The power of the sun and shonishin

There’s an interesting phenomenon in Colorado.  The sun is so powerful that it will melt snow and ice, and steam will rise from the roads, even when it is only 18 degrees out.

Except for when I’ve visited and lived in the tropics, where steam rises from the roads after a normal rainshower in 90 degree heat, I’ve never lived anywhere where steam rises from the roads midday.  And this happens in Colorado on an 18 degree winter’s day.   It is absolutely amazing to drive through, to watch.  I don’t really understand how its possible.

That is the power of the sun in Colorado.

Recently, as I mentioned briefly in other posts, I’ve begun doing shonishin with Adahlia on a more regular basis.  It is a form of acupressure, a Japanese tradition, developed and intended to treat infants and small children who would not be able to sit still for needling.

I must admit that when I was in acupuncture school, I thought it was a bit bogus.  A bit hocus-pocus.  How could a few feather-light swipes down an infant’s legs, arms, and torso with the equivalent of a flattened copper spoon do anything REAL to their health?

It all seemed a bit silly.  And the more the very simple techniques were stressed, the more classes or seminars I attended, the more far-fetched it seemed.  It all seemed a bit of wishful thinking.  A bit of acupuncture fanaticism.  A bit too good to be true.  (Which was disappointing… I had hoped to be impressed and inspired!)

When I first tried shonishin with Adahlia, when she was four and five and six months old, so very little and very sick, and I was desperate with grief and sorrow, it did not seem to work at all.

But now I know I was doing it wrong.

A treatment so simple, yet I was doing it wrong.

Because I was overdoing it.

A infant’s yang energy is concentrated, very powerful.  Their energy system is almost pure — no injuries or infections or blockages or traumas to cut off connections or impede flow, no emotional baggage preventing healing, and likely no spiritual baggage, unless you are subscribing to the past-life or karma camp.

Any doctor will tell you that an infant can spike a fever and come back down in a snap.  A cold can worsen to dangerous levels within hours and can resolve in a matter of another hours… and the same cold could put an adult in bed for days or weeks or months.

This is because the yang energy, birth energy, or vital energy, of an infant is so great.  It decreases as we age, making us less quick to heal, less quick to recover.  By the time we are in old age (unless we do yang cultivation exercises or tonify the yang properly through herbs), the fire is dim, and we get sick quicker and stay sicker for longer periods of time, and we get actually physically cold more easily.

This is why the older folks used to snowbird in Florida, and why they currently choose to retire in places like Arizona and Colorado.   It’s all subconscious — they don’t realize its an yang energy deficiency — but they do know they want to go to where the climate is warm, and preferably warm and dry, because it makes them feel healthier.

Because it DOES keep them healthier.  It helps keep their fires going.

Back to shonishin.

In all my classes and seminars and clubs, it wasn’t emphasized properly how important it is to do just a little treatment on a child the first time you treat them.  A few (2-3) swipes down yang channels only, to encourage energy to root downwards and begin cycling through the body.  No tapping.  No pattern-based treatment.  No moxa.  This principle grows more important the younger the child is, and the sicker the child is, because they are more sensitive the younger and sicker they are. But it should be generally applied to all children, because it is important to wait and see how the child reacts to the simplest, most minimal treatment, because you do not want to risk over-treating them.

Of course, I understand why, in seminars, the instructor typically overtreats the children.  They are looking to demonstrate something, and so they demonstrate multiple techniques.  It would be rather boring to simply repeat the same very few, very homogenous treatment strokes on child after child.  Yet, in reality, that is probably what should have been done.

Because now that I read my rather expensive shonishin text over and over, I read over and over the importance of doing very little on the first treatment, watching for reaction, and then very slowly adding an additional technique if it is determined that nothing (or not enough) is happening.  Tapping can be added on the second visit if no adverse reaction occurs after the first visit.  Pattern-based treatment can be added on the third.  Then, watch and see some more.   Because the child may continue to improve, go into healing crisis (a brief 24-hr period when they temporarily worsen before fully recovering or steadily improving) or show signs of over-treatment (when they worsen and don’t get better within 24 hours).

Poor Adahlia.  When she was so little, I was over-treating her every day.  I must have been blowing her circuits, making her feel worse, and possibly exhausting her more.

