Over the past few months, I have been in and out of doctor's offices as if it was my civic responsibility. I have seen all kinds of specialists and have finally come up with half the answer: a diagnosis. They told me that I have Interstitial Cystitis (not parasites), which is a chronic disease with no known cause or cure. Beyond dietary adjustments, only a few drastic treatments are acknowledged to help. And when they don't, you end up worse than how you started. Now, I am a lucky case. Many women have horrible bouts of IC that make it nearly impossibly to work. I don't have to quit my job or bare grueling pain. I am just uncomfortable... all the time. Since stress is a trigger, the piling medical bills and doctor visits don't exactly help.
Faced with a condition without a cure, I have sought any relief possible, which is how I stumbled upon Dr. Mou. I have read that acupuncture drastically reduces IC discomfort, and my journalism teacher had recently recommended an herbalist and acupuncturist in Chinatown, renowned for his infertility treatments. Dr. Mou had no website, but his recommendations stem all the way from Europe. I found his number on the article my teacher forwarded to my inbox and made an appointment for the following day.
Half an hour before my appointment, I walked to Dr. Mou's office in Chinatown. I walked into the building, found his name on a directory of other Chinese doctors and insurance agencies and proceeded to the listed floor. After about five minutes outside his door, Dr. Mou arrived clutching a cane and guided me inside. The office was tiny but had an incredible, downward view of SoHo. He sat me down in a chair and felt my pulse. "You smoke?" he asked in a heavy, Mandarin accent (he's originally from Beijing).
"No," I replied. "Only hookah."
"That's bad. Stop," he scolded. "It's in your lungs."
I nodded like a reprimanded child as he continued to feel my pulse. "Your ovaries are out of place. I fix them."
"My ovaries?" I asked. "'Cause it's my bladder..."
"Your ovaries. Your bladder is inflamed. Your ovaries are out place." Pretty spot on for a pulse read.
I was then directed to undress for an acupuncture appointment. Despite the pain of having needles stuck into my toes and pelvic bone, I felt an intense relief after the treatment. "I can fix you," he said as he pulled hot jars off my back. Some hope started to return. That is--started to return. After he prescribed me the herbs to help reduce inflammation and pain, he gave me the bill: $300. The appointment cost $150. The herbs cost $150. And I needed four more appointments at $120 each to achieve some results.
Now, if you know anything about me, I'm not well off financially. I have managed to live a life of means quite cleverly despite this, but I cannot afford $300 and $120 appointments after the $600 I have paid (and am still paying) western doctors to verify that I am not dying of cancer. But Dr. Mou was different. I was reluctant to turn down the first doctor who seemed to believe he, if only partially, could fix me, so I scheduled a follow-up appointment.
So next week is my birthday, and I am turning 21. Normally, I don't ask for birthday gifts, but I have stumbled upon some troubled times. If you want to help me continue to see Dr. Mou and afford my medical care, please donate to the paypal on the homepage of my website. It is labeled "Euro Trip/World Travels," but I assure you that all the money goes to me, and all my money is going to doctors. Don't think of it as charity; think of it as a birthday gift! But regardless, I really appreciate any help.
If you want to know more about Interstitial Cystitis, I am currently writing an article on the subject and should publish it by Friday at the latest. It is a little known condition that needs to be researched more, so spread the awareness. But no, I'm not dying. No wills for another few decades.