Letter from Lisa Finley

My name is Lisa Finley and I am 36 years old. I have suffered from chronic headaches/migraines for the last 11 years. In April, 2004 after suffering from a headache for a whole week I was at my “wits end”. Let me share a little history with you to explain the reason why. In the last 11 years I have been to two Ears, Nose, and Throat (“ENT”) doctors, three Chiropractors, and two Neurologists. I began with the ENTs when my Gynecologist thought my headaches were really Sinus Infections, however, none of their medications offered relief. I did a series of strong antibiotics and all I got was a terrible yeast infection. I did several different types of nose drops which offered no relief from the headaches but made my stomach upset and made me very nauseated.

After the endless visits, medication, co-pays and tests with both ENTs, I gave up and believed that headaches were just going to be part of my life. However, as the years progressed my headaches became more common and lasted longer. In fact, it was a good week if I had my headache during the week and it was gone on Saturday and Sunday. I also, tried three different chiropractors in hope that they could provide me with some relief and actually one of them did, but the price I had to pay for this relief was more than I could afford. The one Chiropractor said I would have to come to him three times a week for two years in order to be “cured”. At $50.00 a visit I would be in the “poor house” before I was cured. When I stopped going I had a headache for a month and nothing, I mean nothing offered me any relief.

In 1999 I became engaged and having a constant headache made this a very difficult time. I would rather stay in bed instead of planning for my wedding. So, my Gynecologist suggested a Neurologist. The first one offered all of the new pharmaceutical products on the market for migraines. Each week I came he would meet with me and ask how did the medication prescribed the week before work and my responses ranged from: it didn’t; it made my stomach upset; made me nauseated; gave me the “shakes”; and sometimes all of the above. So each time he would say well try this one and come see me next week and we’ll see how you’re doing. Well “we” were tired of all the side effects and decided this was not the physician for me. The next Neurologist began with the medication but since I had tried all of them currently on the market he started doing actual test. I had an EKG, MRI, and a CAT scan. Each time the test results came back negative, and I was told there was nothing else that could be done for me.

So during this time period I became married, went to Grad School and changed careers. All of these were stressful situations, which were intensified by doing all of this with a constant nagging headache. These headaches often woke me up from my sleep because the pain was so intense. They would make my hand shakes and I would break out in a cold sweat because of the pain. I also researched many websites and tried Magnesium, Calcium, Riboflavin and supplements for migraines, but to no avail. Yet, as a mentioned before after all these years I felt that my life would always be plagued by headaches. Until April, 2004, I was home from work with a headache that had lasted for seven days. I could not take the pain anymore and I was on the Internet just crying trying to find something that would provide me some relief. I looked on my medical insurance website and found alternative medicine and one of the alternatives was acupuncture. So I began my Internet search to find out what was being said about acupuncture and providing relief from headaches. Everything I found stated that this could be the answer I had been looking for.

So I made an appointment with my acupuncturist, Cheryl Turner for the next day and lo and behold I found relief. She actually took the time to hear my complaints, my medical history, and carefully listened to my sensitivity to medication. Where Western physicians disregarded my sensitivity to side effects whenever I took medication, Cheryl did not. The herbs that were prescribed for me took my sensitivity in to consideration. After my first treatment I was hooked. I could not believe that a headache I had for over eight days was actually gone!! Of course it took several treatments before my headaches became the distant memory that they are today but they did get better. They stayed gone for longer periods of time and when I did get one it was gone in a couple of hours. I could even take generic aspirin and it would go away, never had that happen before.

Well, I had another issue that I felt my Cheryl could help me with. I mean after all if she could get rid of 11 years of chronic headaches, just maybe she could help me with an illness I had been suffering with for 26 years and that was endometriosis. I began having my monthly periods at the age of 10 years of age and from that point on things were never quite the same. I suffered from terrible cramps, heavy bleeding (including clots), vomiting and diarrhea each and every month. Along, with these symptoms my period lasted for 7-9 days. When I turned 12 years old my pediatrician put me on 800 mg of Motrin, which worked like a charm for the first three months and then it was no longer effective. I then tried Pamprin, Midol, and anything else that friends told me helped their cramps but they did not work for me. During Middle School and part of High School I had a Truancy Officer looking for me each school year because I could not go to school each month for a week when I got my period. So I easily missed at least 50 days of school each year.

By the time I reached the age of 16 I began having a period every two weeks and then my mother took me to my first gynecology appointment. Of course, the obvious solution was to put me on birth control pills. Which worked wonderfully, and that appeared to be an end to the terrible periods. There were no cramps, clots, vomiting, diarrhea, nor periods that lasted for 7-9 days. Finally, I could have a normal life.

When I turned 20 the pills were not working for my period pain. So my gynecologist tried different monophasic and triphasic pills but no relief came. Then he decided he would do exploratory surgery to see if I had endometriosis and the surgery showed that I did, which he then removed through the use of laser treatment. So again relief was provided for another three years. The endometriosis returned and with a vengeance. This time, I had constant pain. When I went to the bathroom, when I sat, stood, during intercourse, just constantly, and it was also accompanied with constant lower back pain that made it difficult to walk. This time when the surgery was done to remove the endometriosis the doctor performed a L.U.N.A. which was a procedure that he guaranteed would provide me with total pain relief because this procedure severed the nerves in my uterus and cul-de-sac. As fate would have it, since I am always an exception to every rule this procedure did not provide the relief that I was told that it would. So my “wonderful” western doctor offered to put me on anti-depressants because he said that there must be something wrong with me if the procedure did not work. Thus, I learned to stop complaining about pain because if I didn’t, I would have another diagnosis attached to my medical records — psychotic.

So I accepted my plight, for fear of what would be thought about me if I didn’t. That is until I met my wonderful acupuncturist, Cheryl Turner. She taught me that it was alright to complain because what I was feeling was not only real but that freedom from pain could be obtained. Who would ever have thought that I could have a period that lasted only 4-5 days and that I wouldn’t even know that I started my period until I go to the restroom and “see” that I have started. After just three short months I am pain free. I no longer cry when I start my period because I am confident that there will be no debilitating cramps, vomiting, clots, absolutely nothing!!!! I am free to enjoy my life, pain free.

Anyone that knows the depression, discomfort, frustration, and pain that comes with endometriosis can imagine my happiness in finally living a pain-free existence. Last year I went to my gynecologist complaining about my pain and he told me that I had two choices until I went through menopause: continue with hormones and the side effects that come with them or surgery. Yet, my Cheryl worked with me trying various herbs and acupuncture treatment until I became totally free from pain. I can not thank her enough or show her enough gratitude in releasing me from the bondage of endometriosis. Take it from someone who has lived through this nightmare for 26 years that acupuncture is the solution for each and every woman that is living with this dreadful disease.