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I have a post on 9-14-09 concerning Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy ( HBOT). Both my radiation oncologist and my family doctor think that this therapy will not help my problem. Based upon a huge amount of reading on the subject ,of the repair of tissue and bone damage caused from irradiation, I am convinced to give this technique a shot. I also understand that Medicare will pay for the treatments. I am presently waiting for the HBOT facility to give me an appointment to discuss my case. I had my medical records sent to them a week ago. Will keep you up to date on my progress.
I received authorization for coverage from my insurance to undergo HBOT last week and have finished my eighth (out of sixty) treatment. It entails a two and a half hour commitment seven days/week.
Many people I have spoken with swear by this therapy and I haven't run into anyone that didn't benefit.
The daily treatment begins with a short interview asking questions about latest meals, water intake, pain levels, and medication compliance. You then enter the chamber and the pressure is applied equal to about fifty feet deep in the ocean. During this time you have to pinch your nose repeatedly and blow to get your inner ear to equalize. An ventilator mask is then put on and pure oxygen is breathed for thirty minutes. Then a 10 minute air break with pulse checked. Thirty more minutes of pure O2 followed by another air break and pulse check, then 30 more minutes of pure O2. The mask is kept on for about 5 minutes of the 6 minute ascent(depressureization) and after exiting the chamber you are then again interviewed and vitals checked.
The first run was pretty hard when the mask was put on as your body tries to tell you that you are suffocating but now it's become old hat.
My visualization is that I'm on a two hour flight with in-flight movie, snacks and bottled water served during the air breaks, and then landing about the time the movie is finished.
So far I have noticed some relief from pain in the evening and have been able to reduce my use of vicodin during that time. However in the morning, when I get ready for work and start moving around alot, the extreme pain returns. I remain fatigued most of the time and still don't go out other than work and to shop for needed food items.
I've got 52 treatments remaining and hope that the added oxygen forced into the dying prostatic urethra tissues will form a "healed margin" that will eventually get me through this delayed side effect of the radiation I was exposed to over two and a half years ago.
BTW Jim: My Urologist, Radiologist, and GP all agreed that HBOT would be very beneficial to my condition and all wrote to my insurance company stating this. The last straw would be radical use of steroids which I am trying to avoid especially after two years of Lupron.
The hyperbaric is helping to reduce my pain levels. I'm now past my 20th treatment with 40 to go if I need them all. It's a huge time commitment every evening but I watch a movie in the tube every night an that seems to help the time fly by. After taking 4-6 Vicodin/day just to get by, I'm now taking only one when I need it at night. I don't like the Vicodin but for several months the pain was horrendous and made it very difficult to concentrate. I guess Vicodin can be addictive but I worked closely with the doc to try and make sure that didn't happen. I have also been a little more than anxious about my PSA readings which have risen every three months since the Lupron was stopped a year ago (Nov08 - undetectible, Feb09 - 0.05, May09 - 0.16, August09 - 0.31) My reading this week was back down to 0.16!!!!! This is a very good sign. I'm still suffering from minor stress incontinence which started a couple weeks after my TURP surgery back in August (funny as I was continent for a week or so after the catheter was removed and then went downhill as I started healing). For example, this prevented me from bowling today as every time I threw the ball slight leakage would happen. I'm hoping that exercises will help after the hyperbaric as the pain from them makes it all but impossible to clench up down there.
***Important Note - I'm not in anyway implying that Hyperbaric Therapy has reduced my PSA but included the PSA drop as it is very good news for me!