As unfortunate as it is that the Lithium protocol did not work out as anticipated, I have wasted no time moving on with several new approaches to pain management.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
The first new approach involves a supplement called Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is an antioxidant component of many foods and is also naturally made in our bodies. In recent studies, Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements have also been known to reduce pain in various kinds of neuropathy, such as often associated with Type 2 diabetes. This includes reducing tingling and prickling throughout the body … symptoms common to my neuropathic pain. So I have just started taking 600 mg a day and will continue to do so for at least a month to see if there is benefit.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
My next neuropathic pain treatment plan is more complex. I plan to use a medical hyperbaric oxygen chamber to simultaneously raise both atmospheric pressure on my body and oxygen saturation of my tissues.
Here is a short paper on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Neuropathy.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber
The basic concept goes something like this:
Driving oxygen under pressure deep into tissues reduces pain symptoms. Hyperbaric oxygen also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, enabling the body to increase effective oxygen and nutrient delivery.
The patient breathes 100% oxygen inside a so-called hyperbaric chamber at a pressure greater than sea level. This device looks something like a miniature submarine.
The air we normally breathe contains 21% oxygen at sea level. When breathing pure oxygen at pressures higher than normal, additional oxygen dissolves into the blood plasma. This results in increasing the quantity of oxygen transfer to any tissue in the body.
This past week, my parents and brother Mattias went out to dinner in Kunming with Dr. Zhu and Dr. Liu from the Tongren Hospital. My Dad was trying to explain what we had in mind, but apparently something got lost in translation, as I learned the next day during my workout in the SCI rehab center at the hospital.
First thing in the morning I was approached by Dr. Zhu, walking unusually quickly towards me, hands waving in the air with excitement. She exclaimed that four hours south of Kunming she had just discovered very nice resort on a very deep lake that would be able to take me down several hundred feet in a submarine in order to achieve the pressure I was looking for. Seems a lot of Chinese submarine research is conducted inland out of concerns for military secrecy. Also, Yunnan Province is home to by far the deepest lake in China.
Anyway, I was seriously perplexed by her offer and asked why I would need to go for a submarine ride, hastening nonetheless to say how much I appreciated her effort to arrange such an adventure!
So she went on to explain in some detail how she could arrange for me to be hoisted down into the submarine and that the family would enjoy staying at the very nice resort while I went cruising with Chinese submariners.
I did my best to hold a straight face, and finally I worked out that she actually had not understood that I was simply looking for a medical hyperbaric oxygen chamber capable of increasing the pressure on my body as if I were SCUBA diving.
Once I worked out the correct Chinese expression for “hyperbaric oxygen chamber” she immediately started laughing and said “Oh, dear, that is much easier … several Kunming hospitals have these hyperbaric chambers. I thought you needed a submarine specifically!”
I have to admit it would have been pretty cool to have my own personal “Yellow Submarine” to take me down to the depths of a Yunnan lake.
So, next Tuesday my Dad and his Kunming assistant, Wenjun Liao (“Jenny”) are scheduled to go inspect one such facility. If it looks okay, we’ll start trying to figure out what protocol we need to follow, and then I’m hoping to give this a try.
Meanwhile, starting this weekend I’m resuming my work with Les Fehmi’s “Open Focus” and will report back on how this is working out as I get more experience with the methodology.
On a separate note, my brother Mattias departed yesterday for Hong Kong and the United States after a wonderful visit here in Kunming. We actually share the same birthday, March 1st, and so we had a joint birthday celebration with a Chinese banquet featuring Peking Duck.
And my two caregivers, Xiao Lin and Xiao Yin, surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake, as you can see below. I must say, Chinese cakes are amazing, being sweeter than typical Western cakes (hard to imagine, right?) and are typically very elaborately decorated.
Xiao Yin, My Mom, Xiao Lin & Jenny