Of course, overtreatment is a natural tendency of concerned parents.  It is an expected hazard that must be mitigated when it comes to teaching parents how to treat their children using basic shonishin techniques.  Additionally, in our society, we often think more=better, and this tendency is hard to curb in a concerned parent.  Yet, it is definitely NOT true when it comes to acupuncture, herbs, and energy medicine, especially applied to children.

At any rate, I share this with you because of the success I’ve had with using shonishin, both with Adahlia and with other little ones that have crossed my path recently.  It is absolutely encouraging.  Simply wonderful.  Firsthand, I’ve seen that shonishin seems to help everything from a tendency to catch cold to behavior and ADHD problems.  It does this because it encourages proper energy flow throughout the body.  And children are so adaptable, so healthy at their root, and so vital, that the slightest redirection sends them like a bent shoot redirected gently toward the sun – it quickly grows straight and strong.

What does this mean for Adahlia?

Well, she is scheduled for transfusion on Tuesday.  It will be five weeks since her last transfusion.  And I have never, EVER, seen her this healthy and happy so near to transfusion date.

She is actually eating very, very heartily.  (This NEVER happens.  As regular readers will note, I’ve often lamented how she will stop eating about a week before transfusion is needed).

She is in a great mood, playful, and mentally acute.  She is not clingy, irritable, or quick to cry when she doesn’t get her way.  (This also NEVER happens.  Adahlia pre-transfusion and post-transfusion are typically like two totally different people.  It’s very hard on us.)

She actually can stay awake all day, instead of needing a 3 hour nap midday.  (This also never happens; it is one of my tell-tale signs that she needs transfused.)

She is full of energy, bouncing and climbing and running all over playground equipment and playing energetically.  (This is actually pretty typical… last time we transfused her, her Hb was 6.5 and you would have never guessed it for how active she was.)

She is affectionate towards her father.   (This, unfortunately, is another of our tell-tale signs.  Typically, when Adahlia’s Hb would drop into the 7s, she would not want her dad to hold her, or kiss her, help her, or play with her.  It would always be sad to witness.  This past weekend, she has absolutely been in love with her father, playing and cuddling with him.  She even let him take her away from me for a few hours to go to a playground just the two of them.  He is thrilled of course, and soaking up all the affection she’ll share.)

Her skin tone is better.  This is a very acupuncturist-specific observation.  I’ve observed that Adahlias chest, back, legs, and arms, would get increasingly dry as she got lower in blood.  Her GB channel on her torso would be the first and most notably dry channel above her waist, almost scratchy.  Of course, this makes sense, as she is becoming increasingly yin-deficient as she has less blood.  Currently, though she is nearly five weeks out from her last transfusion, Adahlias upper body skin tone is normal, soft and lustrous, and only her legs are dry.  Even so, her legs are not quite as dry as they typically have been, and it is responsive (the skin tone improves) to shonishin.

Now, she did get sleepy today around midday, and she told me so, but she didn’t nap.  She is certainly pale.  But, she is doing much better than she’s ever done before, both on a behavorial/emotional level and a physical level, as far as appetite and sleep are concerned.

It is wonderful.

I have been doing Reiki treatments with her the past two days, and I believe that those treatments are also helping now more than they did in the past, but I won’t go into all that now.  It is enough to say that she is taking the energy now, and often, in the past, she would refuse it.

I’m not sure what any of this means yet, and if she does not get “cured” but simply lives a fuller, healthier, happier life with transfusions, where she simply feels and lives better despite her anemia, I would be thrilled.  I would accept that.  Because when she is healthier and happier, we are all living a healthier and happier life.

And, there is still reason to hope she will be fully cured.  For there are case studies in which children with serious symptoms such as inability to eat and walk, or hear, or with fatal heart defects (either related to infection or genetic condition), suddenly and gradually begin to improve over a period of months and years.  The body, even of a young child, does not often heal in a blink from serious, life-threatening and systemic conditions.  It takes time. Knowing this, I have seen enough improvement in Adahlia — so MUCH improvement from her normal pre-transfusion state — that I know that something is shifting within her on a deep level.  How it will manifest I cannot be certain.  All I know is that she is living better.

