Sunday, September 2, 2012

James and Dr. Lipov
Stellage Ganglion block
Time for a little update on the Stellate Ganglion Block my husband had to help his PTSD symptoms.  He had an injection in January, and then again in February.  Those original blog posts can be read at and look under the SGB heading...

So here is the (not so) skinny on life post injection....

James did end up going into a residential treatment program for his ptsd.  He was incredibly depressed.  Despondent.  Flat.  He was gone.  The combination of the injections, and then his subsequent treatment in a very GOOD program at the Topeka KS VA (they do GROUP trauma processing, rather than INDIVIDUAL trauma) saved his life.  My sweet, sufferinsilence husband had reached bottom a long time ago, however, he didn't have the energy, or want, or psychic ability to tell me, things were bad.  Things were BAD.   There was about a 2 week time span that I actually started to prepare myself for my husbands demise.  I started to mentally prep myself that suicide may very well be fucking me up, and I better get things together now, for the kids' sake.  Statistically he fit the category.  He had a plan. He had no will anymore....

Do you know what it feels like to be that hopeless?

For years, my husband refused to accept treatment for PTSD.  And actually, so did I.  He didn't need it.  He wasn't that bad.  I can help him learn to cope.  I can make it so he won't experience *insert trigger here*.  He said he couldn't leave me with the kids.  How would we pay the mortgage? He really had a fear of leaving us.  Because I did not marry him until after his discharge from the Army, he had to go through his deployments essentially alone.  But, as his PTSD symptoms increased, and then gradually were suffocated by the great weighted messy depression, and no one was listening to me at his providers office, and he was too flat lined to even know how to say help, eventually we turned to Lipov.  and the injection was success both times!  But, they were just very not long acting...but instead of isolating and returning into the corners of his mind... he accepted the fact that his wife and kids were in crisis, and if he didn't try something....ANYTHING.... then we would no longer be a unit (thank you Honey, for fighting for us).

The combination of the injections, then doing inpatient PTSD treatment if you ask me, is a marvelous idea....  Its going to take Medical Professionals who are progressive and innovative to team up with the VA to improve patient quality of life.  However, it all takes time and money...and lots of it.... but in the mean time, Husband of mine STILL does not regret the almost painless procedure.  That right there is a plus, as he usually is not a fan of such things.

*******September 2012**********

Husband is doing great things, finished his degree, more involved with home life.... He did change jobs.  The office he was in was the worst trigger for him.  Cubicles everywhere, radios on different stations, chatter, people coming in off the main hallway, no windows....  He left that job for one more suited to his degree (helping) and his passion (veterans).  His new job office has windows! And lots of them!!! Can't tell you how great windows are for PTSD!!!  He works along side Veterans, FOR Veterans.  Win/Win!  Only a few people in the new office.  Kind people.  Laid back people who still work with a sense of purpose and urgency, but not letting it stress them out.  He still suffers memory and cognition problems, but I have been on him about it.  He takes notes, he reviews them, he is able to make his needs known.  He is such a hard worker, and is the poster child for overcoming adversity.  I continue to be amazed and proud.

I still continue with my duties as household 6.  There is still much supervision that must be given, reminders, driving long distances, managing appointments, coaching him with the kids, vision therapy (which we now must do on our own because Mr. TBI forgot to go to an appointment, and we were kindly "excused" from their services.)  Not much burden has been lifted from me, aside from the fact that I am confident he will exhibit signs of distress, and that I will recognize them. 

Its still a matter of juggling, of weighing things, of being the perpetual optimist, cheerleader, and wife/caregiver/household6.  I don't mind it.  It is what it is.

For a while, we contemplated bring him back to Dr. Lipov.  When he returned from Topeka it was balls to the wall PTSD.  Anxiety was of epic proportions.  All my usual tips and tricks failed.  I could not redirect, I could not divert, I could not fix.  I could do only one thing, DUCK AND COVER.  And of course, call Dr. Lipov.... 

Alas, we put that off.  I wish we wouldn't have, but we are okay.  We just couldn't wrap our already tired and worn out minds around another quick trip to Chicagoland.  Arranging child care, taking yet another few days off work...  We just were forced to dig in, and take it slow, and go from there.

I still am so pleased, as is  the husband, that the stars aligned and we were able to go for the Stellate Ganglion Block anyway.  It was useful.  It primed him.  The most unwilling soul for any type of treatment, decided (on his own volition) that it was time for intense therapy. 

I don't want to think about where we would be (or where I would be without my husband), if it was not for us taking a chance.  Hopefully, our story will provoke new thought.  Combine forces, take the shot, go inpatient.  How could that not work???  Either way, it will be up to researchers and the medical community to look at that, assess, pick apart and put back together again.... 


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