Needles and Bells
Musings about Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine
Why Dialysis Patients Need Acupuncture
March 2023: By Editorial Staff at Acupuncture Today
My Dad Has Cancer: What, Him Worry?
November 2015: My dad has been diagnosed with cancer. He’d been dealing with a mystery. Now it has a name. Cancer. The C word. Cancer is the Voldermort of disease (if you don’t know who he is, that’s because he cannot be named). Cancer strikes fear in everyone.
My dad helps people. He will do anything within his power to help someone else, and he doesn’t ask for anything in return. He builds, installs and fixes anything and everything: fences, walls, broken faucets, leaky roofs, anything electronic, and even my mom’s ridiculous yard creature decoration thingies. He will make you a pot of coffee. He will offer you a room to stay. He once crossed a flooded river for my mom, in a storm, in the dark. True story.
He (and his sister) cared for his brother during the last few months of his brother’s life. He lost his brother to cancer. He lost both his parents to emphysema and both his stepparents to lung cancer.
As amazing as he is at helping other people, in his 70’s, he’s sill learning how to take care of himself. He needs a project, an assignment, something to fix. His attention is focused outward. His body has been a tool to get things done. He seems disconnected from his body. He doesn’t know the difference between muscle “work” pain and “injury” pain. He is unable to distinguish between muscle and bone. He doesn’t know the difference between his hip and his back. Now, his body has betrayed him.
My dad has never been a leader. He serves from duty, not from vision. He serves others because he believes it is the right thing to do, not because he knows where he’s going. Throughout his life, he has declined to step into a leadership role. He would prefer someone else make the decisions. Decisions overwhelm him. He was recently elected to local office. His terms were this: “I will serve if no one else will. If someone else wants it, please remove my name from the ballot.”
My dad worries. This is no surprise to anyone who has ever met him. He will tell you he’s not worried, as he furrows his brow like a sharpei-pug puppy mix. His facial expressions and body language give him away every time. He’s a terrible liar.
So, when the mystery was solved and the diagnosis was cancer, I assumed that he would literally worry himself to death because he wouldn’t know how to fix himself. Not in touch with his body, doesn’t want to lead, and never asks for help. I was wrong.
I was absolutely wrong! We are about to enter round three of six (chemotherapy treatments). I have never seen him more positive in my 45+ years. I’ve heard people talk about how cancer has transformed their lives for the better. How being a survivor makes them appreciate life. It was difficult to understand. Now I see it. Now he has something to fix.
We never know what people are capable of until they reach their flooded river, in the storm, in the dark. He has reached his river, and he is crossing it. He doesn’t have to lead. He doesn’t have to ask for help. He is not alone. He has built his legacy by helping others. Through that legacy, he has built his team. Team Karl.
What? Acupuncture? Why Would I Do That?
I found acupuncture by mistake. I was terrified of needles. I’m still afraid of hospital style needles. In early 2012, I was training for my first Kettlebell Sport competition. I’d never been an athlete. Did I mention that I was over 40? That's why my knee and elbow were sore. Right?
Completely against my will, my Kettlebell Sport Coach made me go to an acupuncturist. I rolled my eyes at both of them. Looking back, I'm sure I was embarrassingly condescending about the “fact” that I knew the acupuncturist couldn’t help me. Obviously, she did. I didn’t even feel the needles! We fixed the elbow and knee right away and started working on the things that had plagued me for my entire adult life: ALLERGIES! And the rest, as they say... is history!
By the way, acupuncture needles are tiny, tiny, tiny! Closer to the size of a human hair than of those horrifyingly ginormous hospital needles. Yet, they can be amazingly powerful! I specialize in a style of acupuncture that is comfortable, safe, and effective. It’s excellent for chronic conditions such as diabetes, allergies, and autoimmunities. Also, acupuncture ROCKS at supporting the body during times of crisis such as emotional trauma or chemotherapy.