I’ve been prepping Adahlia for her upcoming transfusion, as I always do, but this time there’s a twist:  the MRI under general anesthesia.   It is necessary to check for iron deposits in her organs from the frequent transfusions.  While she is on iron chelation medication, there is no way to know if its working unless an MRI is performed to check for deposits.  There is no other way to know, for certain, how much iron is being stored in her organs — ferretin is an nonspecific marker of inflammation and not a reliable measurement of iron overload.  If her body is in an iron overload state, her organs will go into failure and she will die very suddenly.  Its very serious and an unfortunately common cause of death in DBA, and therefore we’ll be doing these MRIs on a regular basis for as long as she’s receiving transfusions.  While the MRI not an invasive procedure, young children must be sedated for it — they would simply not lie still in such a loud machine.

So this time, prepping for Tuesday, our conversation went something like this:

“Do you think you need a blood transfusion soon?  We are going to the hospital in two days for blood.”

“Yes,” She sighs and nods solemnly.  “Hurts…” she says, pointing to her inner elbow,  “have to have IV.  Adahlia cries.  Adahlia says ‘let me out!’ let me out!'”

“I know,” I say, pausing.  “And it makes me very sad, too.  But you have to have the IV.  The nurses are trying to help.”

“Yes,” she nods.  “Help Adahda feel better.”

“This time will be different.  This time, when you get the IV, it won’t hurt.”

She perks up, looks at me quizzically.

“They are going to put a little mask on your nose like this,” I say, cupping my nose with my palm vertical, so that my fingertips are between my eyes, “and you are going to breathe, “heeee-hooooo, heee-hoooo”  I say, rolling my eyes side to side in an exaggerated manner, to make myself look silly.  She giggles.  “And then you will fall asleep,” I say, dropping my head to my shoulder with my hands folded under it, my eyes closed, “and then they will take pictures of your heart, and pancreas, and liver,” I say, pointing to each organ on her body – middle of her ribs, and then her squishy baby right side, and left side as I name each organ, “and then they will put the IV in while you are sleeping so you won’t even feel it!  And then you will wake up!”  I throw my hands in the air in classic all-done pose.

She is enthused.  She practices with me, putting her hand over her mouth and breathing, and pretending to go to sleep, while I say ‘now they take pictures of your heart and liver and pancreas’ and she shouts:  “And my heart!”  and I smile, and say, “and they put the IV in while you’re sleeping so you don’t even feel it and then we are all done!!”

We’ve done it several times now.   The biggest hurdle, I’m afraid, will be the fact that she won’t be able to eat or drink anything all morning until 830 am, when they sedate her.  That might make her go a little crazy, but I’ll explain it to her tomorrow that she can’t eat the next morning until they do the mask and pictures, and hopefully she’ll be okay with it.

It also might, actually, freak her out a little when they put a mask on her, which is why I’m trying to prep her for it.

But right now its a game, and she’s excited about not having any hurts this time.

And I am too.   It is such a gift to give her a transfusion without an IV needle stick.  And since she’s doing so well, I’m not nearly as concerned about sedating her as I was a week and two weeks ago, when she was doing much worse than she is now.

And our grass and gardens continue to grow, our flowers pushing up, up, up, reaching towards the powerful sun.





These last couple of days have been rough.

We’ve had a few glorious ones — slow walks to and from the nearby coffee shop, bicycle rides with her in a seat on the handlebars to the grocery store and to a picnic in a park, hours spent tending the flowers erupting from the bulbs we planted last fall (“Keep their coats on so they don’t get cold when the snow comes!” I said, referring to the papery, onion-skin-like sheath protecting them, as Adahlia placed them in the holes I dug.)  This week, we placed river rocks into a path that wove through the flower bed, so that the utility man doesn’t step on our fragile green friends.  We have more flowers than I can count — tulips and hyacinths and things I don’t know the names of… fragile little treasures coming up from our side yard, promising color and beauty and life.

But, my friend, right now I am exhausted.  I am struggling with insomnia.  I alternate between a few different acupuncture and homeopathic remedies to try to get my mind and energy to calm down so I can sleep.  Adahlia must have woken me five or six times last night…  in an infant, okay.  It is to be expected.  But now?  At nearly 3 years?  Friends, I have had only one night — yes, that is 1 night — of unbroken sleep since she was born.  And actually, it is longer than that, since I was not sleeping through the night when I was pregnant. I have been sleep deprived for years.  How can I expect my body to heal such a deep-level issue (autoimmune and nephritis) if I am woken every 45 minutes, and cannot fall back asleep when I am woken until hours later after one of those times?  Sometimes, it actually makes me angry at her when she wakes up and then wakes me up.  Last night was one of those nights.

