At the age of 31, I’ve already lived a full, adventurous life. I assumed, after getting married, that the next journey life had in store for me would be motherhood. When my husband and I began trying to conceive, we had high hopes, but a year and a half later we were still trying. I desperately wanted to become a mother—it was all I could think about. I became stressed and emotionally fragile—it was even difficult to be happy for friends who announced they were expecting. Since I’ve always been a fan of alternative medicine, I decided to explore other possibilities beyond traditional IVF.
I researched different options for acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC, and came across the Acupuncture Associates website. After reading the many glowing testimonials from people who mentioned his “patient-specific practice,” I felt an instant connection with Robert. I knew he was the right choice for me. My initial appointment lasted hours, and I was so impressed with the questions Robert asked. At one point, after listening to my different symptoms, he asked if I was afraid of the dark. “Yes!” I replied, shocked that he could link something like that to my physical symptoms; it was truly amazing.
I started acupuncture treatments for infertility in early December, with monthly appointments that coincided with my cycle. After ten months, I’ve been amazed at how acupuncture has eased the symptoms of my cycle, diminished my stress levels, and improved my emotional strength—especially during such a stressful and disappointing period. I’ve noticed that Robert introduces new information little by little over time, so the lifestyle changes he suggests never feel overwhelming, which I really appreciate. He also goes above and beyond in many ways. For example, at one appointment he gave me a cookbook—we’d been talking about food choices that would support my efforts, and he thought it would be helpful. It was such a touching gift!
Although I only have treatments once a month, I send my basal body temperatures to Robert for weekly monitoring. He also gives me ‘homework’ to do on my own, like taking Chinese herbs and drinking warm water three times a day. I look forward to my acupuncture appointments in the soothing, relaxing office space the same way I might look forward to a day at the spa, which is definitely an unexpected bonus!
Speaking of the unexpected, Robert also helped spark an epiphany that changed the way I’m approaching infertility and life in general. Last March during a treatment, he said something I’ll never forget. “You are in the prime of your life. Right now, you have more time than money. Don’t let infertility hold you back—enjoy your life and the rest will follow.” I left my appointment still thinking about those words, and that’s when my phone rang. It was my sister-in-law, calling to tell me she was going on a trip to Italy and Spain. I was happy for her, and I told her she had to run with the bulls for me—I had put the Spanish tradition on my bucket list years ago. “Why don’t you come with me and run with them yourself?” she asked. I thought about Robert’s words again, and decided he was right. I had to live my life and couldn’t let this setback keep me from adventure and new experiences. I told my sister-in-law that I would go and a few months later, we were on a plane, headed to Europe.
As I mentioned before, I’ve lived a full, adventurous life. I’ve gone skydiving and scuba diving; I’ve swam with the sharks and backpacked through Europe. I thought running with the bulls would be another item to check off my list, but it ended up being so much more. When we were racing through the streets with those huge animals right beside us, I realized I’d never been so terrified. I looked directly into a bull’s eye, and at that moment I swore I would never run with the bulls again—I want to keep living life to its fullest! Later, I found out that it is actually a very controversial tradition. While I wish I’d known that at the time, I don’t regret the experience. Even though it wasn’t what I expected, the experience changed my perspective.
Acupuncture, for me, is a lot like running with the bulls. When I started my treatments, I was looking to cross an important goal off my list. I wanted to get pregnant and live a full, happy life as a mother. While I haven’t given up hope on that goal, acupuncture has helped me in ways I never expected. It’s made me feel more settled and optimistic about the future, and helped me realize that my life is already full and happy, no matter what happens. For that reason alone, I’m so grateful for Robert and his work with Acupuncture Associates. –E.H.