This post is completely off my normal topics of FileMaker and business, but it's time to update everyone on the progress of my son, Jon.
For those who don't know, here is a short version of the backstory:
Jon has two advanced degrees, Computer Science and Industrial Engineering, and, in 2014, was living the life of his dreams in Seattle working as a software tester and developer.
Jon is 32 years old and has been living at home for over three years now. But not by choice. Jon broke a bone in his back 17 years ago in a skiing accident, and over time the complications from that minor break ended up with him living at home, disabled, in chronic pain and with chronic fatigue.
For the past two years, Jon has been unable to walk due to the intense pain and pretty much nonstop muscle spasms all over his body. Medical science was baffled. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed Jon with Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder, as they could not explain the pain, the fatigue, nor the reason why he lost the ability to walk.
We were pretty much out of options by the end of 2017. Jon had a MetLife disability policy. But despite the fact that Jon could not walk nor support himself, was unable to work for days at a time, and had been found disabled by the Social Security Administration, MetLife declared him able to work at 80 percent of his former abilities and cut off his disability payments.
I do not have anything good to say about MetLife. Snoopy is no doubt relieved that MetLife no longer uses him in its logo.
A Ray of Hope
When you find yourself in a situation such as ours, people try to help. Everyone knows a story of some Doctor or some treatment that might help. And we followed up on as many as possible in the hope that something, anything, would work.
My wife, Dotty, took a trip to Kansas City in December. While there, she learned from a friend about a woman who went from a wheel chair to walking after treatments by a doctor located in, of all places, Santa Fe, only 55 miles from where we live. As it turns out, this doctor also has an office in Albuquerque where we live.
Dr. Jason Hao, a highly skilled practitioner of acupuncture, uses a technique he helped pioneer in China: Neuro-Acupuncture. Dr. Hao, and his wife, Dr. Linda Hao, are known around the world for their work and their ability to help people left behind by western medicine (I am not being critical of western medicine – it is wonderful but does not have all the answers).
And we had never heard of him, nor of Neuro-Acupuncture, even though we lived in the same city.
The Rest of the Story
We managed to get Jon an appointment in Santa Fe on December 27th of 2017. Jon's trip up in the car was miserable; spasms and pain forced him to shift constantly.
Dr. Hao talked to Jon for a few minutes, did a brief exam, and then inserted needles in his scalp and one ear. Jon said the constant pain "melted away" in less than five minutes. The almost continuous muscle spasms stopped, as well. Within 20 minutes, Dr. Hao and I helped Jon to a standing position and supported him while he took his first steps in almost two years.
I know there is science supporting the benefits of acupuncture. As a rational person, I understand that.
But what I saw there that day I can only describe as miraculous.
Jon receives a treatment about once a week by Dr. Hao and his progress has been steady. He is not walking unassisted yet, but is able to walk with minimal assistance using a walker.
Here's a short video from a training session in Santa Fe last week sponsored by the Neuro-Acupuncture Institute, a foundation founded by Dr. Hao to train others in Neuro-Acupuncture and to help combine western medicine techniques, such at physical therapy and neurology, in order to help patients recover faster and better:
The muscle spasms and lower back pain are almost completely gone. Jon's stamina and confidence are both improving, and he will be walking without assistance soon.
Most importantly, the lack of pain and spasms did away with the chronic fatigue that comes with chronic pain. Jon's mental faculties are back. Short term memory problems are mostly gone. He is pain-free most of every day – getting back to normal after such a long time in pain is a process that takes some time. Jon never lost hope and never gave up, even in the darkest of times.
We have been very fortunate in the continued support we have received from family, friends, and from so many of you who read my blog. I thank you all. It would have been so much harder without it.
And now, for the first time in over three years, we see a light at the end of the tunnel. And, thankfully, it's not a train.