Nancy is an elegant 48 year old who lives one hour away from Cincinnati. She first came for supportive and palliative care after finishing six courses of chemotherapy for thymoma, a malignant tumor of the thymus gland. I provided acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat her fatigue, nausea and lack of appetite. She then developed low white blood cell count, presumably on the basis of autoimmunity, her immune system targets and destroys her own white blood cells. She was started on high dose steroid, then the dosage tapered slowly. She responded well.
She came in one Friday morning feeling very tired and dizzy. She had just weaned off steroid completely. Her blood pressure was low, with systolic being 86 and a pulse rate of 96 per minute. She told me that she planned to go to New York city the next morning with their high school daughter to visit several college programs. She asked my opinion if she can go. Of course, I told her that it was probably best for her not to since she looked too frail. After acupuncture she still felt slightly light-headed and she was not sure if she could drive back home by herself.
It really presented a dilemma. Do I send her to the local emergency room? I knew in my heart that she had some adrenal gland insufficiency based on the history. She had been on high dose of steroid for almost two months till just recently. I decided to mix her a herbal tea called Shen Mai San. In about 15 minutes she felt better. I gave her a full bottle and told her to take it twice daily.
She did leave for New York the next day as planned with her daughter and accomplished what she wanted to do without any more weakness spells. I advised her to go back on 4mg Prednisone per day, a very small dosage, and begin to taper again upon returning from New York City.
Had she been seen by another physician that Friday, she would probably have been sent to the ER to receive IV hydration. She still would not be able to travel to New York. Instead, she took my herb twice daily faithfully, the herbal approach was a nice adjunct to steroid and I was confident she would improve quickly.
The herbal approach saved her not only money, but also time and the risk of catching infections from the ER.
Shen Mai San comprises of Wisconsin Ginseng, Mai Men Dong and Wu Wei Zhi.