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Hyperbaric Oxygen does it help?

frosty4
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2008

I had cancer in my throat and finished chemo and radiation treatment last july. I now have radiation damage and am being told to take hyperbaric. I tried one treatment but am clauostraphobic. Does this treatment work?

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I have a very good friend who runs a hyberbaric chamber at a local hospital. It happens that I coached his daughter with some measure of success before we ever knew we would come together in these sort of circumstances.

Me? I know little or nothing about the hyperbaric chamber, except that my friend (and my wife, incidentally, a highly qualifed wound care/ostomy/continence nurse) both believe in its positive powers when prescribed appropriately.

Ask your real questions, frosty, and I will try to get you some answers. No promises, but I will try.

In the meantime, I would advise that if you trust your doctors, you should probably follow their judgement. If you do not, you should probably get new doctors.

Re the claustrophobia, frosty, you can not match me in that department :). I would advise that if you choose to continue with this treatment, you get one of your docs to prescribe valium or some other med, one or two pills, that's all, that will help you to get through it.

I am VERY claustrophic, and have had to endure I don't know how many MRIs and CATs and PETs and whatever...not to mention wearing a mask bolted to a table during radiation...and I slept through my MRIs, with the positive force of a small dose of valium.

Think about it.

I look forward to hearing from you if you have questions about the chamber.

Otherwise, I wish you the best. I know that claustrophobia is not a laughing matter, but we CAN make it a non-issue.

Take care,

Joe

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

I went to the hyperbaric chamber for 40 sessions and it worked very well for me. My jaw bones (and other bones in the area) were damaged due to radiation and I needed to have implants inserted in the bone for new teeth. A weak jawbone may not support anything.

I had 30 sessions before surgery and 10 after surgery. We waiting more than six months to see if the oxigen chamber had worked and the bone was stronger and holding the implants and it was, better than my oral surgeon expected.

There were other people with me in the chamber, some were diabetic, others were cancer patients and they had wounds that would not heal.

I become claustrophobic inside the machines, perhaps because they look like coffins to me. I was given a sedative for the MRIs but no longer need them. For the MRIs and scans, I just used my mind, closed my eyes and told myself it was space travel and I was in the life pod or hibernation pod, whatever. Counted backwards from 10 as I was going in and fell asleep five minutes later in spite of the noise. For the hyperbaric chamber, I told myself I was really going on a trip in the Yellow Submarine. I also took a book to read. It worked well for me. Each session lasted two hours with a 10 minute break. For the break we could not get out of the chamber but we were able to move around and drink water. After the first 2-3 sessions we all started demanding peanuts and drinks (like on an airplane).

My experience in the hyperbaric chamber was not bad at all. You have to wear scrubs and since it gets so cold, I also wore a long sleeved t-shirt underneath, two pairs of socks and they provided blankets. If you wear a t-shirt, it has to be 100 cotton.

Joe suggests asking your doc for Valium. That works too. It is not for me because I am very sensitive to many medicines and they make me drowsy which I don't like. Like Joe said, claustrophia is real but usually there is something that can help you.

All the best,
Tere

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