JC is a 44-year-old female. She found a lump in her breast sometime in mid-2009. The lump seemed to have disappeared after this initial discovery, only to reappear a month later. She consulted her doctor who dismissed it as something not to worry about. JC went to consult a specialist in a private hospital. A mammography was done and found nothing! However, an USG showed presence of lumps. A biopsy was done to one of the 1.2 cm suspicious mass. The result confirmed cancer.
On 21 December 2009, JC underwent a lumpectomy plus removal of 14 lymph nodes. Histopathology report showed a stage 1 (T1NoMx) cancer with no lymph node involvement. Immunochemistry indicated tumour cells totally negative to both oestrogen and progesterone receptors. However, p53 and c-erbB-2 were strongly positive.
After the surgery, JC was told that she should consider chemotherapy. The benefit of chemotherapy, based on ten-year survival rate, is 9%. Hormonal therapy does not provide any benefit to survival. In term of ten-year recurrence, chemotherapy provides a 16% benefit. Based on such statistics, JC declined further medical treatment. She came to seek our help on 10 January 2010. She was prescribed Capsule A, C-tea and Breast M tea.
As of this writing, JC had come back to see us thrice for routine consultation. Everything seemed alright. On 10 September 2010, she presented her latest blood results.
Based on the above, her doctor said she was doing fine. JC needs only come back to see her doctor again after six months, instead of three. This was encouraging news for JC.
Over the past nine months, we managed to read JC’s energetic s thrice, using the AcuGraph. Below are readings taken on 4 April, 28 May and 10 September 2010.
While medically JC was told that she was doing fine, I told JC that she was not improving as expected based on these readings. There was nothing I could say about the result taken on 4 April 2010 since this was her first reading. There is nothing that I could compare it with. But the AcuGraph reading on 25 May 2010, after taking the herbs, was definitely an improvement. But the reading on 10 September was worse off than the two previous readings.
When patients come to see me, I usually ask these questions: How are you doing. JC’s answer was: Fine. Any problems? Again the answer was: Fine. But I told JC: Your energy was too out of balance this time. I then posed the following questions:
1. Did you sleep well?
2. How is your bowel movement?
3. How is your menses?
4. How is your urination or any problem with your bladder?
Why did I ask such questions?
Look at the AcuGraph reading on 10 September 2010. The PC (pericardium) meridian was high, so was the LI (Large Intestine). The meridians of the LU (Lung), HT (Heart), TE (Triple Energizer or Burner), SI (Small Intestine), SP (Spleen), LR (Liver), KI (Kidney) and ST (Stomach) were all out of balance. The BL (Bladder) meridian was low. Only the GB (Gallbladder) meridian was normal.
The balances of the meridian energetic can be understood and explained based on the understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
1. Stress and Imbalances of the PC, HT, SI, TE and KI Meridians
The PC (Pericardium), known as the “King’s Bodyguard, ” is a protective sack around the heart. Its function is to protect the heart. Emotionally it is concerned with the psyche. Excessive emotional energies generated from other organs such as anger from the Liver, fear from the Kidney, grief from the Lung, could endanger the Heart. Such concept has no equivalence in modern medicine.
Since the PC is intimately connected to the HT (Heart) – SI (Small Intestine), it is no wander that both these meridians were similarly out of balance.
The common complaints from people with an imbalanced PC and HT meridians are: insomnia, excessive dreams, mental restlessness, forgetfulness and dizziness.
We must take note that the 12 pairs of meridians above do not function in isolation or independently. They are interconnected and they influence each other. It is said that the HT meridian is intimately connected to the TE (Triple Energizer) and the KI (Kidney). Any imbalance in the HT is also reflected in the TE and KI meridians.
2. Abdominal Pain and Imbalances of the LI and LU Meridians
The LI (Large Intestine) is known as the Great Eliminator. Medically, it is equivalent to the colon. The LI controls the transformation of digestive wastes from liquid to solid state and transports the solids onwards and outwards for excretion. Physically, an imbalanced LI could cause constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain or intestinal cramping. Emotionally persons with imbalanced LI may have a hard time dealing with grief and worry or has difficulty letting go. There may be feelings of depression, irritability, discouragement, distress and apathy. Strong emotions of fear or panic can produce an energetic-stool reflex reaction in the Large Intestine resulting in a spontaneous defecation.
The LI and LU (Lung) meridians are intimately connected. A disturbance of the LI meridian could also cause disharmony of the LU meridian.
