Meditation and GBM

Shortly after my GBM diagnosis, a friend asked if I’d like to join a small meditation group she was forming. No experience necessary. 
 
I’d always been a pretty tightly wound, type-A person. Safe to say, I was not prone to relaxing. 
 
I wondered if I would be able to take meditation seriously. 
 
My diagnosis had definitely added a new level of stress, fear, and anxiety to my life.
 
So why not give it a try? I figured it couldn’t hurt. It might be a good new experience for me, plus I respected and trusted my friend, so I decided to join.
 
We were a group of individuals with varying levels of meditation experience. We met periodically and my friend led us through many different meditation experiences, like sitting, standing, and walking around. Mostly, we learned to breathe deeply and concentrate on our breath coming in and out rather than the other thoughts that constantly enter our minds. By using breathing techniques, I learned to relax and release my stress.


Finding peace—or making your own

The group, unfortunately, disbanded during the pandemic. Still, I took what I learned and use the techniques today. Many people start their day by meditating. I don’t have a regular meditation routine, but instead, use what I learned as needed.
 
For instance, if I have trouble falling asleep at night, have a particularly stressful day, have to deal with an uncomfortable appointment, or have any other stressful situation, I meditate. It’s especially useful during my frequent MRIs. I now can relax and focus on my deep breathing to meditate myself to sleep in the MRI machine. While meditating, I feel a profound sense of peace come over me—like a heavy load is lifted off my shoulders. I’m glad I have finally learned how to relax.
 
There are also visualization and movement meditations. Visualizing any scene (the mountains, the beach, the ocean) that gives you peace can work as a meditation. Personally, because of my love of dancing, in my weekly dance group, I am able to clear my head of all other thoughts and enjoy the moment. That, for me, is meditating.
 
If interested in meditation, there are many options to connect to a group. Many hospitals offer meditation groups, as do houses of worship. The National Brain Tumor Society offers an online monthly meditation that you can sign up for. There are also many meditation apps available.
 
I believe meditation can be helpful to those living with GBM as well as my fellow Optune users. As it is usually a sedentary activity, it certainly can be done while using Optune. All you need is a quiet space where you can close your eyes, focus, concentrate, and breathe.
 
Namaste,
 
Lynn

For additional resources and support, please visit https://www.optune.com/buddy-call or https://www.optune.com/events.
Topics: Daily Life with Optune, For Caregivers, Support Resources
By Lynn, Optune® patient

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What is Optune® approved to treat?

Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.

Newly diagnosed GBM

If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:

What is Optune Lua approved to treat?

Optune Lua is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated for the treatment of adult patients, with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) to be used together with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy).

Who should not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

Do not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune/Optune Lua is safe or effective during pregnancy.

What should I know before using Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune and Optune Lua should only be used after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical staff who have completed a training course given by Novocure®, the maker of Optune and Optune Lua.

What are the possible side effects of Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy for GBM (temozolomide or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, seizure, and depression.

The most common side effects when using Optune alone for GBM were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers.

The most common side effects of Optune Lua when used together with chemotherapy for MPM (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) were low red blood cell count, constipation, nausea, tiredness, chest pain, fatigue, skin irritation from device use, itchy skin, and cough.

Other potential adverse effects associated with the use of Optune Lua include: treatment related skin irritation, allergic reaction to the plaster or to the gel, electrode overheating leading to pain and/or local skin burns, infections at sites of electrode contact with the skin, local warmth and tingling sensation beneath the electrodes, muscle twitching, medical device site reaction and skin breakdown/skin ulcer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Caution: Federal law restricts Optune Lua to sale by or on the order of a physician. Humanitarian Device. Authorized by Federal Law for use in the treatment of adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma concurrently with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

Please click here to see the Optune Lua IFU for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

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What is Optune approved to treat?

Optune is indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.