INFORMATION AS GIVEN BY THE PATIENT (SPRING 2005)
In my case the ECT treatment was initiated 6-8 weeks after the operation where my left breast was removed and my right breast was reduced due to breast cancer with secondary tumours (metastases) in the lymph glands and both lungs. The tumours had been reduced in size through the cytostatic treatment that preceded the operation. When I came for the first ECT treatment I was generally fatigued, had a mild cough, constant aches and pains in my body, and severe pain from the operation scars. My sleep patterns were compromised by worry and I had difficulty in falling asleep and adopting a comfortable position. I sometimes experienced shortness of breath at night and slept with thick pillows under by head and back. I had no appetite and my complexion was grey and sallow.
During the first treatment it felt almost as if the laser probe was burning hot and a powerful puling current went through my body, mainly in my right hip and knee reaching the toes. It felt like heat or electric air. I also had a strong sensation over the sacrum. When it was over the ache in my body was considerably diminished! I felt tired, heavy, slightly nauseous and dizzy. I slept throughout the evening and most of the next day. I mostly slept in the mornings, but it felt as if the quality of my sleep had improved.
This was what it was like in the beginning. The aches, pains and coughing gradually decreased and I was calmer and rested/slept better. I looked healthier, the colour of my skin was better and my appetite improved. My digestion was better – no indigestion or abdominal pain.
The heat, the burning sensation, shifted position in my body at subsequent treatments and was not uniformly intense. On one occasion, the heat over my breastbone was intense, radiating out to the scar on the left side of my chest and through my left arm, to the tips of my fingers. Several times the burning, flowing sensation was centred on my neck and head, causing slight dizziness and a noticeable increase in visual acuity! The headaches occurred less frequently. Once, when the breastbone was treated, I felt my heart beat slowly but more powerfully, and that feeling persisted after the treatment.
During May/June 2005 the allergic symptoms from my nose and asthma decreased. I no longer need to use medication on a daily basis, as I did before. My breathing is easier and less laboured and I seldom cough. My sleep is mostly sound – I need a lot of sleep. My ability to exercise has imporved. I can ride my bicycle for longer distances without losing my breath. I have greater vitality, improved mood, I look healthier and feel stronger every day! I have no secondary tumours in the lungs, according to the x-ray in June!
I am troubled by lymphatic oedema in my left arm and chest and a certain amount of pain in my joints (often knees, ankles, thumbs, wrists). The pain is manageable and much less intense since I started the ECT therapy. I seldom take painkillers. During this time I have also practised relaxation exercises and qui gong. I take the drug Femar every day and an injection against oestrogen every 12 weeks.
I have my life back!