Jane's Mindfulness Journal


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Websites, Google, Osteoporosis, Chi Kung: HUH?

Hello All,
This is going to be a long and convoluted post and there is no way I can tell this story without starting from the beginning and going all the way through to the end step by step. So bare with me...there is a very good reason for my writing it and hopefully it will be of service to others. It involves many diverse topics (Google, medications, Chi Kung, to name a few) but they all come together in the end. Pleasant reading.
I began practicing 7 Lotus Chi Kung about 6 months ago with a wonderful lady named Edwina, and every Wednesday evening would meet with a small but lovely and fun group of people, which got even smaller as time went by, but I always enjoyed going there, not just for the wonderful feeling I would get from the Chi Kung, and the energies the group gave me, but for my weekly meeting with a wonderful guy named Carl. He was there in the hope that Chi Kung would be the answer for him after a kidney transplant, and perhaps one day I will write more about him, but he was definitely the fun part of the week for me. In addition, I would do my best to practice Chi Kung at least 3 times at home during the week.Well, Chi Kung almost immediately began doing wonderful things for me by opening energy blockages, balancing me in many ways and in general giving me a higher level of energy than I had felt for a long time. I won't go into any specifics here but it had extremely powerful effects on me on all levels-physical, mental, energetic etc. that perhaps will be a story for a future post. About 2 months ago I was "graduated" from level I to level II and found the second level even more lovely than the first. It's purpose was to work gently on the energy level, balance chakras, balance ying and yan, and further awaken the kundalini. The movements were very different from the first level but the effects very powerful and I most enjoyed it. I had a few strange things happening to me but assumed they were part of further blockages being released and happily continued doing my Chi Kung. As the weeks went by, I began having very uncomfortable physical effects from this new level of Chi Kung (or so I believed since there was nothing else new or different in my life which could have accounted for these things)...

(you will absolutely NOT believe what just happened! Last time something like this happened to me was in my early days in India when I used to write long e-mails directly in Yahoo and have them disappear when the electricity went off or the connection was lost etc. I finally learnt to write them first in notepad or whatever and save them on the local computer and then just cut and paste later) Well, I am sitting here at work writing this very long post and thinking to myself all the time “Jane, you really should save this someplace…and kept thinking, yes, in a minute…I am in the train of thought now, don’t want to stop…Well, I wrote sooooooooooooooooo much and then, out of the blue, my computer stalled (it does this often during the day) and when I finally got it back up and running, the above is all I was able to retrieve of the post…actually, I was thankful even for that as I assumed it was all gone having been written directly on the blog. So, now I am in Word, will continue from , again, to put this all down in writing. A definite lesson in “just for today I will not get angry (with myself)” and in calm acceptance of everything that comes along!!!

OK, where were we…oh yes, strange symptoms:
Terrible leg and foot cramps, fatigue and drastic drops in blood pressure which left me completely incapacitated at times. I spoke to Edwina about these things and she assured me that Chi Kung was not dangerous in ANY way and I was sure she was correct. She even spoke to HER teacher who was somewhat surprised by my reactions but explained to Edwina ways to help me get past this period of change and still do Chi Kung. I DO believe that whatever was happening was for good reasons, and could only benefit me, but knowing myself and the extreme reactions I’ve always had to all types of treatment whether it be conventional medicine, or healing and energy work, I decided that at this very hectic point in my life I could not afford the energies I was expending on these changes and decided to stop doing Chi Kung. When my life quiets down in a few months (ha, ha) I could always go back to it. In the meantime I would spend more time on Yoga and meditation in place of and although it saddened me, I felt this was the right decision after much deep thought and deliberation. Someplace inside I felt something was not quite settled in the matter, but was at peace with my decision.

