Cryotherapy (Days 6-7)and Normatec Compression Therapy: Continuing to Fight Inflammation Naturally

Veins poked, punctured and prodded with years of drawing of blood and  steroids pumped through them are often tender and damaged. My arm and wrist veins are so tender, sometimes they ache. My heart does not behave like it used to. Breathing does not come as easily as it once did and I often have to remind myself to inhale and exhale deep. I do not know if that is from the Copaxone I was on for a few months or the steroids but I know what I experience is not normal and I do not want to cause any more damage. This is why I choose other options for decreasing inflammation. I know I could get steroids and I would probably be back to driving quicker and maybe feeling better sooner but I am fighting to do this as natural as possible.

Charise with Norma Tec
NormaTec Compression Therapy

My sixth visit of cryo was followed up with Normatec compression therapy. It. Was. Wonderful! Especially after exiting the “freezing chamber”, legs chilled atop and then resting in a chair with leg coverings on them and the pulsing of pressure rotating throughout my legs. This therapy helps to circulate blood flow more efficiently and to detox the body. Both of the therapies together help the inflammation in the body to calm; thus, enabling the patient to experience less pain and quicker recovery time from workouts or injury.

I am convinced this is helping me! This “time of month” is usually the more difficult to move, less strength physically and increased pain. Since my first Normatec compression experience, I have been able to drive a little more and I have had less pain. We had a storm come in and surprise us today. Usually, I would know a few days in advance due to the pain and achiness in my body. I had no achiness bothering me. I am so thankful and I hope I can keep doing the compression therapy. I also love the location I am going to. They are super nice, helpful and pleasant. If you need a recommendation, I would highly recommend the place I go. (Reach out to me and I will share the location).

Something to remember- My hope is not in Cryotherapy or Normatec compression. My hope is in my God. My hope is in eternity. My joy is founded on that which is unchangeable and everlasting, not on how I feel today or how I think I will feel tomorrow. Place your hope on Him alone. He, alone is unchangeable and constant.

“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous. The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! ”

“The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success.”

“You are my God, and I will give you thanks;  you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Psalm 118:5-9, 15, 23-25, 28-29

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Fourth and Fifth Days of Cryotherapy

Every time I type Cryotherapy into my electronic calendar it magically turns into Cry Therapy. Seriously. Cry Therapy.

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Fourth Day chicken legs. My skin is clearly agitated more this day than any other.

My fourth experience was almost to the cry therapy point. I was in at the one minute point and my skin was burning and burning bad. I kept thinking, “Oh my goodness, frostbite. I had my cooling wrap on my legs in the car and maybe they weren’t dry enough before entering the machine.” I rubbed my legs with my glove laden hands and lifted my legs up and down even more than I normally do. The burning sensation was intensifying. At two minutes I told the tech that I did not think I could make it to three minutes. I painfully made it to 2 minutes and 45 seconds. The pain was intense and I was forcing myself to inhale and exhale. When I exited I could not let the kids touch my legs and I had to keep moving, as well as I am able, to warm up. I slowly warmed and the burning pain slowly dulled.

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Day Four

The fifth treatment was today and I managed to get to the three minute mark. My skin still burned and my body ached but I begrudgingly pushed through. I was blessed to have my hubby there today. He is always rooting me on! My babies have become incredible encouragers to me as they distract me from my pain, cheer me on and warm me the moment I exit the machine. This journey is giving them hearts of compassion and empathy. I hate that they have to see me in pain but I see God using it to shape their character in amazing ways.

Here is a video my ten year old filmed. If you listen closely, you can hear my moans and grunts.

 

Yesterday, I witnessed a woman get into the machine right after I got out. She carried a full on conversation in what sounded like a totally normal tone and got out like she was in normal temperatures. God bless her, she made me feel like a wimp. All I know is it causes me great amounts of pain. A fan blowing on me causes me pain. My husband sweetly caressing my skin can cause me pain so please do not take my experience as what you would experience. I have heard from many athletes that LOVE this therapy and have found it incredibly helpful in recovery. I have been experiencing more nerve pain lately and  I really do believe  I am really trying to believe that this is a part of the healing process. I recently read that the MS body will experience more pain when the myelin sheath is being restored. Amen and pass the ice tea!

