2014 has been a challenging year – and that’s putting it mildly. Due to my continued participation in PTSD Research, I am now once again officially “Off my meds” for the fourth time. It isn’t easy. Having been treated for years with these drugs to help with depression and anxiety, it’s like being a yo-yo. I can’t do this much more. While I understand why this research requires a pharmaceutical-free brain, as I sit here in a constant state of anxiety with nightmares starting to return, at times it is a struggle to keep the faith. I do this because
So the dates are set, tickets are booked and I’m a ‘go’ for launch. And I’m more than a little nervous. As some of you are aware, I took part in a clinical research study several months ago. In a collaborative effort between NYU and Yale, I underwent a series of extensive physical and psychological evaluations as well as MRI and PET scans of my brain. The resulting data reaffirmed my previous diagnosis of chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. The brain images revealed the presence of specific biological changes in the brain itself which are the direct result of experiencing extremely stressful
Three more days until I depart for New York, and I’m not sure if what I am feeling is nervousness, excitement or anxiety. Probably a mix of everything. I want time to stop and speed up at the same time! As much as I dislike taking my routine medication, whenever I go off of it I am reminded as to why I am on it in the first place. Amazingly enough I’ve been able to fall asleep without too much of an issue lately, however the nightmares have been kicking my ass for the past few days. My parents keep
Tomorrow – off to New York for my first round of PTSD-specific research medication. As nervous as I am, I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to participate. It’s been a very long road getting to this point. Thousands of miles travelled, extensive psychological and physical workups, brain scans…but it has been as validating as it has been exhausting. TEN MONTHS of planning and preparation. I have been taken off and put back on my medications FIVE TIMES due to false starts. I am fried. But here I am, FINALLY. After all this time, all the delays, all the
Screening went quick and painless today. Got the full work up again, they took some blood samples and cut me loose for the day! I’m proud of myself…I didn’t just hole up in my room! I hopped on the first train I could and ended up at Times Square, then headed down to the 9/11 Memorial which was absolutely beautiful. I have a free day tomorrow, and “the big day” is on Thursday – the day I first start the meds, more brain scans and triggering sessions. One thing at a time though…I’ll be enjoying a nice, quiet night in
(Original post on Facebook blog can be viewed by clicking here) Pfizer Drug Trial: Day 1 (Visit 2) ….is done. It was a long day, but productive. It’s hard to tell if the meds worked (or if I received actual medication at all – it could be a placebo) because of being in a stressful situation – fMRI scans, mild electrical shocks to the wrist to induce stress, etc. – but the worst is over. Tomorrow I only have one fMRI/trigger session, then I’ll be able to get a better idea of how the meds affect me because I’ll be in a more
(Original post on Facebook blog can be viewed by clicking here) The hard part is over, and I now have in my possession the remainder of my trial medication. I report back to NYU in just under a week for the final fMRI and to turn in my medication dosing diary. I feel…well, I feel great. Comfortable in my own skin. A feeling I haven’t had in a very long time. Is this the result of the medication or could it be the placebo effect? Again, only time will tell. Whatever it is, I am giving myself permission to enjoy
I’ve been out and about for over 3 hours now. I felt a little anxious on the subway…but I think that was out of concern that I might miss my ferry. It didn’t seem to be the usual something bad is about to happen gut-gripper I usually get. I’ve been able to focus on the sights and enjoy them without getting compelled to run back to the hotel. Oh! And one of the ferry crew began banging loudly on the aluminum benches to scare away the birds…and I didn’t jump. Like, at all. How cool is that? I love good
Sleep. The Good Kind. And NYC Shuts Down I am becoming fully convinced that there is nothing quite as healing as a good night’s rest. The past few nights I’ve had the best sleep (and NO nightmares!!) I’ve had in years…I can’t even remember ever sleeping this well. It’s been a deep, restful sleep. Not the kind you get from a sleeping pill. Just a very natural feeling rest. Is it medication? Is it exhaustion? Again, only time will tell. I should find out if I am taking a placebo or medication by May. I know that in just a
So I had one of those crappy starts today. After deciding to sleep in just a little extra today I dreamt of my sister – not really a nightmare, but emotional. I woke up, made myself a couple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then proceeded to spill milk everywhere! Soggy sandwiches and (argh!!) SOGGY PHONE. The speakers stopped working on my phone, but luckily I was able to take it apart and dry it out with a hairdryer…and it works! Whew. So I said screw it and chucked the sandwiches in the trash and am enjoying a plateful of buttermilk
Heading in for my last fMRI and workup…then on to home this afternoon! Today will be a few hours of some final assessments, and I have to turn in my little medication cooler and dosing diary. There will be a final workup…ECG, vitals and another slew of paperwork to finish. I will have one more fMRI session, then I am homeward bound. I am so ready.
Taking a little time to regroup after this last round – and to gear up for the next study. It’s hard to believe that this time next week I’ll be back in New York! Once this is all over with I’ll be posting links to some news articles and other information about the science behind these trial medications. For now, some cuddle time with Cassidy. She’s as glad to have me home as I am to be home. 🙂
I really need to get some sleep…I have to be at the hospital for screening at 8:30. The past few nights my parents have been in my dreams again – not doing anything, not saying anything, just watching me and staring at me. It hasn’t been scaring me really; the best way I can describe it is that it has been creeping me out. I really wish I could get the hang of that lucid dreaming thing. Ah well…meditation time. Onward, onward, onward.