Sunday, July 6, 2008


Good afternoon everyone! Well, as you can probably figure out I didn't just go lie down after my last entry and come right back. I laid down for a while, and then laid down some more, and then woke up at 6 am! It was great! It was weird, sleeping that much, but it was great! I am not used to it and it was definitely due to the HBO.

I spent the next day, July 4th, at the beach with friends. For all of my friends up north where the water is barely 65 degree's; it was a little rough. I had to force myself to get into the 87 degree gulf coast water, force myself to try and enjoy floating in the water and watching the dolphins cavorting around the sailboats and jet-ski's just off shore, to try and enjoy the perfect 90 degree, sunny, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky day. But as I remembered all of those cold days spent up north, all of those cold mornings having to walk through the newly fallen snow just to get to my car, how the below zero weather caused my CRPS pain to shoot sky-high, somehow I managed to enjoy myself.

The warm weather, the sunny days, and the warm water have all been wonderful for my CRPS, which was one of the main reasons we moved down to Florida from Maine. I am very grateful to my better half, Petra, for making the move for those reasons.

Ok, so what have the last few days been like without HBO? Because Friday was a holiday the clinic was closed so after four days of treatment I have taken three days off. I will resume my treatment, my fifth day of therapy, tomorrow, July 7th. 

If you had asked me on Thursday, as some did,  if I had begun to feel any pain relief I would have told you that I didn't think that there was any positive forward movement yet but I did notice there was some backward movement; which isn't unusual. I have had some issues with a little eye blurriness, and a little bit of a headache in the afternoon a couple of days but neither thing last long and neither are overly aggravating. Of course the treatment does make you fairly tired as well.

However! On Friday night I felt my pain increase and then again on Saturday and today. I know it wasn't due to being at the beach on Friday because I was very careful to not over-do, something I have a tendency to do. I also had a few people watching over me to ensure that didn't happen as well. And we went home early rather than stay and watch the fireworks because I knew if I stayed that I would be far too exhausted by the time we got home. 

So that only leaves one conclusion; the HBO must have started to give me some relief and the lack of HBO on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! So while some people might be a little upset with feeling that additional pain these last few days I was thrilled with it because it told me that the HBO was working! How far we will be able to go with it, how much relief I will eventually get I don't know. But I am excited about the possibilities!

Now on to other business.

I haven't forgotten about the information I was getting to answer the question about the difference between the blow up units and the hard-sided units that most clinics use. I had hoped to have it by today but it wasn't sent to me. I will try and get it tomorrow. 

I do have a new article to share with you that answers a very important question; what about stopping the treatment early? Before the treatment series is scheduled to end? For instance, if you are set up at the clinic in the typical 20 or 30 treatment cycle, are there any possible problems with suddenly stopping after 10 or 15? 

Some may ask "Why would you stop in the first place?" 

Well, I happen to have the answer to that. Excellent question! Thanks for playing our game. We have some wonderful parting gifts for you.

What happens, as I may have discussed before, is that for many patient's their pain actually worsens before it gets better. For yet others, their pain level will go up and down during their treatment, especially in the beginning.  Unfortunately, some patients get to these points, these changes, and give up. They feel the HBOT isn't working and think,  why put myself through any more of this? 

For those of you who are going through it now or who are considering it in the future, remember,  we have to push through it. Finish the entire course of treatment. In some cases you may not see the entire positive results for weeks after you finish the therapy. Every session builds upon the last, and it is a long process. 

It isn't the same thing as watching a cut/wound heal on your arm, where you can monitor its' progress, see the healing take place in front of you. CRPS and fibromyalgia healing involves healing our nervous system, healing the way our inner body functions. It took a lot of time for our sympathetic nervous system to get "screwed up" (technical medical terminology) , give it the time it needs to heal properly. After all, if you give up, what are you going to do? Just go home and do nothing? Why not just finish off the few weeks left of therapy instead? 

