My Experience With Clear Passage – Part 2
In this blog I’m going to talk about the therapy itself and what’s been happening since I finished the therapy two weeks ago.
I was pretty nervous ahead of my first session but once I met my therapist I felt so much more at ease as she was such a warm and welcoming person. The 20 hours of therapy were broken down into 10 sessions – two hours every morning (9am – 11am) and two hours every afternoon (3pm – 5pm) except for Friday when the afternoon session was from 12.30pm – 2.30pm. I was told to have a light breakfast and lunch as most of the work would be on my abdomen and was told it was vitally important to drink isotonic drinks to replenish electrolytes from therapy.
The first two hour session consisted of an overall body assessment. I learnt so much about my body. I had a lot of internal scarring on my lower right side (where my ileum was) which was to be expected, but I also had scarring on my left side and the top middle of my abdomen (just under my ribs). She said that this scarring caused restriction and referred pain. Seemingly both my uterus and bladder were being pulled over to my right side, my stomach and liver were stuck too high under my ribs and restrictions in my abdomen was causing my back and hip to overcompensate which then caused the aching in my legs. My hips were out of alignment, my pelvic floor was pretty weak and I stood in a way that put pressure on my back and hips.
The rest of the sessions went about working on everything using techniques from a sort of myofascial release, cranio-sacral massage, physio and many others. I was then shown a lot of exercises and techniques to use on myself at home. I won’t lie, some sessions were uncomfortable but she always checked in on my as to my pain levels and would back off on pressure if things were getting painful. She was surprised at how much I was able to take given that I had Crohn’s and was surprised that I didn’t flare during the treatment.
Seemingly on the third day it’s very normal to become bloated due to oedema and very tired. I didn’t experience the bloating and while I was tired in the evening I was exhausted. Some nights I slept better than others but I did notice I dreamt more which is to be expected. I also noticed I felt a little teary (for not apparent reason) on a couple of the days.
Before every session I had to complete a form that tracked a myriad of possible symptoms which I thought was helpful for myself to become even more aware of changes in my body.
I was told to walk after every session so it was a great excuse to explore the area especially as it was sunny and warm. We headed to loads of the local villages and seaside towns, went into Canterbury and even hiked the cliffs of Dover. I was so happy that I felt good enough to get out and about as I was worried that I may just want to go to bed after every session.
I thought the week would drag and it would be awkward being with one therapist so intensely. 20 hours is a long time but it flew by and we chatted the whole time. By the end I was both happy and sad it was over. I loved the routine of my day, the therapist and the therapy itself (some parts more than others), however I felt my body was just about needing a break.
I had another overall body assessment on the last day and the therapist was very pleased with my progress. She had expected a 50% improvement but in some places I was at 80% improvement. My alignment was better, my pelvic floor stronger, my stomach and liver had moved down and my uterus and bladder were back over to nearer where they should be. Instead of my organs being stuck I definitely could feel that everything was more fluid in their movement in my abdomen.
It’s advised not to fly for at least 24 hours after your last session has finished on the Friday so we decided to stay an extra night and to go to Greenwich for the day on Saturday before our late-night flight giving me well over 24 hours before flying. I had been feeling so well during the week that I think I was lured into a false sense of indestructability! But on the Saturday I felt flu-y. I was a little achy all over, my throat was starting to feel sore, I had a headache and I was feeling really knackered tired. I just wanted to curl up on a couch and sleep. Luckily it was a sunny day so we just took it slowly wandering around, sitting out in the sunshine and making sure I had lots to drink.
I felt a little better on the Sunday but during the following days I constantly felt like I was fighting off a cold the whole time and my energy was lower than normal. I kept up with my home exercises though every day.
Then on the Thursday I got a ‘flare’ (an obstruction). I had to head home from work and I still don’t know how I managed to get home without vomiting. The pain was excruciating, I was in a cold sweat and I felt like my insides were going to explode. I began wondering if I had done the right thing, if I just made things worse or if I had eaten something I shouldn’t have or had done the home exercises wrong. I got in touch with both the therapist in the UK and the doctor in the US.
The therapist reminded me of all the things I should do in the event of an obstruction and reassured me I had done nothing wrong. She checked in on me a few times that day and the following few days until I started feeling better. The doctor in the US rang me on the Friday and we talked for about 40 minutes. She explained that the oedema (water retention in the tissues) causes swelling so obstructions can happen after treatment as the body readjusts to not having such intense treatment every day and can happen until the swelling goes down and that it can take three months for that to happen. She said she was surprised that it didn’t happen during the treatment itself. In the meantime, I should stick to low residue and non-aggravating foods, drink plenty of liquids, replenish my electrolytes and make sure to do my home exercises every day.
I was impressed at the after-care and while it was really disappointing to get a flare especially so soon after treatment it was nice to have that support there.
Unfortunately over the following days the oedema bloating in my abdomen was getting a little worse and I was having the SIBO feeling of something just dying inside. Then on the Monday night I had spasms all through the night. I felt that the isotonic drinks may have been feeding the SIBO given the high sugar content and the fact that I don’t eat any sugar (other than from fruit I eat). On Tuesday I mainly stuck with liquids and the spasms subsided.
I decided to do a Low Fodmap and SCD reset diet to quieten down the overgrowth and I sourced some electrolyte drops to use in water so I could ditch the sugary isotonic drinks. After a couple of days I could really notice the difference. The SIBO feeling went and even the oedema started to go down a little.
So it’s now been two weeks since I finished therapy. I had a follow up call with my therapist a couple of days ago and we talked about all that was going on in my body since the therapy with another call scheduled for the coming week.
I wasn’t expecting so many after effects but it shows me that I actually got something done. I think if I didn’t feel any different I’d probably wonder if they did anything. While it’s frustrating and disappointing to have the flares, once I know that they can be expected and know the things I can do to reduce the chances of them happening and what to do if they do happen I feel a little more in control.
Finally I’m really impressed with the after-care and follow-up. I didn’t expect so much and feel like I’m definitely not left to go it alone which is reassuring.
So I guess it’s just a matter of waiting for the oedema to go down to really see what improvements have been made…. Let’s see what I’m like in three months time!!!