A Spaceship with Huge Windows

by | Apr 27, 2023 | 0 comments


Kristin Govers in a Hyperbaric Chamber at Centre Hyperbare de L’ile

What is HBOT Treatment? 

Hyperbaric chamber treatments (HBOT) help with various health issues. This treatment involves breathing 100% oxygen in a specialized chamber resembling a spaceship with huge windows. At least, that’s what my son calls it. You even get to wear a flexible plasticized helmet. Not exactly like an astronaut, but still cool.

Finding Hope with HBOT for Cerebral Palsy

I had never heard of HBOT until my husband came home and told me about it after visiting one of his clients. To be honest, I was super sceptical. As someone with cerebral palsy, I have a team of people ready to help me feel better: an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a massage therapist, a naturopath, and, finally, YouTube. Those seated yoga videos help me get my stretch on but even glued to the floor, those stretches can be extreme. I’m pretty sure I’ve felt my intestines in my throat before. I always keep an ice pack or heating pad on standby, just in case. 

All these exercises and therapies are temporary. I just wasn’t convinced that HBOT was going to be any different. But I felt confident after an informative conversation, some serious Google searching, a date night sushi dinner, and a bottle of wine. This could be different. Things like improving immune function, reducing inflammation, reducing fatigue, and increasing energy levels sound nice.

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

I would love to skip a cold or two. Right now, someone looks in my direction with a runny nose, and I end up carrying around a tube of Vicks VapoRub, some Fisherman’s Friend, and a box of Kleenex for a week.

And don’t get me started on swollen limbs. Trying to take my shoes off when my feet look like they’ve had an allergic reaction is bad enough, but then I have to put my shoes on, and it’s a whole other endeavour. Let’s just say the zippers on my boots often stay open, and on a rainy day, that can really suck.

Oh, and then there’s my energy levels. They’ve been worse for about five years now. It all hit me right after the birth of my son. I always felt tired and would need a nap halfway through the day just to feel better. But anybody living through the “terrible twos” would probably need a quiet nook and a few Z’s.

This tiredness is different, though. Daily tasks are more trying on my body. I’m dealing with extreme lower back pain and joint stiffness, making it difficult to complete tasks. Laundry’s being rewashed, dishes are being done in two-part intervals, the vacuum feels somewhat heavier, cooking isn’t as fun, the stairs feel like I’m climbing Everest, and the idea of building a Lego castle to fend off a T-Rex is nauseating. Everything feels heavy, and I don’t feel like myself.

Feeling Like a Supermom Again!


However, since beginning the HBOT treatments, I’ve noticed significantly improved energy levels I didn’t feel at first. That part about reducing fatigue seemed like a total lie after the first week. I honestly felt more exhausted, like I could fall asleep anywhere. There was a night when the kitchen table seemed like a good spot to snooze.

But I’ve had about 20 sessions now, and I’m sleeping better than I have in a long time. No more naps for me unless I stay up too late! I can also last longer playing with my son, whether pretending to be dinosaurs or superheroes. Oh, and then there’s the added bonus of being able to dodge the traffic jam of toy cars flooding my living room floor. Suddenly, I’m on high alert, and my feet aren’t as draggy and stiff. 

Breaking Free from Spasticity

That brings me to one of the most significant changes I’ve noticed since starting HBOT, walking takes less effort. Turns out these treatments are reducing my spasticity. I can now double my distance before I feel fatigued and need to rest. A 45-minute walk with me usually includes a few bench breaks and a piggyback ride at the end, for me, not the kid.

Everyday activities such as bending and vacuuming are also less painful, making them much easier to manage. I’ve even been able to keep up with my exercises at home and haven’t needed to see my physiotherapist since starting the treatments. This is a win-win for both of us because he probably feels like he’s trying to bend bricks every time he has to lift a leg, and I get to save 100 bucks.

My boots finally zip up all the way. My socks haven’t left an imprint above my ankles for over two weeks, and the only time I’ve had to use an icepack recently is in my lunch bag.

From Discouraged to Grateful

Before trying HBOT, I felt discouraged and thought things would only get worse. However, this treatment has really helped me in my day-to-day life, and I’m super grateful for its positive impact on me. I wake up more refreshed. I generally feel better, more relaxed, less sore, and more active. While it won’t cure cerebral palsy, it has made a significant difference in my life, as have the people treating me.


headshot of kristin govers

Photo by TAG Snaps Photography


I’m Kristin Govers, a Quebec artist, writer, and storyteller living with Cerebral Palsy.

I want to build a space where people can come together, create, learn, produce, and share their stories on and off the stage. And at the same time, help promote disability awareness in an inclusive environment.



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