Now, onto the next, seemingly unrelated topic. A little over a year ago when I moved to Raanana, I of course found myself a new doctor who I was quite pleased with, and it turned out that he is also one of the country’s top experts on osteoporosis. After the poor results of my last two bone density scans, I discussed the matter with him, particularly since there is a serious family history of osteoporosis, I have already broken my foot with no apparent trauma to account for the break other than twisting my foot during dancing, and the fact that I have been taking calcium and vitamin D for many years as well as dancing and yoga, all seemed to suggest that perhaps I needed further treatment. In the past I had declined the suggestion of medication as what was available had serious side effects on the digestive system and as this is a particularly sensitive part of my body anyway, was not willing to take the chance. This new doctor suggested I try a new medication now available in Israel, Actonel, which has proved to be very effective in halting the advance of osteoporosis as well as rebuilding bone density after a period of use. He suggested I try for 3 months to make sure there is no digestive system problems and promised my that at the end of year, I will see positive results on my next bone density scan. I of course went and did a Google search, (and, as most of us do, looked at the first couple of pages the search produced) was convinced that it indeed has proven itself effective with much less side effects than the previous medication available and decided to give it a try despite the fact that I have always stayed away from medications. I simply had to take it once a week on an empty stomach and then sit up straight for 30 minutes. No problem at all as I do my meditation in the morning anyway. Well, I began taking it with no ill effects and was quite pleased that I was doing something positive to halt the invasion of osteoporosis and looked forward to the new bone density scan to see the wonderful effects this Actonel was having on my body.
A couple of weeks ago a full year went by since my last scan, and I went to do a new one, anxiously looking forward to the wonderful results I would see in the report. Well, when the scan results came back, not only was there no improvement, there was slight advancement in the osteoporosis! I was quite surprised and disappointed to say the least. I decided to go back to the doctor and ask for his comments (this medication is also quite expensive as it is not included in the list of subsidized medications). I mentioned this to Elisheva and she said something which really disturbed me and which I found quite unbelievable, but she says it is well known that doctors receive kickbacks from drug companies for there pushing certain medications and that probably, when I go to see the doctor, he will simply say that the medication worked because there was no SERIOUS deterioration in my condition and that I should keep taking it for at least another year. He will probably say that if I hadn’t been taking it, the condition probably would have gotten much worse over the year. Well, I was skeptical about what she said, but until I made a decision, decided to stop taking the medication for a month, since I had to refill the prescription and didn’t want to spend the money until I was sure of what he said. Now, perhaps some things are starting to fall into place for you guys out there but I had still made absolutely no connection between these two completely different parts of my life….the Actonel, the Chi Kung and the physical symptoms.
Anyway, this was all happening at the same time that I also stopped doing Chi Kung and amazingly started feeling better. Once I stopped the Chi Kung, I had no more leg and foot cramps, no more fatigue and no drops in blood pressure. I reported this to Edwina and told her for the time being I would not be coming back, began doing more yoga and meditation. Now, during my more frequent meditations, the question kept arising regarding these symptoms, Chi Kung etc. but I could not figure out what the messages were saying other than that something was still not settled here. I took it to mean that I definitely must go back to Chi Kung, but at a later date when I could manage the symptoms of change more easily.
At the same time, I tried to make an appointment with the doctor a couple of times with no luck (my time is limited, as is his, and I was not in any rush to speak to him and try and explain why I didn’t want to continue the medication since it appeared not to be having any effect and it was quite expensive and I hate taking medications anyway). And so the bone scan sat on my bed waiting and Elisheva’s comments kept coming back to make me think, and finally I decided to do a Google search again to see what the expected outcomes of taking Actonel are and how long one is expected to take it before seeing results. I figured this would give me a better understanding before seeing the doctor again. So, yesterday, I went into Google and began my search again. Now, since the last time I had done a search, was before I had started inquiring regarding creating a website etc. When I began my investigations into websites etc., I also found out a lot of information regarding getting ratings for your website on the search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. And it seems there are definite ways to get higher ratings so that YOUR website will appear on the first page of the search etc., so that more people will see it. Once I understood this, I also realized that all the websites you find on the first page of a search for a medication for example, are either for the drug companies themselves, for suppliers of the the meds, or for studies done BY the drug companies. All you have to do is pay and you can get someone to give you a higher rating for your website etc., So, I decided that for this search I would go well into the deeper pages of the search to get more unbiased information and found myself on an Actonel Forum! Well, I almost fell off my chair when I began to read not only the forum, but links to other places with more user comments regarding use of this drug. I am listing 2 here if anyone would be interested in checking it themselves. If the links don't work...I don't know how to make them work here, just do cut and paste.



At any rate, symptoms described by person after person, include: severe leg cramping, fatigue and joint pain. Now, the joint pain I’ve been having this winter I never thought to relate to Chi Kung (so at least I didn’t blame everything on it), and assumed my arthritis had gotten much worse, spent a lot of money on treatments by an osteopath who could not understand why I continued to have almost continual pain even though he was sure his treatments should have solved the problem (and I DO trust this guy…he has treated me in the past with wonderful results). I generally have a few of these arthritis attacks a YEAR, and the past few months it has been with me almost consistently!! On another website I also read that you absolutely should not take Actonel if you suffer from low blood pressure. My doctor KNOWS I have low blood pressure and yet never mentioned this to me. I had also never read the flyer that comes with the medication as I generally just throw them away, figuring if I READ about something that MIGHT happen, I might just start having symptoms. So This morning I read the flyer, and sure enough, it mentions side effects of cramping, bone and joint pain, fatigue etc.!!!
So now, it is all falling into place for me, finally. Since I had begun Chi Kung about 4 months after beginning Actonel, I guess the side effects of Actonel began showing up around the same time I began Level II of Chi Kung, but I never associated the symptoms with the Actonel, as this was a constant in my life while the Chi Kung new level was the NEW thing in my life.
Ah, one more thing. Before I checked into this whole Actonel thing, remember I said I had not taken it for a month. That was the same time I had also stopped doing Chi Kung. When the symptoms ceased, I of course concluded it was because I had stopped Chi Kung. Now, interesting enough, I started taking the Actonel AGAIN 2 weeks ago (since I had already bought it and decided “why not” until I get to see the doctor-this, before yesterday’s revelations on the internet) . And, just by chance, my leg cramps started again a few days ago!! And I obviously have not been doing Chi Kung, so this seems to close the matter for sure.
What this all means, is I can go back to doing Chi Kung, which I love…and even get to see Carl each week again!!

So, all’s well that ends well, and hope this will be of service to someone else out there.
My love to all

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