Adahlia will be four weeks post-transfusion on this coming Tuesday, and she has a terrific head-cold that is just now resolving.  She is needy and sweet and it breaks my heart… asking “Mama hold you?” in the night.  Touching me gently and saying, “Mama love you” and nodding after she’s done something to make me close my eyes in an attempt to take a moment to gain perspective and refocus.

My surgery to repair my kidney issue is in five weeks.  I am so so so exhausted.  There are not words to express it.   I am exhausted.  I am trying to do acupuncture on myself every day to build up my energy so that the surgery will hold, so that it will not fail, because this is my last chance to keep my kidney.  If this surgery fails, the surgeons will schedule another surgery to remove it.  I need to take care of myself.  I need to do absolutely everything I can to try to save my kidney.   Adahlia takes everything I can give her and wants more.  And don’t get me wrong:  I want to be everything she needs.  I want to be the mother I know I can be:  playful, encouraging, reflective, kind, and strong.  But I’m exhausted.  My friends, I am so exhausted.  I just need a little bit of space, just a little, to try to rest, to take care of myself, but she is approaching transfusion, and somehow, though I cannot imagine how it could be possible, I know she will only get more demanding, more needy, and throw more fits, as she enters her own state of exhaustion and pain due to having a low red cell count.

There is still hope.  I am treating her from a different perspective in shonishin/meridian therapy, and I believe it is the correct one for her.   I believe I have finally found the underlying pattern to her blood disorder, the right approach to child acupressure to treat it, but it may take months before we see results.  There are days and situations in which she is doing better than she has been — less irritable, less demanding, less quick to anger and tears.  But the last two days have been extraordinarily taxing.  And extraordinarily demoralizing.

If you have a moment, send a little love and light this way.  I need to get better.  I need her to get better.  We must find a way through this disorder – we must find the key to her health.  We cannot keep living this way.

On March 24, Adahlia will be sedated for an MRI procedure to check the deposits of iron in her heart, pancreas, and liver.   She is scheduled for a blood transfusion on the same day.  10 days seems like such a long time away — how will we all survive the next 10 days, if the last two have been any indication of what we can expect?  And any procedure involving sedation has risks, including the risk of things going unexpectedly wrong, and it just makes my heart break all over again to put her through it.  To watch them put her to sleep.

God, this whole stupid disorder just breaks my heart, and makes me want to smash things, throw things, scream and destroy.  Its just so hard.  It doesn’t make sense.  It seems so unfair.  Its incredibly tragic and taxing and emotionally draining.

Biomedicine continues to offer very little — Adahlia is negative for HHV-6, and as strange as it sounds to have been hopeful that your child has a viral infection, I was indeed, for such an infection is curable with antivirals.  There remains no satisfying explanation for why her bone marrow can, but isn’t, producing enough red blood cells for survival.  There are symptoms that don’t make sense, and complications that don’t make sense, and treatments that don’t make sense, and case studies of remissions that don’t make sense.  Biomedicine saves her life roughly every month with a blood transfusion.  But it offers nothing that is satisfying.

And yet, there is hope.  There are natural and acupuncture modalities and methods that do make sense, and theoretically should help.  There are case studies and reports and techniques to improve vitality, restore homeostasis and functionality, and aid the body in repairing itself.  I am doing everything I can.  Its not everything I could do, though.  And its not enough.

Adahlia just cried out a pitiful “nooooo!” in her sleep.  She is having a nightmare, and I need to go to her.   And then I need to go into the other room and do some acupuncture on myself.   And then I need to sleep, because I am exhausted.

And because we have another big day tomorrow.  An impressive slew of various supplements and medicines and interventions, one of which, or the combination of which, I am hopeful will help her.  Because I am determined to help her.  Because it will kill me if I don’t help her, so I might as well nearly kill myself trying to help her.

And because she will want to see her flowers, green stalks and leaves pushing out of the earth, which she touches carefully with just one finger, so that she doesn’t hurt them.