Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

June 19, 2012
by sherry

Today was Terence's first experience in the
Hyperbaric chamber- (oxygen therapy, HBOT).  The session is one hour long and probably much like an indoor tanning session an opportunity for a nap!

Prior to this expereience, the only knowledge I had about this kind of therapy was Michael Jackson in the '90's. Tabloid photographs of Michael Jackson lying in an unusual glass-encased medical device were published worldwide.  There were rumors of a secret anti-aging treatment or intensive oxygen therapy, but in reality the machine was a hyperbaric chamber.  Come to find out, many professional athletes own one- it evidently helps regenerate tissue and prompts faster healing.

A hyperbaric chamber uses pumps and valves to recreate the greater air pressure experienced by divers under water. Pure oxygen is pumped into a hyperbaric chamber for medical purposes.
Michael Jackson in the chamber!

By increasing the oxygen environment to the cancer cells, it makes them less virulent and in many instances destroys them- applying increased oxygen to diseased cells in the human body supposedly revitalizes or changes the cell structure.....

There is also evidence that Oxygen therapy may help people with lymphoedema (which is one of Terence's biggest problems besides cancer related pain right now).  

Simply, oxygen therapy aids healing and patients in research talk of reduced swelling and less pain, with a softening of the damaged tissue.

So....he decided to try it.  It's outside of standard care and not covered by insurance so we'll take it slowly- I am hoping that at the very least it will help in the general sense of pain relief and well being.  He's been in so much pain this week the hospice doctor has suggested he increase his morphine dosage again (from 30mg to 100mg and now to 200 mg extended release and 60 mg of immediate release)- which he absolutely needs in order to live moment by moment -the pain has become so great. Unfortunately the hour in the chamber was excruciating for Terence since he can't lay flat or barely sit up- so it wasn't a pleasant nap session like I hoped.   I think he's going to give it a couple of times a week, for a month and see how he feels.  

This week, he's met with our hospice nurse, massage therapist and physical therapist (they all come to our home) -we're also scheduling a nephrostomy procedure (having the kidney by pass removed and a new one put in- should be done every 3-4 months)- and also planning ahead medically with hospice our trip home to Hawai'i this September.  It's taking a team to make that work- more than just packing our bags for a ride on a jet plane :)

Until I blog again,



  1. I love my hyperbaric chamber, but it a hole in it! Hang in there Terence! You too Sherry! My last post vanished, so I'll make this short :)
    I've used mostly alternatives for recurrent metastatic melanoma...still alive 8 years after terminal diagnosis. If you have any questions about other alternatives (Gerson coffee helps me the most with daytime pain), ask me. Hugs and blessings! ~Susan or

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