My HBOT Journey

January 16, 2017

Case Study: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Traumatic Brain Injury

Female 58 yrs

1st injury 1998 (moderate traumatic brain injury)

2nd injury 2014 (mild traumatic brain injury) & many physical damages

non smoker, drinker or drug user (includes prescription pain meds or OTC drugs)

 

December 2016   11 – 60 minute sessions HBOT at 1.5 ATA

My first session I stepped out of the chamber and struggled with my equilibrium and getting my legs to work. I had to sit on the edge of the chamber to get my shit together. Walking back the 1 KM to the airbnb was very disconcerting as I was struggling to keep my balance and to focus. I was struggling to make my muscles work. By the time I arrived where I was staying I was exhausted and went directly to bed.

After my 5th session 70% of my pain was gone. My titanium knee was clunking because of the gap left from the reduction in swelling, My other knee was actually able to straighten, something it has been unable to do since the accident in 2014.

Since the accident in 1998 changing gears and multi tasking have been non existent in my life. Hence, sending out Christmas cards has been arduous, time consuming and fatiguing, and since the accident in 2014 no cards had been sent out. After the 5th session I was able to sit down and get 40 cards ready for the mail. I was astounded, and I was not fatigued!! The cobwebs that were once making it difficult to move about in my brain were gone for the first time in 18 years.

At the end of the 11 sessions my speech was clearer, faster, and there was a return of my long gone wicked sense of humour. I felt like I was finally being reunited with my long lost self. It was so good to be back in my body.

I did not have one PTSD episode during this first session which is amazing as I was having them once or twice a day prior to my first session of HBOT.

I was finally able to wake up with minimal pain and not having an entire body ache.

My skin looked brighter and more alive, almost like a mini facelift, and my once clogged lymphatic system was clear.

However, the absolute most amazing experience happened when I arrived home. I was able to have my first conversation with my Dad in over 2 years. My Dad has onset Dementia which means he has difficulty carrying a conversation or thinking of what to say and I of course prior to the HBOT was in the same boat. Hence our conversations were painful, strained and left neither of us wanting to do that again. I was able to carry the conversation and we talked for over 45 minutes, it felt so glorious!!

On the 6th day after I was home I started to notice degradation of my cognitive function, energy, and the cobwebs were coming back. I had a couple of very sad days. I did not want to slide back, especially after I now knew what I could feel like, I had no desire to return to my previous self.  The pain was returning, and I was back to every step being excruciating. Lying in bed was once again uncomfortable to downright painful.

I wanted to keep the feeling I had when I had returned from the 11 sessions, so badly I felt like a junkie looking for a fix. I was desperate.

 

January 2017     12 – 90 minute sessions HBOT at 1.75 ATA

After my third session “I was back to where I was at the end of my first HBOT session”. I was so thrilled. Pain gone, brain clear, less fatigue, and I was getting “chatty and flirty” Wonderful long lost feelings, regained after such a long time.

The 7th session had me recalling events 40 years back for no apparent reason. It was like the cobwebs ere removed and old thoughts, memories resurfaced. Some of this was not pleasant, as it was like opening the floodgates. I was walking to go to my Chiro appointment and out of the blue I stopped and thought of Rene (old friend and amazing hairdresser), I then saw his shop right where it was when I left the island many years ago. Over the past 18 HBOT sessions I had been walking right by with no recognition.

The 9th session had me welcoming home another old friend. My intuition! I was once again picking up on energy and feeling it! I do not have words to describe how glorious that was. I felt vibrant and alive. My eye sparkle was back with vengeance. I was teasing: not only able to pick up on subtle nuances but responding in a timely manner for the first time in 18 years.

Cooking was getting easier as I was able to multi task to a certain extent.

The 10th session was amazing physically for me. My posture became more upright and for the first time in over 2 years the rotation 3 dimensionally in my pelvis finally released and straightened. I could finally use my arms with out pain. Trying to repair these physical constraints over the past 2 years has cost me countless dollars, my farm status because of my inability to use my body physically, my self-esteem, saddle modifications, saddling modifications, weed control modifications and the list just keeps growing.

After my 11th session, I had an amazing evening, not only because of the people I was with but I managed in a noisy environment, didn’t miss a beat in the conversation and was even  able to “find” the names of people I was running into that I hadn’t seen for a very long time. AND  drum roll please, I was not exhausted at the end of the evening.

After the 12 session I was catching a flight home and for the first time since the first accident I did not need help finding my way around the airport. I knew where to go.

