Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment. “A Personal View”

leave a comment »


The Chamber of Youth

The Chamber of Youth

At long last I can finally put pen to paper and give readers an update on what has been happening with myself and my treatment. You may recall in a previous post that I revealed I was having some problems with radiation induced bladder cystitis and I would need to be treated in a hyperbaric chamber. Prior to the treatment I was instructed to have a colonoscopy just to check if there was any evidence of radiation proctitus affecting the bowel. Well guess what?…….. I have been diagnosed with both.

I previously explained that this type of radiation damage is rare these days, due to improvements in modern methods of directing radiation beams to tissue and organs. Approx 7 / 10% of patients will experience radiation damage to healthy tissue either in the short-term, (acute) or long-term (chronic). This damage to tissue can occur years after receiving radiation treatment and is difficult to heal.

Basically, radiation bladder cystitis and radiation proctitis is damage to the blood vessels surrounding the wall of the bladder and colon. The blood vessels rupture and bleed causing a degradation of quality of life and/or life threatening conditions as it progresses. These conditions do not respond well to drug treatment and show a limited response when the blood vessels are cauterised. Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment is the gold standard for this condition with a cure rate of approx 80%.

I will not go into any further descriptions or prognosis on these two conditions, nor the technical science behind Hyperbaric Medicine. I have already written fairly extensively on the medical conditions in previous articles and I have included at the end of this post, links to articles of interest regarding Hyperbaric Medicine. What I will try to do, is give a personal account of my treatment so far in the chamber.

I arrived at the Townsville Hospital over a week ago and located the Hyperbaric Medicine unit in a back corridor where I met all the staff who are a tight-knit medical and technical unit operating the chamber for patients with all sorts of medical conditions, from radiation damage, to wounds not responding to normal medical treatment. Nearly all of these staff are recreational divers and are dedicated people.

Treatments vary from twenty to fifty daily treatments including weekends. There are two separate sessions a day, lasting for two hours each. I am to receive fifty treatments and have been allocated to the afternoon sessions. The chamber here in Townsville is rectangular and can hold 8 patients a session plus a nurse. On arrival, patients are required to change into “Party Clothes,” anti static coloured garments that are one size fits all, plus cute little colourful booties, nothing is taken into the chamber apart from a book or magazine. There is a television available that usually plays a movie if requested but the choices have to be, a movie that is no longer than two hours and has sub-titles because you cannot hear any audio due to the oxygen demand set up.

The session begins by pressurising the chamber to 140kps or approx equivalent to 14 meters,or in other words two and a bit atmospheres. This takes about 20 minutes to descend and you constantly need to keep equalising pressure in your ears, some drink water, others yawn and wiggle jaws and some hold noses and blow. When you get to pressure, a clear hood is placed over your head and you begin to breathe pure oxygen. I couldn’t help but be amused and smiled to myself as I did, that it reminded me of a Dr Who program complete with the Daleks “exterminate, exterminate.” There are two air breaks during the session, where the hoods are removed for five minutes and then the session ends as the pressure is gradually decreased taking approx 20 minutes to ascend with the hoods and oxygen in place.

This treatment is not invasive, nor does it create any side effects. I have read and heard some astounding things about the benefits of this treatment and as I look about at the staff and the long-term patients, I wonder about the glow of good healthy, youthful skin they all seem to possess……Could this be the fountain of youth????? The high pressure experienced forcing the pure oxygen into the bodies cells, reviving blood vessels and assisting with rebuilding neucrotic tissue and expelling waste……Mmmmmm …..Nice thought.

Is this a cure-all

Is this a cure-all

Time will be the judge for my condition but touch wood, I have not had a bleed since I began treatment, still I am looking forward to my fiftieth dive and going home at last.

Lee aka Popeye



Written by Lee

15 May 2014 at 3:44 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: