My Treatment at Clear Passage: Part 1

This is hanging on the wall at the Clear Passage location I visit.

This is hanging on the wall at the Clear Passage location I visit.

I’ve received a lot of questions about the treatment I shared that I was undergoing for post-surgical adhesions.

Most of the questions center around a couple of things: What is it like? And, It sounds excruciating. Which really isn’t a question, but a valid concern.

So here is a look at how my appointments go. This post is officially TMI. So if you are squeamish about medical stuff, then just skip this one, okay?

I arrived at Clear Passage to meet my therapist at 7am Tuesday morning. She greeted me with a warm hug and it immediately put me at ease. I had spent the previous evening filing out a detailed medical history and I was feeling pretty vulnerable and scared that first morning. Her warm greeting really made a difference.

But I was still a little nervous.

However, I could tell within a few minutes that Mary, the therapist, was a compassionate person. She spoke to me, not my husband, about my symptoms (I’ve noticed that doctors, even females, tend to address my husband about my issues and my problems. Not cool.) While she included my husband in the conversation, she clearly respected that I would know what was up with my body better than he would. And that was surprisingly gratifying.

After only having been there for a few minutes, Mary asked me if I was hard of hearing. I am hard of hearing, and I cannot remember the last time anyone picked up on it, and certainly never that quickly. She also quickly noticed that I hear better when I can read lips and made sure that I could see her when she was speaking to me, and has continued to do so. This was another huge deal for me. There are people that have been in my life for all of my 36 years that still don’t get this, so again, her intuitiveness just put me at ease. I felt as if I was in good hands.

And really, if I could sum up the whole attitude of all of my appointments so far, they have been about putting me at ease. Even though sometimes it is difficult, painful, and just uncomfortable, everything is aimed to make it as peaceful as possible.

From the instrumental music in the background, to the lowered lights, you almost feel like you’re at a spa. I won’t go as far as to say it is pleasant, but they do everything they can to make it as comfortable as possible. A very nice change after years of cold rooms and paper gowns.

In fact, in every interaction I have had with anyone from Clear Passage, from the corporate office, to the clinic employees, compassion has permeated every conversation. You get the feeling these people are doing this because they care.

At the beginning of the appointment, Mary spent over an hour evaluating me. She measured angles of my body gently pulled on my limbs, and assessed me literally from head to toe. I had no idea just how much these problems have affected me. Things I never realized, like my posture and pain in my joints, are all affected by the tugging and scarring going on inside me.

If you are wondering what adhesions are, here is an illustration. Many women with endometriosis develop glue-like adhesions that can be incredibly painful inside the body. You can also develop adhesions, or scar tissue, after surgery, that have the same painful effect. At Clear Passage, they use the Wurn Technique to soften the tissue and release painful sticky parts inside of you. And without surgery!

owie!

owie!

Once the initial evaluation was done, Mary started in on the external treatment. She showed my husband and I how to tell when organs weren’t moving freely around and when and how to apply deep pressure to soften the hard scar tissue up. She worked on certain areas that were causing me pain, applying deep pressure and loosening things up.

She also shared some tools with us that I will be using at home. I’ll share more about those later. After two hours, it was time for a break. We went on a short walk and got a bite to eat. I was honestly dreading the next segment of my appointment, because I knew it was going to be internal work. And let’s face it, no one looks forward to that. I was also already experiencing a little soreness.

At 10am, we started back up with the second half of the appointment. This time, Mary was working internally. Something that happened the very first day was improved bladder function! When she began working on my bladder, it was stuck to adhesions and not moving freely at all. She was able to loosen it up quite a bit and I have been able to slowly increase how long I am able to go between bathroom visits. I haven’t exactly tried out a trampoline yet, but even a small improvement was seriously encouraging. My posture also improved after just one visit, an unexpected benefit.

The internal therapy was intense and uncomfortable, but throughout the entire process, Mary reminded me to let her know my level of pain. It is never supposed to go above a medium level of pain, because if it does, your body will resist treatment. She also would tell me exactly what she was doing and why, which helps, too. Sometimes, she has to hold pressure on a sensitive spot for a few minutes, and when doing so, she will chat and ask questions, getting my mind off of the discomfort. Sometimes, she is quiet, too, and always seems to know what is best in each circumstance. In those times, I practice breathing and recite scripture in my mind and pray. It is crucial to stay positive during these times.

After the internal work is done for the day, Mary ends with a more calming treatment, working in my head or neck area and calming my nervous system. I have actually fallen asleep at this point! It is a nice way to end a challenging and exhausting day.

Soreness after treatments varies from person to person. So far, I have been sore after every treatment. I do what Mary recommends and take short walks and Epsom baths to help with the soreness. I am also able to rest and take the day to relax after, which helps.

