My unexpected Olympic Highlight
Today a month ago I arrived in Zurich again after being in Beijing at the Olympics for an entire month. I am forever grateful to have been a candidate for the IOC Athletes’ Commission but also to have been able to support the Swiss Olympic team and see the Olympics from a different perspective.
Although I was not elected to the commission (I was missing 75 votes), this trip turned out to be the highlight in my past 3 years because of a completely unexpected reason.
From the day of the departure in Zurich, my feet were hurting in our team shoes. As more days passed, the pain got worse, to the point where even at night I could not sleep as the feet on the mattress would hurt me badly. I was patiently waiting for a Swiss Doc to arrive at the village so I could get my feet checked out. As soon as Dr. Lukas Weisskopf arrived, I went to see him and he told me the diagnosis, gave me medication and some Flectoparin to put on my heels overnight. A couple of days later, my feet were better but still hurting. So I spontaneously decided to go to the polyclinic in the village and see if I can get treatment there or maybe insoles or just something that would help.
Upon looking at my feet, the Chinese doctor, Dr. Lee, made the same diagnosis then the swiss doc, so I immediately trusted him. He offered me medication, which I declined as I had already taken some. Then he suggested a cream, which I didn’t want on my feet. So lastly he suggested doing acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
I agreed to acupuncture. I have done that previously in Switzerland but never felt any effect so I no longer went. So here I was; in China, about to get acupuncture. I laid down on my stomach with my pants pulled up to the knees. I was expecting him to put some needles around my feet and then leave them in for 30 minutes or so – that’s what I was used to from Switzerland.
Little did I know, after going through quite a painful acupuncture, I was done in less than 5 minutes and Dr. Lee told me to get up and walk around and let him know how it feels. I was so surprised; the pain was gone! I was able to walk around the clinic and it didn’t hurt.
Dr. Lee told me to come back again in 5 days, so I did and after that again in 5 days. The pain never came back, I was really happy. On my 3rd visit, I decided that I would share my fractured vertebrae story and the pain that I still had with Dr. Lee.
He smiled – although I could not see his mouth, I saw it in his eyes. He said that he will look at it and treat it as well. So he grabbed and squeezed my scare and the skin around my throat. It was very painful and uncomfortable. He then asked me whether I had eaten lunch before coming here. I said yes, not understanding why he was asking me that. Dr. Lee proceeded, took a needle, poked it into my throat, and at this moment I knew why he asked me about lunch. The pain was horrible, I was about to faint. I have no idea what exactly he did, I had tears running down my cheeks, I don’t know if I ever felt such pain before.
He was in there for what felt like an eternity. At one point he hit a muscle that released a spasm right away and said: “Bingo”, as he removed the needle. He grabbed the same skin again, pulled it and that did not curt anymore. It was unreal.
He then went to my neck and there is this one spot that is not good at all. Not even I can touch it, let alone my therapists. He was slowly approaching that spot and I tensed up. I was not sure if I should let him continue or if I should call it a day. I thought of what he did with my feet and my throat though and quickly decided to go all in and fully trust him. As soon as he touched that spot, I squeaked and tensed up even more. Again he took a needle and went right in there. The pain I experienced minutes before on my throat was harmless to the pain that I had on my neck. This time, I was crying and about to faint when the muscle spasmed again and I heard him say “bingo” as he remove the needle.
Unless like the other times, this did not feel good at all. I was sure that this was not coming back anymore to see him. What was I thinking?
Before I was leaving, he told me that I should go sleep now, that I will get really tired fast. So I did. I did not feel good. Once I woke up again, I was not better. I felt like a bobblehead.
I was wondering when this feeling will disappear and my regular state would come back. It was then it hit me. I had tears running down my cheeks again… this feeling, that bobblehead feeling, it was the feeling of being PAIN-FREE! I had not felt like that in 3 years! I could not believe it!
Of course, I went back to see Dr. Lee again after 5 days and again after 5 days. How did I just get so lucky? My neck pain was gone, after 3 years, while being in China? Who would have thought? Not me, not my therapists! Now, a month later, I am still pain-free and I don’t want to have it any other way. Being pain-free is the best feeling.
I learned to live with the pain the limitation of the neck rotation. I was perfectly fine with it. But now, actually being pain-free, remembering what it felt like before the skiing accident, it gave me back so much quality of life. I have so much more energy, more will to do stuff, more of everything! I got a pain-free life!
Sharing this story with you, as I am beyond happy and excited about the new quality of life that I have back. But also to make you think about the pain that you might experience in your body and what that can do to you and your mind. Take care of yourself and do not let pain dictate your life. Western medicine is great, but there are so many other ways to try as well. Take a chance!