So here is the article I promised. I know, a long way 'round. It is called "PERSONALITY CHANGE WITH HBOT" and you can read it just by clicking on it.

Something else I wanted to share, sorry for making this so long today, is a few tips to help make the after-effects of the HBO less likely to be a problem. 

It is important to remember that your diet plays a key role in maintaining your health when you are in chronic pain. This is especially true when you are undergoing a treatment such as HBO. One of the best ways to help with your diet is to follow the examples given in Doctor Hooshmand's, CHRONIC PAIN DIET, AKA, THE FOUR F'S DIET . You can read about the basics on our website and then click through to get to Dr Hooshmand's site where he explains not only what the Four F's are but also what foods to avoid.

Unfortunately the Four F's are not French Fries and deep-Fried Twinkies, and Fudge! 

Dr Hooshmand explains these in more depth but they are;

Fresh Fish, Fresh Fruit, Fowl, and Fresh Vegetables. He gives a list of foods to be avoided and a list of foods that are allowed.  

While many CRPS patients tend to have foods that they find increase or decrease their pain, many will be surprised to learn how accurate this list is. The foods-to-be-avoided list, are foods that tend to increase your pain. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention that when you are undergoing HBO Therapy, it helps if you remember to bring along some fruit because you need to eat right after your treatment, it is recommended that you eat within 30 minutes of exiting the chamber, at least an apple or something along those lines. Keep up a diet high in protein, low-carbs, and low-fat. 

You should also make sure not to drink caffeine four or five hours before treatment and it is even recommended to avoid caffeine altogether if possible, according to the chronic pain diet! 

You will notice a big difference! 

I will try to continue to pass on tips as the various Drs and Techs I talk with pass them on to me. 

I love hearing from everyone else who is also going through the treatment, keep the emails coming. I may not always be able to answer but I always read them.




Bob Grosh said...

Keith -

As I recall I had some temporary blurring of vision as well during HBO therapy... it's been a number of yrs now but I believe the reason is that the drying along with the pressurization temporarily changes the shape of the lens in your eye. Another RSD patient at the time recommended a product called Thera-tears (lubricant eye drop)which I did use but it did not eliminate the problem.

Also, one thing about Hoosh's diet regarding caffeine that I wanted to clarify. I asked Hoosh about this (again, many yrs ago) and asked him if decaf was ok. He said no, it's not the caffeine in coffee that needs to be avoided, but the acid. And by that measure, decaf apparently is just as bad as regular octane joe. In case anyone was wondering....

Best of luck with your treatment Keith.

Bob Grosh

Anonymous said...

Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.

Keith said...


Yes, the blurriness was explained to me as fairly typical. It had to do with the pressurization, exactly as you mentioned. It can come and go they said and usually doesn't last long.

I already use massive amounts of eye drops and lubricants in my eyes because I have all kinds of eye issues. My CRPS began in my eyes back in 1974, I have had a corneal transplant (failed), I have Uveitis, dry eye syndrome, my tear ducts are sewn shut, etc.

Even when I went into almost complete remission from the low-dose ketamine treatment, I still had pain in my eyes (and a little bit in me ears and a tiny bit in my toes). Even though my CRPS is full body, the eyes have always been the most painful part of my body.

As to the caffeine, yes I remember Hoosh saying that now but had forgotten. Thanks for adding that! HBO's need to be mindful of caffeine even more so because of the oxygen. So it must be avoided entirely the four or five hours prior to your HBO therapy.

Thanks Bob!


caymantime said...

Keith, I've still got everything crossed for you! Man, what a great thing to hear after only a week! Glad you are enjoying sunny Florida and our beautiful beaches again too! : ) Your better half sounds like a real keeper too! I wish all RSD patients could find one like her.

I'm glad you are going to discuss the hyperbaric differences with the home units too. I had asked Phil and he gave me the short run down. Definitely a difference!

In my thoughts and prayers as always,
Lori Silver