So, that’s one 4 hour therapy appointment.

I have a few appointments left and when I am finished, I will definitely let you all know the results. Meanwhile, I am still praying for a miracle :)

My Endometriosis Story

That’s a pleasant title for a blog post, no?

So many times I have tried to write about my story with the disease that has taken so much from me, but I’ve never really been able to. Usually, writing is therapeutic for me. I often say I don’t even know how I feel about something until I write about it. Writing to me is more natural than talking. Writing is how I deal.

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I don’t want to dig up all of these old emotions and deal with them again. Maybe the first time around was difficult enough.

But today, for the first time in a long time, I feel hope. Hope that I might be able to feel better, normal even.

I’ve shared a little here and on my Facebook page that I have had some health issues over the years, but I haven’t really shared any details. Because of all the reasons listed above, and then some. Endometriosis is a very misunderstood disease, and I have never felt qualified to be a spokesperson.

And frankly, I don’t want to be.

I don’t like talking about how I am unable to have any more children, because no matter how I cushion it, the fact is I have two amazing girls and for that reason alone, I should never hint at infertility. Because there are so many women who would give anything to be able to have even one. And believe me, I thank God daily that I was able to have my children at a young age before my reproductive system was ripped from my body in an attempt to cure me. It didn’t work, by the way. But that’s a story for another day.

I don’t want to talk about the daily levels of pain from my organs adhering to one another, because there are ten people I personally know that have situations worse than I do. Women that have had cancer and lifelong disabilities. So how can I possibly complain about pain?

How can I say that I have missed out on so much due to being in bed in pain or preparing for or recovering from terrible surgeries when one of my close friends passed away before her children were done growing up?

I don’t want to talk about hot flashes and weight gain and unbelievable irritability because I am still navigating the waters of menopause. And please forgive my cliché metaphor here. I don’t even want to begin to describe the brain fog that comes with menopause and pain killers. But I may be dumber right now than I was two years ago.

Some people think endometriosis is basically really bad PMS cramps.

It’s not.

Someday, I’ll share more about that.

But, not today. Because today, I have hope.

There is a clinic that has had success treating endometriosis, adhesions, infertility, and more with a specialized type of physical therapy. They will literally be breaking up the adhesions that have formed in my body due to surgeries and endo. The infertility is unfortunately already a done deal with me, since I had a complete hysterectomy. However, they have been able to help others that are facing infertility.

Previously, I had been led to believe that surgery was the only way to remove adhesions. By the way, surgery itself also causes adhesions. So if I had surgery, I might have a few months of no pain before more start forming. It is why some women my age (36) have already had 20 or more surgeries to remove adhesions that keep forming.

It is a vicious, vicious cycle.

Adhesions aren’t always painful. Some people actually have them and don’t even know it. In my case, they are positioned in such a way that causes pain so intense that I am sometimes barely able to function. I take so much ibproufen that I am afraid of what my liver and kidneys might look like. In June, I started taking stronger pain pills to get through a road trip with my daughter and now I take one daily.

I am able to have a few hours pain-free every day now, but the medication makes me feel lightheaded and disconnected. And just weird. And as I’ve been taking it, it seems to work less and less. I can really see how someone could become addicted because your body gets used to it so quickly and you feel the need for more just so it works. I have many addicts in my family history and I am determined to take only one a day. I hate how they make me feel, but I appreciate the little bit of relief it offers me.

However, it’s not how I want to spend the rest of my days.

I also don’t want to spend it lying in bed, crying.

I don’t want to spend it having a surgery a year, especially when both times I’ve had surgery, I had major complications and an increased recovery time. It’s rather… inconvenient, to say the least.

Sorry if I sound like I am whining. Again, please know how fully I understand that there are people with worse conditions. But this is my reality and it’s starting to wear me down.

Every day, I have to make the choice. A pain pill and a few hours of decreased pain and increased mobility, but feel like a zombie, OR no pain meds, a clearer head and barely able to move?

No one should have to make that choice.

Enter Clear Passage Physical Therapy.

This is the place that is giving me hope.

clear passage

I will be sharing about my experiences in the next couple of weeks. I am so full of prayers that I will be able to spread the hope that I am feeling to others. And, if it works? If I feel even 50% better and I can point women in this direction and save them from the trauma of surgery or a life full of pain killers?

That might just make everything I have been through worth it.

I mean every word of that.

If you think you might be a candidate for this therapy, I highly suggest you call and talk to a therapist. I am such an introvert that I will do just about anything to get out of talking on the phone to a stranger. But I am so glad I finally called and talked to one of the therapists.

Because that is when the hope began.

And hope is getting me through this day.

I start treatment tomorrow, on Tuesday. Will you pray for me?