A new diagnosis of cancer (breast, lung, pancreatic, skin, etc) can be overwhelming. For many, though, finally understanding the reason for symptoms and treatment optionsis relief . Uncertainty is exhausting - with a diagnosis and awareness, you can make a plan! Here are ways Buzzy®, PCL research and products from other passion-guided inventors can help reduce the burden of fighting cancer.
Port Access - Often a diagnosis will start with a surgery to place a port-a-cat-catheter, or “port” to spare the poor veins from frequent treatments or lab draws. Placing Buzzy and ice directly on the port for 30 seconds to 2 minutes can reduce the pain. Some places leave Buzzy on longer, then remove and clean and access quickly. Others will place Buzzy “between the brain and the pain” during the accessing as well. One study found that while EMLA anesthetic was slightly better for pain relief, after 6 months patients preferred Buzzy because they liked the speed.
IV access - Even with a port, sometimes a quick lab has to be obtained to verify that it’s worth accessing, either in the arm or a peripheral area. Follow these two steps:
- Place the Buzzy device “between the brain and the pain.”
- Keep Buzzy in place during the draw “with the shot near the dot” because that’s where the pain-canceling frequency of the motor is strongest.
Ice adds about 10% of numbing, so if you only have a cool or gel pack, don’t worry about it. If you’re using ice, don’t numb the actual site for IVs, though, upstream only!
Fingersticks. Since sometimes teams will need to get a quick chemistry or hemoglobin count to see if you can go through the full chemo, they may do a fingerstick instead of an IV blood draw. For this, you can either use or not use ice, and turn Buzzy upside down to keep “the shot near the dot." Either press Buzzy with your thumb, or attach it with a tourniquet. Buzzy also works well when testing glucose levels and for blood tests.
Lumbar Punctures (LP): Typically “spinal taps” will be done with sedation. In France, they use nitrous oxide
during the LP, with Buzzy on the spine outside the sterile field during the injection of lidocaine and the LP. The “shot is near the dot” with Buzzy vertically on the spine. (This “Buzzy” shown is one we call Stephen Cold Bear, an early model!) Use Buzzy to help with post procedure pain.
Intramuscular Chemo: Buzzy is more studied for injections than any other pain reliever (27 separate studies for Buzzy, wow!)! For Peg Aparaginase injections, methotrexate, or other IM use these three steps:
- Numb the nerves: use ice (very important here) and Buzzy on the site for 60 - 120 seconds.
- Move “Between the brain and the pain.”
- Keep Buzzy as close as possible to the injection site with Buzzy oriented “with the shot near the dot.”
Also, when possible - relax the legs, don’t hang knees over a bench, this will make the muscles tight instead of loose!
Stomach injections: To use Buzzy for stomach chemo treatment,
- Place on injection site with ice for 30 - 60 seconds.
- Move laterally “between the brain and the pain.”
- Keep the shot near the dot! Another idea from one of our fans Grace here. “I didn’t even feel the shot go in!”
General pain: Our VibraCool® line has the Buzzy platform inside compression cuffs for upper extremity, lower extremity or neck/back. Or, just find a good scarf and put your Buzzy on where you hurt!
CHEMO SOLUTIONS: Before our founder made Buzzy, she and her brother developed the Baxter Animated Retching Faces (BARF) Scale with an Oncology grant from Hope Street Kids. Parents are good at knowing when their kids are in pain, but not great at assessing nausea. A Rady Children’s
study found the BARF scale was better than the oncology nursing guidelines at nausea prediction! Parents in Europe report that Buzzy reduces anticipatory nausea with methotrexate, although it’s hard to understand the connection scientifically. What can help nausea with Chemo are some of these products:
Psi-Bands- Invented by Romy Taormina, they hit the acupressure points and are waterproof!
Quease-Ease - https://soothing-scents.com/shop/ scents clinically proven to reduce nausea - spray to focus on something nice, not your queasieness!
Ascents Aromatherapy packets - https://www.shopascents.com/ Very portable, many sachets with different scents.
Many of these solutions are available in local pharmacies and online.
Playing an active role in your cancer care is empowering. Try multiple tools throughout your journey and remember to tap into resources and programs for education and support, such as the American Cancer Society and CancerCare.