I’m officially awake. A new physical therapist administered my Kneipp treatment this morning. He obviously thinks that “the slower the better” is the way to go. I have little choice than to be onboard…brrrr. It really is invigorating and I will make an effort to jury-rig a reasonable facsimile back home. The key is having two separate handheld hoses, one hot, one cold, so there is no time in between douses to get comfortable (or reconsider).
My day’s infusion is the bold color of turmeric, it’s actually Curcumin. While it may be familiar in your kitchen cupboard, it’s actually been used as a cure in Ayurvedic Medicine for centuries. In recent years it has captured the attention of researchers internationally. It’s anti-inflammatory efficacy is where the magic lies. Since chronic inflammation is one of the essential prerequisites for the development of cancer, Curcumin infusion makes perfect sense. Research suggests that it is effective in all stages of the disease, inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels in the tumor and in the metastasis. It is administered in concert with deep local hyperthermia, which is exactly what’s on my agenda tomorrow. The infusion is a slow one, lasting the better of three hours.
I enjoy a leisurely midday meal before heading off to my next appointment. I have another round of Auto-Hormone Therapy (AHT), the duration increasing incrementally each time. The treatment objective is to normalize the autonomic control functions of the body, eliminating one of the most important causal factors of the disease. The widely distributed neural network of the autonomic nervous system can be easily affected by cancer and by the adverse events induced by cancer treatments. The treatment is understated, passive and rather restful (which is probably why insurance companies, pharmaceutical conglomerates, and hospitals won’t touch it!). In addition to its immediate physiological result, it will have a feedback effect within all the regulatory organs.
Somewhere after my last treatment I lost the remainder of Monday. I actually know exactly where it went…to the park! The landscape reflects a picturesque Autumn. The evening temperature is delightfully mild and I don’t dare miss an opportunity to enjoy it. I have all to do to coax myself back to the clinic for dinner. Like a child, yanked from the playground too soon, I warily return.
My night’s sleep is sketchy, at best. I’m looking forward to this new treatment and the anticipation is keeping my mind active. I eventually doze off and awake to the castle’s 6am toll.
Herr Schie is manning the hoses again this morning and so, my Kneipp douse is duly elongated. I am also scheduled for a morning suction massage, which is a variance from my usual routine. It’s a lovely way to carry forward the morning’s pleasures.
My treatment room for this modality is private. My nurse is at the computer entering my biometrics when I arrive. Once the table is draped with a cotton sheet, she invites my to mount the rather tall bed. I’m immediately transported back in time, circa 1970…it’s a waterbed! This is actually quite interesting, as the original waterbed was intended for medical therapies in the 19th century. What was attractive about the waterbed then, also makes it attractive now; its form-fitting and pressure-minimizing for the body. The treatment will last an hour, so comfort is key. Dr. Von Braush (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Captain Kangaroo) will oversee the actual positioning of the hyperthermia apparatus. He uses my recent ultrasound to hone in on the location of the tumor-target. Next, he lowers a circular disc, which houses the large electrode (30cm diameter), onto my pelvis. There is a smaller electrode on the underside of the bed that will interface with the other, sending signals to sandwich the tumor. Once in place, he turns towards a tower boasting a panel of multicolored lights, buttons, whistles, and numeric displays. I witness myself in a scene reminiscent of “Back to the Future”. The doctor is satisfied that the electrodes have detected their target. He flips a few switches, allowing the machine to self-focus on the cancer cells and the malignant tissue, directs me to lie still, and leaves the room. Fortunately, I’m able to see the tower and all it displays without moving anything but my eyes. I watch as the internal temperature soars to 42.5 C (108.5 F). My intel is that heat above 41.5 causes irreversible damage to cancer cells. This level of heat pushes cancer cells toward acidosis (decreased cellular pH) which decreases the cells’ viability. My internal organs have no thermal sensors, so I feel nothing during this entire treatment. Totally cool.
While the actual length of treatment was only one hour, preparation, explanation, and conversation extended my commitment well past the lunch hour. I’m not really hungry, so I grab a apple from the dining hall and dart out to enjoy the afternoon sunshine. Life is good.