A pin cushion stuck with needles

Acupuncture for Nausea

Anticipatory nausea was one of the worst feelings I experienced during cancer treatment. I would usually get sick just at the thought of an upcoming chemo appointment, even days before I was scheduled to go. There were multiple occasions that I physically got sick just from stepping inside the cancer center. There were times that I needed one of those bright yellow barf buckets when they accessed my port and simply flushed it with saline, before the chemo drugs started flowing! The taste of the saline alone was enough to make me sick. I felt like a crazy person. Who gets sick before they even start a chemo infusion? Apparently, a lot of people do.

Trying acupuncture for nausea

I was on a mission to do whatever it took to stop anticipatory nausea. I did a ton of googling and found a few things that I was willing to try. One of them was acupuncture. I didn’t think there was any way this would work, but I was so desperate that I would’ve eaten a worm if someone told me it would stop the anticipatory nausea.

I found an acupuncturist just ten minutes from where I was living. I went to my first appointment feeling both excited and a bit nervous. I explained my situation and what I was hoping to get out of these appointments. The acupuncturist seemed to know exactly what to do for me! She told me there were points in my ear that she wanted to trigger. She told me this would help to calm me down but it might hurt a little. She was right! It wasn’t super painful, especially now that cancer had turned me into a pro at getting poked by needles, but it certainly didn’t feel good. She took a small needle that almost looked like a tiny thumbtack and poked it into my cartilage. I was told to try to keep this in for a long as I could, preferably until my chemo appointment which was days later! It was supposed to help with nausea for as long as the needle was in my ear, so I covered it up with a tiny bandaid and kept my fingers crossed that it would stay put.

It worked!

Again, I was determined so I left this uncomfortable little needle in my ear for three days. Sleeping with it in was probably the worst part because it was impossible to sleep on my side. However, it all worked out to be well worth the minor discomfort. On the morning of my appointment, I was shocked to realize that I felt just fine! Of course I was still dreading the chemo, but I didn’t feel the need to carry around a puke bag with me everywhere I went.

I continued to get acupuncture every week until I was through with chemo. It got a little expensive and to this day I still don’t know if it actually worked or if it was just in my head, but who cares! To me, it was worth every penny.

Does anyone else experience anticipatory nausea when heading into appointments?

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