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Enlightenment and Inspiration from an experience with a skin cancer case

By Dr. Che, Xia Lic. Ac. & Dipl.O.M.(NCCAOM)

Published in the Journal of CAMA(California Acupuncture Medical Association) Monthly May, 2010

Introduction: In this case, the patient has had unrelenting severe back and leg pain even after two epidurals within a five month period at Kaiser Permanente Hospital. Referred by his friend, he came to see me in wheelchair accompanied by his family. While treating him for the back and leg pain, an unexpected result occurred regarding his other medical problem of skin cancer which he had been struggling with for over 30 years. In this article, I am documenting the procedure and theoretical background for the treatment of this patient. At the writing of this article, the patient is attending his third 12-visit course of treatment. The first course was three times per week from Jan 22,2010 to Feb.17,2010; the second was two times per week from Feb.24,2010 to April 2,2010. The enlightenment experienced from this case may inspire further research to learn how these ancient theories may benefit more people. This paper includes a small bibliography and keywords for the reader to pursue further understanding of the concepts discussed.

Richard, a sixty-eight year old American male, lives in Gardena, California. His year of birth is 1942. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 1942 is the year of Ren-Wu: which is the ninth of the ten Heavenly Stems for YUN and the seventh of the twelve Earthly Branches for Qi. On January 22, 2010, he was referred by a friend, and, in a wheelchair accompanied by his family came to the first appointment to see me.

Initial Visit: The patient brought records from a prior western medical exam describing his condition as having a herniated disc on L4 and L5. He had severe pain that radiated from his back, left hip, left buttock, back side of the left thigh and rest of his left leg all the way down to his toes. He had received two epidural shots; one on 9/8/09 which lasted for approximately four months; and the second one on 1/18/10 after which he became bedridden and could not walk more than 50’. The pain was constant for 24 hours at a time, while taking two different types of medication: Neurontin and Vicodin , every two hours. He had to lay in bed, only on his back, for 24 hours.

Analyzing his difficult situation once his family got him on the treatment table from the wheelchair, I directly treated him for the left back and leg pain with Master Tong’s method* and I-Ching Method*.

On the third visit, he was still in the wheelchair with the help of his family; he informed me that “after each treatment, he felt relief for two to three hours, then the pain came back again the same as before.” I was surprised and thought, this time the I-Ching method and Master Tong’s method was not effective?! Then, following <<Neijing>> theory: 1942 is the year of Ren-Wu, “Ren means wood (Liver) excess that overcomes earth (Spleen), and Wu means fire (Heart) that overcomes metal (Lung). Namely, the people of the year have more of a possibility of spleen and lung conditions. ”* I changed the acupuncture formula from one of treating the back and leg pain directly to indirectly by supporting his spleen and lung with the I-Ching method.

Formula: St43, 36, Sp3, 9, Li3, 11, Lu5, 9.

Right after I completed inserting the needles, the patient told me, he felt a cool sensation from his left foot, to left leg, left body, then the whole body felt like a fan blowing, and a few minutes later, he calmed down and fell asleep. After the treatment, with the help of his family, when he sat down on the wheelchair, he told me that he could move his legs now, and his feet could move freely while sitting on the wheelchair. I recognized with such a result that the treatment had touched the root of the problem now. I continued the same basic treatments for the follow up sessions each time utilizing about ten needles with certain modification according to the patient’s presenting conditions. After a few visits, the patient left the wheelchair and started to stand up and walk by himself.

While explaining to him the Traditional Chinese Medical theory, he told me that he had also been suffering from skin cancer with a history of thirty to forty years. He reported that his doctors told him he developed skin cancer because he had been exposed to the sun for so many years without protection and, as well, from the genetics from his family’s history of having light complexion. The patient said his dad was not out in the sun as much as he had been and his father’s skin condition was not bad; but he did have some sores and subsequent surgeries. However for Richard, since his twenties, he had started to have skin problems, all the way to the present when he is almost 68 years old. Since he has had his skin condition he has endured numerous surgeries or has had the sores frozen only to find that they would surface again somewhere else on his body. The surgical procedures or freezing never stopped the sores from coming back. He has been getting treatments from Kaiser Permanente from various locations: Panorama City, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Orange County, Bell Flower, Paramount, Harbor City, Gardena, seeing over ten different doctors in the past number of years, each facility having their own records of his medical treatments.

