I wish I had Taken my Reflexologist More Seriously
Seven years ago I was visiting my reflexologist at six weekly intervals, which I fully believe kept my whole body working correctly, and without pain. This was following decades, pre reflexology, of back problems, chiropractors, acupuncture, etc. when stress was causing the muscles to tighten and 'pull' my back out! I was enjoying life again, swimming and dancing, caring for my grandchild of five years, with the lifting that entails, all without a problem.
However, I then began to suffer from a 'blocked' right ear, had difficulty hearing and experienced pain gradually spreading across the right side of my face.
Over a period of two years, my Doctor syringed, medicated, did what he could, and sent me to an ENT Specialist. I was told there was 'nothing to worry about, just tiny ear canals and a wax build-up'. So the Specialist used a minute syringe and cleared the wax. The pain went, and the relief from the distorted hearing was great! Over the next five years on my visits for Reflexology, I was told 'there seems to be some blockage there'. I agreed the problem was returning. My therapist tried more in-depth reflexology, 'Hopi' Candles, with plenty of wax showing in the analysis from the left ear, but none from the right. Odd! Three times over those five years I was sent back to ENT by my Dr when the pain became unbearable and had the usual mini syringe procedure, but each time it cleared less!
Finally, with encouragement from my Reflexologist, I asked to be referred for a Scan. This took place, with a following letter to me saying I had 'a tumour, called an Acoustic Neuroma, growing from the balance and hearing nerves'. Major shock! I had an immediate appointment with the Specialist, with no apology for missing the tumour, and the option he recommended was that 'they are benign and grow very slowly, so I should just leave it to be monitored over the next few years. Then I was sent to see the Neurosurgeon for a second opinion, who said 'it measures 1.8cm and at 2cm is very dangerous to operate on as it is so near the brain.
There is a 1:200 chance of death on the table, a 95% chance of Cerebral Palsy and you WILL lose your hearing and balance on your right side as I have to cut those nerves to remove the tumour. Then it will be gone for good, that's the good news! The other option was Radiotherapy, which would mean re-treating if it grew again, and never cure it! However, during the previous five years, I had taken out Private Medical Insurance, so as not to put-on my married sons and families and expect them to care for me whilst waiting for treatment in my future years, if ill! When this was mentioned, I was immediately offered Specialist Treatment in London - Gamma Knife (radiation rays fired at the tumour in one hour-long treatment)! Wonderful, as there would be minimal temporary balance problems whilst the tumour reacted to the procedure over the following year. It swells for about six months, and as it increases in size puts pressure on the brain and surrounding area, therefore creating much more pain. Then over the next six months, the pain would decrease. The pain was 24/7 between a bad toothache and feeling as if my head was going to burst!
I had monthly Reflexology Sessions (I didn't need them more often as they worked so well), totally decreasing the sometimes violent pain, helping my balance and so totally keeping me calm and my whole system working well, therefore healing as rapidly as possible.
The support of a Therapist, who spends time getting to know you in mind and body and how your 'normal' body feels, just from working on your feet, plus the bonus of being able to share thoughts and problems, helps so much; and they UNDERSTAND, they have more time to listen. They have more time to spend (usually 1 hour) working on JUST YOU, and generally taking you through the whole experience without having to offload on family or friends too much!
I easily kept my sense of humour through the whole three years from diagnosis until now. I did all the normal things but used a stick a few times mid-term when off balance and out walking. I am 67 now and have had the 'all-clear', with the only down-side a loss of hearing in my right ear. Oh well, I have another! I cannot stress how I wish I had taken my reflexologist more seriously and TOLD my Dr. years earlier that I needed a scan, or stood up to the E.N.T. Specialist with more conviction. We tend to think they know everything and are always right. In my opinion, a reflexologist can pick up the smallest difference in your body, which may be nothing at all, but PLEASE don't hesitate if advised of a change: go to your Dr and insist. I had a lucky escape with my Insurance allowing me a new treatment in this country which is so much safer, no cuts or infection either! If I had been diagnosed seven years ago the tumour would have been so tiny, and it would not, therefore, have been such a dangerous operation.
I will always have Reflexology as it is non-invasive, very relaxing and pleasant, keeps your system working as it should, and most importantly picks up anything untoward! It's also just 'time-out' and a treat - why shouldn't we have one?
"Reflexology and Acoustic Neuroma" A Clients Account by Sue Invernizzi
N.B. No member of Professional Reflexology (PRM) will ever claim to cure or diagnose.