One Year Update on My Most Recent PTSD Stellate Ganglion Block from Dr. Lipov

Howdy folks. Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ll be back on schedule soon, I hope. But meanwhile, I hit a milestone this last week. And since I’ve made a commitment to myself to talk openly about my PTSD, I’m back for a quick update.

It’s now been over a year since my last PTSD treatment and I continue to be amazed by how much better the dual pulse radiofrequency SGB injection to the C3 and C6 was in comparison to the previous five standard (Clonidine mix) SGB injections to the C6. The pulseradiofrequency, I’m told,anesthetizes the region for three months as opposed to the eight hours that the standard provides. In the past, that standard SGB to the C6 had provided anywhere from 6 to 15 months of relief with two blocks (September ’12 and June ’14) failing to hold up to post-treatment re-triggering events within 30 days of the SGB. I’ve seen remarkable results with the new one and have no idea when I will need another. I’d LOVE to say “if” I’ll need another but can’t because…well…acceptance and serenity. I have PTSD and need to watch out for it on my horizon. Period.

This last year, I’ve noticed a remarkable improvement in my cognitive capacity to find my way as I continue therapy with less noise in my head. I’ve also continued using medical marijuana and exploring good PTSD maintenance strains (which I’ll talk a bit more about in the book that will soon be underway.) I’ve continued working on exercise, diet and hydration (to the tune of about 25 lbs lost, putting me at my lowest weight since 2008) and have added an occasional support group meeting and its daily literature to my self care regiment. I’ve avoided SSRIs and I think I had one Clonazapam prescription in the last 12 months. I also use occasional massage during high stress times and hope to make that a more regular part of my maintenance once I’m back on my feet career-wise. I also read most of Pete Walkers excellent book on C-PTSD. It’s a must for anyone dealing with that particularly tough variety of PTSD. I’ve been digging out for a long, long time and this last year was a great one for better use of the tools available to me. And progress in fixing my life.

In the Department of Digging Out, this last year was definitely more productive than the one that preceded it. My brain started working immediately after the block but it usually takes 3-4 months of quiet processing before Leroy comes back online. During the last of the winter, I put together the manuscript for my third collection, Blue Yonders, Grateful Pies and Other Fancilful Feasts. By April, I had finished my Poe/Jay Lake Tribute, “Evermore I Told the Raven,” followed by “Stuck in Buenos Aires with Bob Dylan on My Mind,” in July and a bonus story that was unplanned, “Business in Great Waters,” in August. I also (yes, I know, sorry) for a brief while radically improved my blogging habits. And listened to the first four volumes of the Psalms of Isaak between May and Augustish. I ghosted Worldcon in Spokane and saw Blue Yonders launched. Then came home and re-read the first half and added 25k more words to HYMN with a much better sense of the book than I had before the block.. I had hoped to finish the book by the end of the year. But I am much closer than I was before my last trip to see Dr. Lipov and most of the end of the book is alive and moving around and stitching itself more tightly together in my head. I am writing very slowly…but I am moving forward. And 2016 is off to a good start — last week, I recorded all twelve vocal and guitar tracks for my debut album, Back Into the Land of Living. More on that later.

The best writing advice I ever received was in a workshop taught by Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. She told us, “If you want to fix the problems in your writing life, fix the problems in your personal life.” I’ve held to that and passed it along to lots of other writers along the way. But this last year — actually in the last month or so — I suddenly had the epiphany.(while in the midst of shaming myself over not finishing my $%^&#$ novel) that sometimes it takes years to solve some of the bigger problems life can toss our way. And then, I looked at all I was doing and all that I had accomplished, and decided that I’d just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And take a moment to update you all. One thing continues to hold true: I get by with a little help from my friends.

Next month, I will hit five years of treatment with Dr. Lipov’s amazing Chicago Block. It’s the coolest thing science has done for me in a long, long while. Next month, I’ll blog more on the overall experience. I’m also working on some article/essays about it all.

And that’s about it. Back to work with me!

Trailer Boy out.

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