Second day of Cryotherapy

I made it to three minutes at -230 degrees! Yes, -230 degrees. My body ached with the cold and I had to focus on anything but what I was enduring. I chose to move my legs a little more and balance myself at the top of the machine so that I wouldn’t fall into the nitrogen vents. I went from numb (prior to entering the machine) to more numb (inside the machine). Upon exiting the machine, I was full of shivers and shakes and weakness.  I am adjusting to the experience. No, I am not enjoying the experience but getting more accustomed to it.

I am in a lot of physical discomfort tonight but there are storm clouds overhead and I always feel achy when storm clouds roll in. Praying that the continued treatments will trigger my body into a healthier state.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Have a glorious day and keep your eyes on that which is eternal!

XOXO,

Charise

Wholebody Cryotherapy

I have to start out by telling you my eyes are burning and I am beyond tired  right now but I know that if I do not write now and share now, it may not happen.

Life has been more restful for me as of late and I am thankful for the rest. I am not driving more than  one mile away in a very slow speed to take the kids to music lessons once a week. I still can control my foot but longer periods of driving only causes pain and weakness.

My right side has been heavier and my right foot wanting to drag when I walk for any length of time. The heavier my foot, the harder it is to drive safely, so for now, I am staying off the road, laying low and allowing my hubby to take over the errands and grocery shopping. Thankful for him stepping in.

A darling sister of mine shared Cryotherapy with me and after researching it I decided it was worth trying. Steroids would be the normal option for an M.S.er at this point of inflammation and I am trying an alternative to see if this helps.

You may be asking, “what in the world is cryotherapy?”. Here is an explanation from one website:

With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures (-200° to -250°F) for 2-3 minutes at a time. This rapidly lowers skin temperatures and triggers cold receptors to activate the body’s survival mechanism. The brain then reacts to the skin sensors and stimulates regulatory functions of the body, like releasing anti-inflammatory proteins, endorphins, and rapidly circulating oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

Today was the first day.  The tech was delightful and sweet and very helpful. I left on my panties and put on a sports bra (no metal allowed in this chamber). I put on their comfy gloves, big manly socks, masculine robe and entered the chamber.

 

Here I am in the machine. You are seeing little bits of the Nitrous Oxide. I can’t say that the initial experience was lovely and pleasant. It was already cold. Once I entered and the door was closed, I took off the robe and handed it to the tech. IMG_3252

She warned me that first timers do not always reach the three minute mark. It is usually something to work up to. I wanted to make it to the two minute mark at the least. That was my goal. Time flew by and yet the pain was hard to endure. You are supposed to slowly rotate your body while in the machine. I was doing so but because my body IS already numb, getting more numb made it more difficult to steady myself especially while turning. You are not supposed to touch the inside walls and you are not supposed to look down or breathe in the liquid nitrogen so I kept my head up and breathed slowly in and out to calm my body down. The cold and I don’t mix and this was no different. It was mighty uncomfortable. I do feel that this is better than an ice bath. Ice baths make you experience a different kind of cold because your skin is wet and cold. It is different. Maybe I will have a better explanation when I am not so tired.

When I reached the two minute mark, the tech turned it off and handed me the man robe. When she opened the door my babies were waiting anxiously for me. They could see my face above the machine and could tell I was uncomfortable. When I stepped out my oldest embraced me  and held me close to him to warm me up and the rest of the little ones clung to me too.

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My babies love me! 🙂

Cryotherapy-kids embracing me

My skin was freezing and my legs were weak. I am not sure if that was due to the stress of the new experience or the extreme cold. I could not feel the pain so that was nice. As the day went on I could feel the normal pain, normal fatigue, normal weakness. I am going back tomorrow and praying the continued visits will help in the long run. I picture this experience like an athlete would ice a bruised or injured leg. It takes time for the healing to take place but I am going to persevere to experience the healing.

Here are some links for those who want more info on Whole Body Cryotherapy:

Take your time on this site. There is information for lots of different ailments, diseases and more.    http://wholebody-cryotherapy.com/en/cryotherapy/multiple-sclerosis.html

This is a place in Riverside, CA- http://www.cryofixwellness.com/

Pubmed on MS. and Cryotherapy- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20299758

Blessings to you all,

Charise