Friday, January 11, 2013

A Little Hypnosis

After last weeks anxiety and nausea, I decided to talk to Michael, Dixie's Child Life Specialist.  I wondered if he had any non-medicinal ways to prevent or help the miserable side effects of Chemo, and especially the anxiety associated with it.  He mentioned a few things to try.  He suggested peppermint oil but given Austin's big aversion to all things mint, I shot that down pretty fast.  Next he suggested breaking the mental cycle that causes the anxiety.  He said to mix up our routine such as change the route that we drive to the hospital or stop for a drink on the way, anything to break up the string of thoughts that lead to the anxiety.  So today we went to see Dr. Walker and get Austin ok'd for Chemo.  His ANC was 800 today, way down from last weeks 5700.  His Hematocrit was still good at 38. We will have to be extra diligent this week to keep Austin away from germs that can make him sick.  We expected the ANC to go down, but it was shocking to see how much it can drop in a week.
Waiting for the Doctor

Getting checked out by Dr. Walker

On the way to the Peds floor we stopped and got Austin a milkshake to take with him.  If nothing else, eating the ice cream would distract him from being so worried.
Iceburg milkshake Yum!

Here we go

Getting his port accessed
So Austin got comfy with his ice cream and Jason prepared his supplies to access Austin's port.  Michael showed up at just the right time to distract Austin from the pain with jokes and laughs.   Just one poke later and we were in business.

Listening to Michael
 The next thing that Michael wanted to try was hypnosis.  Now, my only experience with hypnosis is  cheesy hypnotists on cruise ships so I didn't know what to expect.  Michael had Austin tell him what color to him represented nausea (he said red) and what color represented peace and happiness (he said green).  Michael had Austin get comfortable and close his eyes and then think and visualize the red coming out of him and the green going in.  He had Austin slow his breathing down and concentrate on feeling at peace and free from pain and nausea.


Michael, Child Life Specialist
I have no idea whether Austin really was hypnotized (at one point I thought he fell asleep), but I really don't care.  What mattered to me was that Austin was comfortable, he wasn't worried or anxious, and he was able to get through the treatment without any nausea.  Plus, Michael told him to use these techniques at home on himself to help him feel better when he feels sick.  I am so grateful to Michael for taking the time and caring about Austin enough to really make him feel at ease.  I know it's "just" his job, but he has no idea how much Austin loves to see him and how much he helps Austin feel better.  


  1. This is so awesome! I'm glad whatever it was worked for him! Such a good kid! You guys are amazing! !