3. Menstruation and Imbalances of the SP, KI, LR, HT Meridians
TCM has an elaborate theory about menstruation which involves the Heart, Liver, Spleen, Lung and Kidney.
· The Spleen, Kidney and Heart participate in the creation of blood.
· The function of the uterus is only normal if the Heart functions normally.
· Exuberant Kidney is necessary if menstruation is to occur with proper regularity.
· Thus, disorders of the Kidney and Heart may give rise to gynecological disorders.
· Liver plays an important role in the regulation of menstruation.
· The Spleen makes Blood which is then stored in the Liver. Deficiency of the Liver Blood indicates Spleen deficiency.
· The Lung has only a minor influence on the menstrual function. Sadness and grief can induce Qi insufficiency and stoppage of the menses.
· The Gallbladder, Bladder and Small Intestine are not accorded any direct or indirect role in the menstrual cycle.
Some of the causes of menstrual problems are:
· Overthinking and worry cause the qi to knot or bid inhibiting the meridians to function properly. This translates into obstruction or uninhibited discharge of the menstruate. As a result menstruation is delayed, scanty, blocked or painful.
· Insufficient physical exercise may lead to inhibited flow of the qi and blood, accumulation of phlegm and dampness and a weak Spleen and Stomach function. All these contribute to menstrual problems.
· Diet is a major contributing factor in menstrual problems.
4. Emotional Effects of KI and BL imbalances
The function of the Kidney and Bladder is similar to what we commonly know, i.e., the Kidney filters waste metabolites from the blood and send it the waste down to the Bladder for storing and excreting. Imbalance of the Kidney / Bladder meridians can lead to depression, inability to cope and fear of change. If the imbalance becomes chronic, it results in feelings of jealousy, suspicion, and holding on to long-standing grudges. Holding to fear may bring on phobias of all sorts – fear of heights, water, people, new things, sexuality, closed spaces, dark, or death. Indeed, there is no medical equivalence with regards to the emotional functions of Kidney and Bladder.
A close connection exists between the Bladder and the Kidney meridian. This Bladder meridian is associated with the autonomic nervous system. Bladder dysfunction can result in stress and tension.
What JC Had Gone Through
Having understood the basic TCM theory, let us now listen to what JC had gone through over the past months since her last visit.
In A Nut Shell
JC’s energetics on 4 April was mostly out of balance. She had just had her operation and was starting to take the herbs. At that time it was most likely that emotionally she was still not settled yet. Then the reading on 28 May showed significant improvements – after taking the herbs for four months and counseling from us. The PC, HT, TE, LI and LR meridians were all balanced. At that time she was more relaxed and was still on medical leave. There was no work pressure to contend with. She was on her healing journey.
But the reading on 10 September 2010 was worse than the previous readings. As we have heard from JC herself, she had been under stress – physically and emotionally. And this should not be allowed to drag on for long.
· JC had to go back to work and she had been over- working!
· Her father-in-law was hospitalized and this was emotionally straining.
· She was unable to sleep well and she also slept late.
· Because of her tight schedule she did not have time to do exercise as before.
· Her menses was delayed. If it was regular it would have been on 9 September.
· Her suffered abdominal pains the day before she did the AcuGraph reading.
From the above, it would be possible to explain why JC’s AcuGraph readings showed such imbalances. I did not have the opportunity to say that she was well and that there was nothing to worry about since her blood test showed good numbers. On reflection, I must say the AcuGraph is indeed a good “forensic tool” enabling me to probe into the lifestyle of patients to monitor their wellbeing.
Let me quote Harriet Beinfield & Efremkorngold (in: Between Heaven and Earth) Chinese medicine identifies disease as disorders of relationship, not as a singular unvarying entity. Problems recognized early on can be dealt with before they develop into complex, deep-seated, chronic sickness.
I was able to remind JC that even though her blood test results were good, she ought to remember that nothing is ever permanent. What is good today may just change a month or a year from now. She has to know that too much stress for too long may give rise to problems. She needs to change her lifestyle and adopt a different attitude in learning how to live with her cancer. And change she must if she wants to survive to a ripe old age. This ability to advise and forewarn patients is based on evidence, not just mere speculation. And this what AcuGraph does.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Dr. Adrian Larsen, President of Miridia Technology Inc., USA, for his generosity in providing a unit of AcuGraph 3 for our research at CA Care. Since CA Care does not need to pay for this device, meridian reading at CA Care is done free-of-charge. www.cacare.com