Richard reported that he has, mainly, two kinds of the cancer conditions: squamous cell carcinoma and basil cell. Each time, before surgery, they would take a picture and take a biopsy. After surgery, they would take another picture. He has had over forty biopsies. Besides, having the freezing-type therapy (cryosurgery) and photodynamic therapy, Richard has also undergone a partial removal of the right side of his nose and his right thumb with lots of different sizes of post surgery scars all over his ears, arms and body. Not beautiful at all. I sympathized with him, “once your back and leg ‘pain’ condition is gone, we can move forward to take care of your skin condition.”

During the first course, he told me he that he had severe pain (cancer pain) on the right temple area for the past four to five years, which, was about 2 x 3cm in size. He said that he was originally scheduled for surgery but because of the back and leg pain, he had to delay it. Then, I said, “Let me try it right now”. I selected the point GB41 on the left foot. As soon as I inserted the needle and he got the needle sensation, I asked him, “Can you touch the sore on the temple test to see if the pain is actually being relieved?” Richard didn’t believe it and was afraid of touching it because of the horrible pain. A member of his family who was present, said, “I can do it for you”, then touched it with their finger. He was so surprised “No pain?… the pain was gone?” He himself used his own finger to touch it and pressed on it, “Wow, it is gone. I don’t feel anything.” Once again, he was so surprised, and said “How can such a tiny needle relieve the pain that I have had for four or five years and make it go away within a few seconds! It’s really amazing! I can’t believe it!” Then he told me, that if he had the surgery, it would involve two procedures. First, the surgeon would have cut the cancer tissue, wait for the biopsy to come back; if it was positive, Richard would have to go back to have another surgery again; however, if it came back negative then he would be scheduled for the second restorative surgery with a plastic surgeon. They would transplant healthy skin from another area to graft over the open wound. The total time and suffering… all sorts of feelings were going through his mind!

Since then, the pain has not come back. The only thing remaining is that the scab is still there and it does not look beautiful. Then the family asked if anything could be applied externally. I thought a little bit and said, “Try watermelon juice.” Then, at home, while the family was putting watermelon juice just 2-3 drops, all of sudden, the patient felt a severe unusual headache and could not tolerate it any more and had to stop. But two or three hours later, puss started to come out and the scab started to detach by itself. When about one third of it was loose, the patient removed it with his hand and threw it away, with only a little bit blood left on it. The patient was so surprised, “I never thought such a common fruit like water melon juice could have such a wonderful effect; it was much more convenient and less painful process than having surgery! When first applied the watermelon juice, he felt the severe pain. However, with the following applications there was no pain if he had surgery the healing process would have taken months plus the pain and suffering.

During the first course of twelve visits, the back and leg pain was pretty much stabilized. The patient’s blood pressure pattern changed from night time being high and daytime being low to the daytime being high and night being time low; which is the right way even if still high. His sleeping pattern changed from night time staying awake and daytime sleeping to in the night time sleeping and daytime staying awake. Now he is working and can sleep for over five hours straight. His stomach is no longer sensitive and has no discomfort (even though he was taking Omeprazole before, his stomach was still sensitive). Richard has reduced taking Neurontin and Vicodin from every four hours a day to two times a day then down to one time a day and now he has completely stopped. So far he stopped taking Omeprazole and all the vitamins. He continues to take three different blood pressure medicines: Atenolol, Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide and one medication for cholesterol: Simvastatin. I suggested, “Since, after one course of treatments, your body has undergone a significant change, you might try to stop taking your blood pressure pills for one to two days. If it is not high, then you do not need to take them anymore but if it is high, you can continue to take them. The patient did stop taking the medication for two days, and monitored his blood pressure and documented the results. During those two days, his blood pressure was high and he was concerned about getting a stroke, so he started to take the medication again. His blood pressure was still high while taking the medication, so I told him that the medication was not really working. On the contrary, the side effects will create new problems while taking the medication long term which may not be able to be treated. Then he stopped taking all the pills and is monitoring his blood pressure daily, while the pain in his back, upper limbs, ears and face have decreased significantly. The patient has had acupuncture every other day, during this first 12-visit course, without taking any herbal pills.

