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ptsd brain imaging study

The Long, Miserable Journey Home

In the quick fifteen minutes it took to get from Yale to the airport I manage to check my phone – and see a message from US Airways: “Your flight has been delayed…” I stare at my phone for a minute letting that sink in. Wait. What? That’s a 50 minute delay, and I only had 40 minutes between flights to begin with. I toss my phone back into my bag, too burnt to process the information. I have ten minutes to breathe before we get to the airport. I’m going to use them. Way too soon we arrive at

Let The PET Scan Begin

11:45AM – I still had almost three hours until my scan was scheduled to begin. I brought out my phone to play a game of Candy Crush, only to discover that one-handed smart phone operation is kind of a pain. I put it away. I decide instead to lean my head back, rest, and focus on my breathing because I’m starting to feel that familiar knot in my chest, right behind the base of my sternum. Over the next couple of hours Brenda pops in every so often to flush the arterial line and check in on me. About an

Arterial Line Time

Brenda gently yet realistically prepared me for the arterial line placement – it would be uncomfortable, and there would be a good chance that they wouldn’t be able to place it on the first try. They would try up to three times on each arm – with my permission, of course. The insertion area would be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize pain during insertion; the arterial catheter itself would be about two inches long. Once the line was successfully placed, my arm would be strapped to a splint to keep me from moving it. The anesthetic would wear

Radiation Education

Unfortunately for the staff, I ask LOTS of questions. My husband says that I am the most curious person he knows – I can’t help it. I always want to know everything about everything. It’s a problem. 🙂 Here’s some of what I found out: I would be receiving an infusion of an experimental radioactive compound – also referred to as a radioactive isotope or “radiotracer” that carries a radioactive tag. The radioactive drug would attach itself to a specific protein in my brain; the PET scanner is used to detect where the radioactivity goes – showing exactly where these

Prepped for PET

The waiting area was a small alcove off the main hallway, with three hospital style recliners, small side tables that were covered in magazines and a couple of houseplants that were in dire need of watering. On one wall was an elevator – and the other was one giant window to the outside; we were on the second floor, and I could look down on to the busy street below. Like the MRI center, it was quiet and cool – it had a little more activity, a few people walking back and forth, but for the most part it was

Yale School of Medicine – Let the Scans Begin

I report to the Yale Anlyan Center research facility the next morning. My MRI was scheduled at 8:00 AM. Just as I had to do in New York, I checked out of the hotel and carried my belongings along with me to the research facility. I packed light – but not light enough. A single backpack would have been ideal, because I was never able to settle down in any one place for very long before it was time to move along again. As I entered the building it was empty except for the lone security guard at the front

The Nauseatingly Long Road to New Haven

The taxi transporting me from NYC to New Haven was white with pink lettering, and to my relief the driver was a woman. Tall, friendly – “Hi, I’m Renee, nice to meet ya, let’s get ya going here” – with the strongest down-to-earth vibe I think I have ever felt from anybody. I wish I had been more ‘with it’…but on top of being anxious, I started getting carsick on the nearly three-hour journey there. I leaned my head back and breathed while counting…in one, out one…in two, out two…while occasionally thinking to myself “Oh god this lady is so

Brain Imaging Study Day One: NYU

I was to present at NYU at 9:00 AM sharp. As I checked out of the hotel I wanted to ask the woman at the desk how to get a cab (I’m not much of a city girl and definitely had a lack of experience in this arena), but was too embarrassed to do so. So I reached back – way back – to my ‘Sex in the City’ addiction days, rolled out the front doors to the edge of the street and threw my arm up with as much confidence as I could muster. I was so nervous I

NYU – Yale PTSD Brain Imaging Study

Getting My Head Examined: A Medical Research Study Experience I participated in a brain imaging medical research study with the purpose of imaging the Kappa Opioid Receptors (KOR) of the PTSD-affected brain. The study was conducted by the New York University School of Medicine in collaboration with Yale University School of Medicine; the NYU investigative team was headed up by Dr. Alexander Neumeister, Principal Investigator. So here’s the story of how an anxiety-ridden girl working diligently to overcome PTSD went all the way from Phoenix, Arizona to New York City just to have her head examined. But how could I