I said I would tell you about my first reflexology session, last Monday. This was an extra-long session, to allow her to take a full history before she started playing with my feet. I answered all her questions, then lay back as she went to work, kneading away at various parts of my foot as I occasionally winced in pain and she looked interested, nodded wisely and made little notes on the clipboard next to her.
I didn't really know what to expect. At one point, she murmured that she could tell I was calm on the outside but crying on the inside. I wasn't all that impressed with this, as you can say that to pretty much anyone who's having fertility issues and it's likely to be true. I also found it a bit irritating the way every time I winced, she encouraged me to breathe through the pain - I know what real pain is, and I don't need to start puffing like a woman in labour to soothe myself after a little twinge when someone presses a sore place in my foot.
I was impressed, though, when just from playing with my feet she was able to identify two major health problems that I've had in my life, neither of which I had alluded to at all when she was taking my history.
She said she felt some vitality in my reproductive system, which meant that there certainly wasn't any reason I shouldn't produce some good eggs. But she detected sluggishness in my pituitary gland, which plays a major part in hormone production, and also in my thyroid. She said if my thyroid was borderline underactive, it wouldn't be picked up as a problem in testing (the test I had earlier this year said it was in the normal range), but could still be causing problems.
These are areas that she said she could work on, as well as helping me to destress and be a bit more relaxed. First, she wanted to see if we could get rid of my sinus infection. Since I'm not a big fan of antibiotics, and couldn't get an appointment with the doctor anyway, I was all for her having a go at treating it just by rubbing my feet. She also gave me some 'homework', showing me points that I could press on my hands to try to clear the congestion.
After the treatment was over, she warned me that I would probably feel very tired and a bit fluey and achey over the next day or so, as a result of what she had been doing. Sure enough, on Tuesday I dragged myself out of bed feeling like death warmed up, and spent the day feeling very sorry for myself.
By Thursday, though, my head was still stuffy, but the rather yucky signs of infection were already clearing up and I was feeling quite human again.
She stated very clearly that she's not setting herself up as a doctor and she can't claim to be able to 'cure' anything, but she said it felt as though everything was still there and ready to work, but it was almost as if I'd just shut down shop in reaction to something traumatic, and that if we could just coax my body into the state it was in just before everything shut down, it should be able to do the rest on its own.
That makes sense to me - I've never got millions of eggs, and that doesn't really bother me. But on IVF #1 I got six, of which four were mature and three fertilised, and on IVF #2 I got four, of which two were mature and one fertilised. Those two treatments were very (too?) close together and involved huge doses of hormones and lots of messy emotions.
Then there was a longish wait, during which I improved my diet, took supplements and tried to get in as good a condition as possible, followed by a third IVF in which I got two eggs, only one of which was mature. I also had my worst ever back problems (and interestingly, the reflexologist said that the precise area where I had my slipped disc is strongly connected to the reproductive system) and lost my job, so it was a pretty stressful few months.
So after the assaults on my body and my emotional well-being over the last year, despite the healthy eating regime, is it really any wonder that my ovaries decided the time wasn't right to start pumping out eggs as if there was no tomorrow?
In any case, something was definitely going on in my body after the first session last Monday, so I look forward with interest to seeing what effect, if any, this treatment has on my hormone levels in the next couple of months.