05 Aug Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for Fibromyalgia
Two Years Out and Counting
I know it may sound cliché, but it really is hard to believe it has been more than two years since I completed my 40-session hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatments. You can read more about what I experienced with HBOT here.
What a couple of years it has been!
Ups and downs, good times and hard times, these past two years have been a roller-coaster for everyone.
As I said in my previous blog post, 2020 was especially difficult on so many levels.
But, I do want to reflect on the longer term effects of going through the HBOT treatments, because I believe it is important to occasionally stop and take an inventory of where you are, where you have been, and where you are going. It’s also important to recognize the current habits affecting your life and to spend time evaluating what is working and what is not. By doing so, you can focus on what works and change what doesn’t.
So, after two years, what is the verdict of HBOT?
Overall, I have to say it is still positive. My initial improvement in the few months following the treatments was nothing short of amazing! I had more energy, less pain, better sleep and more overall well-being. My stamina improved, and I started the blog. I felt like I was getting my life back. As my health continued to improve, I was able to begin weaning myself off the prescription medication.
But, after about 4 months, I took a noticeable downturn. Of course, this isn’t uncommon as winter begins each year. For me, winter is hard, no matter what I do. So, whether it was from the reduction of medication, the changes in the weather and length of daylight hours, a natural dip in my health, or just the fibro entering a major flare, I can’t say. But, my symptoms did worsen again from that point forward.
As I described in the previous blog, the next year and a half was just tough.
Tough mentally, socially and physically.
On the positive side, I was able to get off the regular prescription medications, I continued to work, and I took up new hobbies.
I think the most lasting effect of the HBOT treatments has been a much-improved clarity of thought. I still have times of brain fog so extreme I have difficulty expressing myself verbally, but those days are rare now, whereas before the treatments, it was happening more days than not.
Pain-wise, I have to say it is a draw. I still have a lot of pain in my legs, which is almost constant. But I can live with it. I still have an occasional migraine, but they are very rare, maybe once every 3 or 4 months. Before, I had several a month.
There is definitely a correlation between the pain, stress and fatigue. When I manage my stress and get more rest, the pain is always better.
Given how much disruption and expense my family and I went through to get the HBOT, would I do it again?
Yes, I would.
Although the improvements weren’t as permanent as I had hoped, they were significant. If I had been able to complete even more treatments in the sessions, or returned for more within the first year following the initial sessions, I believe the improvements would have been even more dramatic and long-lasting.
But, I am confident some healing took place during those sessions.
I hope to be able to do more treatments in the future. Possibly, as time goes by, more research will show this is a viable option for improving quality of life and reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. Maybe more treatments are needed for more permanent results. Maybe occasionally returning for periodic maintenance sessions would be beneficial. Time will tell.
I’m very glad I took the chance and did the sessions. I’m extremely thankful for the loving and supportive family that allowed me to live with them for almost two months while I did the therapy. They saved me a fortune in living expenses!
I’m also very grateful for my husband who kept everything running smoothly at home while I was away. He never complained or worried about the expense. He completely supported me, giving me a tremendous gift of love as I tried something so experimental as far as fibro is concerned.
Would I recommend the HBOT treatments for anyone with fibro?
I think I would have to say it depends.
The benefits for me were very real. But, there are no guarantees of success, or even of any changes in symptoms.
It took a tremendous amount of time and money, for something which is basically a big gamble. It might not work for you. Are you ready to lose two months, spend thousands of dollars, and possibly get no results?
Were the HBOT Treatments worth the time, inconvenience, and expense?
They were for me.
Maybe if my circumstances had been better over the past 18 months, I would have seen more permanent results.
If I could do it again without being away from home for two months, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat, expenses and all.
The bottom line:
I was able to get off the prescription medications and still live a busy and full life without debilitating pain. With the help of a few over-the-counter pain relievers, herbs, vitamins and minerals, I am able to sleep fairly well most nights.
My brain fog is still much improved and that’s a huge incentive for me.
I am curious…Have any of you been through the HBOT treatments?
If you have, I would love to know how they affected you and your fibromyalgia symptoms.
I would also like to know if articles like this are helpful to you. I don’t want this blog to focus too much on my personal journey, but if these stories are encouraging to you, then I will continue to blog about my experiences from time to time. Please feel free to comment below about what you would like to see in future posts.
Talk with Your Doctor about HBOT or any changes!
Of course, as always, I recommend you work with your personal physician before changing medications or getting any kind of treatment. Each one of us is different and our fibromyalgia affects us in different ways. I make no claims of expertise, I am just trying to explain my journey…what I have been through and what works or doesn’t work for me.
Fibromyalgia isn’t a death sentence, unless you let it be one.
It is a challenge. But, when met head-on with a willingness to take charge of your own health and a willingness to try new treatments and to make changes when needed, you can live a better life. You know yourself better than anyone else does. Trust yourself to know what is right for you!
If you find that living with fibromyalgia is becoming more than you can handle, PLEASE reach out for help! Below is a list of resources available to help you.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Veteran’s Crisis Line
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- The Mighty’s Suicide Prevention Resource List
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
You are precious and loved, more than you know!
I encourage you to LIVE your life as fully as possible! Don’t be afraid to ask for and get help if you need it!
Until next time, here’s a virtual hug for you! If you are interested in being notified about new posts, I encourage you to join our subscriber list, too.