Adding Sound Technology to Conventional Treatment Plans
Our very own Brian Dailey, MD has worked with several oncology patients over the years. The following case studies are describing two such cases.
According to the Mayo Clinic, alternative modalities, like sound technology, can help with common symptoms resulting from the diagnosis or disease such as anxiety, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, difficulty sleeping and stress.
Case Study One
Gretchen Grimm (who has given permission for us to use her name) was a 21-year-old student at St. Bonaventure in 2007 when she developed Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She started chemotherapy at world-renowned Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. She was only able to complete four of the scheduled 12 treatments due to profound nausea and vomiting, as well as complete hair loss that took more than a year to regrow. Normally hair should regrow within two to three months of stopping the chemotherapy.
She had a holistic view of healing, and opted to follow an organic diet for the next year. She had moved to Massachusetts, and her symptoms worsened. Her doctor contacted Dr. Dailey in Rochester, New York, and asked if Gretchen could fly down and be evaluated at Rochester General Hospital, Rochester New York.
Her chest CAT scan showed the tumor next to her heart had quadrupled in size, with fluid around the heart and both lungs (pericardial and pleural effusions). She was unhappy when her oncologist at Rochester General recommended the same chemotherapy again because it was the best treatment for her type of cancer. Fortunately, she trusted his judgment. He discussed her misgivings, including the nausea, vomiting and hair loss she believed was sure to come and her concerns about “chemotherapy being a poison,” not in keeping with her holistic beliefs.
Dr. Dailey suggested the use of guided imagery to think of chemotherapy as a “love potion.” He furthered suggested that she reframe how she viewed the chemotherapy drugs and instead that she was getting a special formula chosen by an oncologist especially for her, mixed by an oncology pharmacist especially for her and was created to make her well, not ill. Dr. Dailey reminded her she was receiving an infusion of love, not a toxin. The energetic implications of chemotherapy were discussed. If she became ill, it meant the chemotherapy was working (looking for the positive).
This inspired Dr. Dailey to create a similar message and combine it with guided imagery and binaural beat frequencies to induce deep relaxation and healing. The resulting exercise became Chemotherapy Companion. The creation of the exercise was expedited, but did not make it in time for Gretchen’s next chemotherapy treatment. Following the first treatment, she had been vomiting for 12 hours, the last four of which were spent kneeling in the bathroom in front of a toilet. Dr. Dailey took the Chemotherapy Companion to Gretchen. When Dr. Dailey saw her, she appeared drained and she was using her arms to support her head above the toilet. Dr. Dailey reported he helped her into bed, slipped the headphones on and started the exercise. When the exercise finished 40-minutes later, she took the headphones off and said: “That was awesome, I feel great!” She then got up and ate lunch. She never experienced nausea or vomiting for the remainder of her chemotherapy, which was terminated four weeks early due to her rapid response. She had no hair loss, and looked resplendent in her gown at her friend’s wedding as the maid of honor just one month later.
Case Study Two
A.F. had a difficult time with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea due to the effects of chemotherapy for colon cancer diagnosed a year earlier. It had recently spread to her liver, so doctors initiated a new chemotherapy regime to which she again reacted even more violently. She immediately began vomiting during the first 90-minute infusion. The nurse caring for her said: “A. experienced three ‘explosive’ episodes of diarrhea that hit without warning.” A. remained ill with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea for ten days, necessitating the cancellation of her second chemotherapy scheduled a week later. A family member contacted Dr. Dailey asking for assistance at the oncology center for her second round of chemotherapy scheduled for three weeks after the first. The patient used the Chemotherapy Companion 15 minutes before her 90-minute infusion of chemotherapy started. When the exercise ended 45 minutes later, halfway through her infusion, she told the nurses she was hungry and ate half a baloney sandwich. When her infusion was completed, A. left saying: “I feel better than when I came in.” Two ladies receiving therapy on either side of her, who had been present three weeks earlier when she was so violently ill asked: “What was that and where can we get some?” Dr. Dailey explained the process to both and gave each an exercise of their own before leaving.
How to Help Someone Facing This Challenge
Using tools that might improve quality of life and experience while undergoing treatment can be valuable.
We are including a list of the common symptoms and recommended exercises for each challenge that might be faced.
To counteract anxiety, we recommend using exercises like Transforming Life’s Challenges and selections from the Positively Ageless series, which we describe in more detail below.
To help with fatigue, we have several recommendations: Playing beta selections like Concentration and Breakthrough for Peak Performance in the background over a speaker system might be helpful when someone is needing to be more alert and focused.
When a patient is experiencing nausea and vomiting, the Chemotherapy Companion, as mentioned in the case studies has shown to be effective.
To help alleviate pain associated with the disease and treatment, we can refer you to Pain Management, which not only relaxes the individual to the point of falling asleep, but provides encodings that can be used during waking states.
Dealing with sleep issues is often challenging for even those not diagnosed with cancer. We recommend using Super Sleep to help facilitate that process.
To help relieve stress, there are any number of exercises that would be beneficial. Many of the selections are music selections. There are others that are a combination of white/pink noise and all of these can be played effectively on an iPod deck, stereo system or computer. A person could also do verbally guided exercises to help relieve stress. Some of favorites are: The Journey Home, Gaia and Higher.