7 days have now passed since my last HBOT and I have had no degradation. I still have not had a PTSD episode. I have been able to rake and shovel without pain. Back to walking for 2.5 hours with the dogs…and no pain. Amazing decrease in fatigue.

15 days passed and pain is back to every step being excruciating.

20 days passed and I started to decline cognitively and had my first PTSD episode since I first started HBOT. Glimpses of the fatigue were also returning. I was 14 days away from my next scheduled HBOT—-which felt like eternity. When my sparkle energy dived I felt lost.

 

February 2017  17 – 90 minute sessions HBOT at 1.75 ATA

I arrived to an amazing  birthday supper with friends and then off to a Pink Floyd tribute concert. Prior to this evening when I was asked about whether or not I liked Pink Floyd I really had no idea as I was aware of the name but nothing else. Once they started playing I found myself recognizing not only the songs, but the lyrics and at the same time having flashbacks to what I was doing at the moment I first heard these songs over 40 years ago. I also realized that I was able to make out the lyrics and hear the music something I had not been able to do since my first MTBI in 1998.

My first HBOT session in February left me in the same condition as my very first HBOT session in December. Discombobulated. Very tired. Very difficult to get my brain to work. Very deep sleep, and awoke feeling peaceful and very quiet on a cellular level.

After the 5th session my inflammation and pain had once again decreased substantially.

Totally pain free after the 8th session. My body now was responding much better to the chiropractic treatments as well. Clearly, for me to have a good quality of life HBOT has to remain a part of my daily routine.

The changes from this round of HBOT have been life altering. I am back driving….no fatigue, no hesitation, no problem judging time or distance, and most important not doing stupid, impulsive things. Being able to drive is a huge freedom.

The change between me and my horses has me smiling from ear to ear. Prior to my first brain injury in 1998, I was an amazing horse person.. connected in every sense. I lost the connectedness/timing after the first brain injury. As a result, my relationship with horses changed, I felt  the disconnect and so did they. Of course me being me with no quit in me just kept plugging along like an ant. I even managed to train an awesome horse or two but there was no connection, it felt empty. When I had my second brain injury in 2014 I also developed PTSD, and the effects of this on my relationship with my horses was disastrous. My horses would run to the far end of the pasture if I opened the house door. I do not have words to express how abandoned I felt. No matter how hard I tried to calm that energy inside of me, the horses still picked it up. Gemini became a worried, uncomfortable horse. Riding was a chore and no longer fun and the disconnect seemed miles wide. I actually considered that possibly my horse days were over.  Enter HBOT.

No more PTSD, energy both in physical, emotional forms back, spiritual energy soaring off the charts and back, no pain, better body mobility.

I took Gemini to a Heather Nelson Liberty clinic in March 2017, and words cannot possibly convey the magic I felt when I felt the return of my connectedness.

Finally, towards the end of the day it was my turn for my private lesson. I was tired from watching all day and I have not done liberty before so I had no idea of what to expect or even hope for. I took Gemini into the ring and allowed him to move off and do some exploring which he did. I then asked him to come to me which he did. We started by doing inside and outside circles which he did but with some attitude. I sent him off again and this time when he came back he was willing. Heather had me taking him in a figure 8 around barrels and then she had me send him on his own…. he was making this all look easy… then heather gave me the obstacle maze to do. Gemini being the tank he is with lots of forward movement meant we kind of crashed through it….. So I really focused on our second attempt… I mean really focused.. I got Gemini to the opening and I was sending all my energy down my whip which I had placed the tip on the ground a few feet in front of him. I was thinking and sending put your head down and just follow the whip. Gemini lowered his head and in that moment I felt the connection. AS I dragged the whip Gemini followed exactly where the whip went. Once we got out of the maze, the connectedness was so strong I was able to send him out at quite a distance to do circles or around the barrels. To be able to feel this after not having it for 19 years was profound and so very beautiful. The next day I was the first student ever in Heather’s Liberty classes to ride. I was bareback with his halter on and a rope draped around his neck but I was riding with no reins or control only using my body to direct Gemini. At first I was worried about falling off and all the what ifs…and then I just focused on what Heather was telling me to do. An amazing experience, again grinning from ear to ear, and bareback again after 19 years!!

With all that HBOT has done for me I have now purchased my own chamber so I never have to worry about degradation. I will still travel to the island to have 3 weeks worth of HBOT at 1.75 ATA once a year as my home chamber is only capable of 1.5 ATA. If anyone would like contact info for the chamber in Duncan please feel free to contact me.

 

Mona Illerbrun