue, I'm sooo late coming here, but have been so much inspired by your account of your trauma and subsequent recovery. What amazing doctors you have found, and what courage you have had in coping and recovering. You are a marvel, dear Sue, and an example to me. Whenever I get tired and cast down about life, I shall think fo you, dear Sue.

BTW you are beautiful too! xx

Gina said...

You are beautiful inside and out my dear friend.

Dan L. said...

Sue:

I am so amazed...AMAZED, that you spent the time to type so much that you did! Oh, so much it is...a very pure, and honest revelation you have shared!

I will pray so much for you!

My own wife, Cruz, is in dire straits. She, even tonight, required the fire dept. to help us rescue her from oblivion. She is on dialysis, she has MANY other health issues, I am so sad, my kids also suffer with all of this stuff....I know the pains, I can almost....but not quite....know your pain. I, and my wife, lost our Mothers due to disturbing circumstances....me at age 4, she at age 17.

Take care, you are definitely a fighter plus 10....

--Dan L.

Suesjoy said...

My dear sweeties-
Laura,Val, Gina and Dan...
thank you so much!
I am humbled.

Dan- I will keep your Cruz in MY prayers. I am so so sorry to hear about her health problems. I know how in love you are STILL. It makes my heart ache.

Much love to all of you.

xxxxxxxxxx

Fleur de Bee said...

What a marvelous post Swho sweetie! I think you look so so amazing! What amazing results!! Keep it up!!

Loads of kisses!!

xoxo Mols

God speed.. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
God speed.. said...

wow sue.. what a wonderful story full of positive things and your strength and spirit is admirable.. I can't believe you do all the things you do and your courage is admirable.. This is sooooooo useful.. great story... you look brilliant now and even when I met you.. i could have never guessed there was anything different in your face .... your heart shines thru your face.. always a star !!! from aparna

Suesjoy said...

Thank you, Aparna! You are too sweet.


XOXOXO

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