After a one week break, the patient started his second course and came twice a week. During this course, the family asked if he could take any herbal pills. Again, following the theories of <<Neijing>> and at that time the medical cosmology/astrology, I had several things to consider. ” The year of 2010 is Gen-Yin. ‘Gen’ belongs to the seventh of the ten Heavenly Stems. Yin belongs to the third of the twelve Earthly Branches. “Gen” means Metal excess. ‘Yin’means that the Shaoyang minister fire is dominant for the first six months and the Jueyin Wood wind is dominant for the next six months of the year. With the wind and fire overcoming Metal, subsequent punishment of Metal occurs. The resulting condition is at Yangming dry Metal Lung.” The patient with a Metal constitution during such a time may undergo very difficult conditions. Thus,” a Gen-yin year will tend to have a lot of conditions resulting from pent-up, closed, smouldering fire”. Besides, at this time, the lunar calendar was in first Qi ( first two months) period: the guest Qi shaoyin emperor fire is above the host Qi Jueyin wind wood . In first Qi, the weather picture and biological picture (including plants animal,and etc.)is : the earthly Qi migrates and the wind is strong and shaking, while cold has just left, and the weather is getting warmer and grass and wood are growing early. The coldness is not harmful, and warm diseases start. The human pathological condition picture is : Qi is “angry at the above resulting in blood overflowing causing symptoms such as: red or blood shot eyes, cough, headache, metrorrhagia, flank area fullness, skin sores or ulcers.” The treatment principle is to 1) sedate the Yun (heavenly stem) and Qi (earthly branch),2) support the one which is not strong, 3) subdue the stagnated Qi. Specifically, one must first find the source of the disease, only when there is no more or no less, everything is balanced and of course there is thus no severe sickness. So, for the year of such conditions described above, one should take more salty, spicy and sour tasting food to permeate and release, steep and disperse, thereby regulating the excess according to the presence of cold and warm conditions. If both Yun and Qi have the same character of wind-heat, use more cold property materials (foods, herbs, etc.); if both Yun and Qi are not the same character of wind–heat, use less cold property materials (foods, herbs, etc.); This is the same rule that apply for the diet. ”If one works against the nature and against the season, his/her sickness will become worse. With all this in mind, I then prescribed him the following herbal formula to Richard:

Liu Wei Di Huang Pian

Xiao Yao Pian

The acupuncture prescription is based on the same explanation as above with slight modifications according to the symptoms. During the second course, the patient had developed a severe rash on the back. It was very itchy and was spreading over the rest of his body, like insect bites. The family was very concerned and called me to see if the pills may have caused an allergic reaction. I told them to not worry because of the current weather that we were all experiencing at that time. It will go away in a few days. The pills were not causing the rash. I asked him to drink some green bean soup or eat some watermelon. As expected, the new rashes went away in a few days. The blood pressure was getting higher so I added another herbal pill formula: Jiang Ya Pian. The biggest cancer tissue on the right temple, even if it was no longer painful, it continues to grow back. The patient continued to use watermelon juice and he is still got the same results. Also, each time when the patient removed the scab, the first couple of times there was a little blood, then it went to pus and finally the scab comes off clean with no bleeding or pus. The new tissue growing back is getting more and more back to normal. The cancer tissue on the left forearm, which is about the size of a 1×1 cm area and close to the LI meridian, cleared up by itself and became a scab until finally the scab disappeared. The cancer tissues on the patient’s back of which there were several, also have disappeared by themselves. The cancer tissues on his arms have been shrinking and disappearing. The skin tissue on the ears is back to normal. The patient said that before he could only sleep on his back only facing up, because he could not lay on his left or right side because of the severe pain caused emanating from the sores on his ears and face. During the initial visit, the skin on Richard’s lower limb was very rough, which, I thought was sweat because he was enduring so much pain. His family said that it was the lotion. Right now, when I do routine checks and ask if lotion has been applied, they always tell me: ”No, nothing has been put on his skin”. Richard’s skin is changing to a normal, reddish and moist appearance like that of a young man. His left big toe nail’s color is changing from a black color to yellow, and all the toe nails are changing to a new, normal color. The patient can’t help saying, “If I had only met you earlier, I may have the right side of my nose, my right thumb, and my full, complete skin.” Half way through the second course Richard was strong enough to be able to drive on his own. He came in and told me that he had fired his driver because “She can’t drive, makes me nervous!”

