Wii Physical Therapy
On July 7th, I had a check-up appointment with my Endometriosis Doctor. This appointment turned into a major awakening for me–as well as a very difficult pill to swallow.
Basically, I am running out of treatment options for my degree of Endometriosis. Over the past 6 years, I have tried every regular birth control on the market. Nothing worked. I honestly thought when the Lo Orval didn’t work out, I would go see my doctor and she would give me a new birth control to try. But there is nothing left in pill form. And due to my reactions to the progesterone, injectables are out of the question. So now, I am left with only 2 options: 1) Mirena, an IUD (but it is progesterone and there are no guarantees it won’t get into my bloodstream) and 2) a laparoscopic procedure (and possible surgery) to see what is going on inside of me.
I see my doctor again on July 21st and I am supposed to give her my decision. I’m a Libra and asking me to make a decision is like asking the Dalai Lama not to smile. I am working hard on my pros and cons lists but I am still at a loss for what I should do. I don’t like either option.
Of course, as luck would have it, the lack of treatment options is not my only Endo related problem. During my exam, my doctor was concerned that I felt an abnormal amount of pain on my left side when she lifted my right leg. This could be an indication that the Endometriosis is now affecting my “muscular skeleton” and could actually be growing in my muscles. Endometriosis in the abdominal muscles is rare and usually requires a radical surgery for treatment. But a laparoscopic procedure may be necessary for diagnosis. So getting cut open once again may be inevitable.
My doctor, being an Endometriosis expert and researcher, suggested another route–physical therapy. She referred me to someone who specializes in working with women with Endometriosis–and other female issues. I saw the physical therapist on July 11th for an evaluation–or what I can once again call another major awakening.
This was the first time I had ever gone to a physical therapist so I had no idea what to expect. I dressed and prepared myself as if I were going to the gym to workout with a trainer. My expectations were very much off the mark. She had me stand up, bend down, lean to the left, lean to the right and then take turns standing on each foot. I started dancing when I was 2 years old and I still do my best to maintain an active lifestyle so I was very confident in my ability to do these exercises for her. I was extremely shocked to find out that I couldn’t balance myself while standing on my left foot.
The whole right side of my body is perfectly aligned and strong. My left side, not so much. My left hip and abdominal muscles are weak. My legs are strong and try to compensate for what is going on in the left abdominal area–the main location of all my pain. I guess that is why I never noticed anything was wrong. That combined with my high tolerance for pain left me unaware of the real problems occurring within my body.
The therapist then laid me down and started to poke around in the abdominal area. On the right side, everything is where it should be. On the left side, everything is tight, constricted, and there is a lot of resistance. Everything is being pulled in and my hip alignment is off by about 30 degrees, if I understood her correctly. She mentioned that I might want to see a friend of hers that is an expert in deep tissue matters. He managed to correct a woman’s tilted uterus through several sessions of deep tissue organ massage (or something like that. I didn’t quite understand exactly what it was he did but she said it was amazing to watch).
So I asked her if this could all be because of the Endometriosis. She said it could be. It could be adhesions (best case scenario) or it could be Endometriosis in the muscles (worst case scenario). Right now, the plan is to loosen up the muscles, strengthen the muscles, and then do another evaluation to see if that helped. If everything is still tight, then surgery would be the next option.
So she gave me some homework assignments (stretches) to do until the following week appointment. She also told me to work on my breathing techniques. She said that Yoga and meditation could really help my condition. So the first thing that popped into my head, I have Yoga on my Wii Fit Plus.
For Christmas 2009, my Mom bought me the Wii system and balance board. When the balance board said I was overweight, I decided to lose weight starting in January of 2010. I used the Wii Fit Plus everyday (as well as Just Dance, Dance Workout, and eventually some other fitness games). I also bought the GoWearFit system (now called BodyMedia Fit or BodyBugg if you go to 24 Hour Fitness). My friend used the BodyBugg and a personal trainer through 24 Hour Fitness to lose 50 pounds. I couldn’t afford a trainer so I ordered the public version of the BodyBugg (GoWear Fit) from Amazon and came up with a schedule of exercises through my Wii. I lost 30 pounds (went from a size 12 to a size 8).
I was doing great until the stress kicked in and the Endo went crazy on me again. With the last two birth control pills, I put on 15 pounds. That is another reason why I knew something was wrong. I was craving chocolate all the time and I don’t even like chocolate.
Anyways, when school got out in June, I resolved to lose the 15 pounds I put on. So I went back to doing 10,000 steps every day and 1.5 hours of activity (exercise) a day. This is when I noticed the pain getting worse. I was struggling to do the activities that I did practically every day last summer. And the great thing about the Wii Fit Plus is that it stores your information so I could look back to exactly one year ago and see what a difference a year makes.
I was an expert at the Hula Hoop aerobics game and now it was a struggle. Some of the Yoga poses even told me that my left leg is less flexible and more shaky than the right. I went back to do all of the games and exercises that I did before and they all said the same thing–I was unbalanced and unstable. (my brother is going to love messing with me on that one). Well, all of them except the Lotus Focus–a Zen Meditation Balance Game. That is the only one that I have improved upon.
So when I saw my physical therapist yesterday (July 18th), I talked to her about using the Wii as my at-home physical therapy. She had no idea the Wii had all of these functions with the balance board and she asked me to bring it to our next session so she could check it out. She said she would like me to try doing the Wii Yoga poses and balance games every day. She also gave me a foam roller to use for stretching before and after the Wii.
I wrote up a routine for myself and I guess we will see how it goes. I also bought the U Mind Body Yoga and Pilates game for Wii. I tried that today and it was a little fast paced but I’m sure I will get used to it in time. I really liked the meditation exercises.
I just hope this works. In the meantime, I guess I have to get back to my decision about the Mirena IUD. Right now, I am leaning toward no but I am not making an official decision until I absolutely have to.