Currently, the patient is on his third course.

In the lunar calendar the time now is in the second Qi period (this time is the 3rd and 4th month): the guest Qi Taiyin damp earth is above the host Qi Shaoyin emperor fire which creats weather and biological pictures such as : “the second Qi, the fire is closed or smouldered by the presence of damp. White dust gets up everywhere along with clouds and rain, wind is not strong enough to overcome and dry the dampness which becomes rain, and people starts to get healthier.The human pathological condition picture is : the fire is smouldering above, thus coughing and vomiting, sores or ulcers inside, chest discomfort, headaches and body heat, a decrepit feeling and a sense of being muddleheaded, with pussy sores or ulcers.” So, the treatment principle is still based on the same as above with certain modifications according the specific situation. The patient, during this time, caught a cold, so we added the Sang Ju Pian herbal formula.

During the third course, Richard’s right thumb, which has been amputated at the first knuckle on April 21, 2009, is still swollen and very painful. His thumb is so swollen, as if it could possibly be infected. It definitely did not look normal at all. The pain has been occurring off and on. Each time when his thumb hurt, the pain was so severe that he wanted to cut his hand off. The pain would last for several hours. But for some reason, every time he came in for a treatment the thumb is not bothering him. Finally, in the third course, he came in and said his thumb was bothering him so I selected the point Sp1 on the left big toe. Once I inserted the needle he said that he felt the sensation. He immediately said, “The pain is gone.” Again, he sighed with relief and disbelief of how one needle can stop the pain so quickly! How is the relationship between my right thumb and left big toe? It’s amazing! … ”

Enlightenment and Inspiration:

During the whole procedure, we did not use any special pill or diet, nor special acupuncture formula for the skin cancer. We just focused on the back and leg pain only, based on the theory of Yin and Yang balancing. The watermelon juice was used only for external use, which was applied on the right temple and not the rest of the body because he said he does not like the sticky feeling. So, for a man who is close to 68 years old and having suffered with skin cancer for over forty years, that he could have such great unexpected progress in such a short period of two to three months, is because of the natural therapy based on ancient Chinese medicine theory of the << Neijing>>: balance the internal environment and the body will heal. Any abnormal stuff growing inside our body relies on a specialized abnormal pathological environment. Once such a special abnormal pathological environment is balanced, the abnormalities will spontaneously be unable to sustain themselves and will die or resolve. An example that helps one visualize the balance of life forms within their environment is like a penguin that cannot survive in tropical areas or a banana tree that cannot survive at the North Pole. The balancing of the Yin and Yang of our internal body can be done regardless of the expense of the material, as long as we follow the nature, follow the seasons, touch the root, the result will be wonderfully effective. From this experience, how about other cancers?!…

Bibliographic Notes:

1. Clinical Application of Wu Yun Liu Qi, Written by He-lu Tian, published by Shanxi Science and Technology Publishing House, in 2005.

2.I-Ching Acupuncture, written by Zhao Chen, published by Chinese I- ChingMedicine Research Institute, U.S.A., in 1998.

3. Master Tong’s Acupunture, written by Wei-jie Yang, published by Chinese Medicine Ancient Books Publishing House, in 2002.

Keywords: Neijing, Medical I Ching, , Wu Yun Liu Qi, I Ching Acupuncture, Master Tong’s Acupuncture hexagrams, trigrams, ba gua

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