The founder of Team Veteran Foundation is a survivor of a near fatal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and underwent emergency brain surgery 11/5/2002. I had a venous subdural hematoma and the MRI taken on 11/5/2002 indicated the upper right quadrant of my skull was all white indication the area was filled with blood.
Post-Op I suffered two grand mal seizures and had a near death experience. I was placed on a daily dosage of 650mg of Dilantin and 750mg of Depakote supposedly to prevent future seizures. For three and half years I was on those meds and had suicide ideation almost daily. After fighting the medication induced suicidal thoughts and a very serious suicidal attempt incident I demanded to be taken off the Dilantin/Depakote cocktail. I found out later that there was no reason to be on these meds because the seizures were caused by the brain surgery.
Living with the aftermath of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) was a very frustrating and confusing process. I had trouble with speech, reading, long and short term memory, word searches, balance, sleep, anger just to name a few. Associating with people I didn’t know was extremely difficult, and that started a journey to find something to help with a more deliberate recovery.
I researched many different possible therapies and used cognitive rehabilitation therapy to help in relearning to read. I found that when I read, my eyes would stop tracking after about two sentences and I had 0% comprehension. I used audio books and the same version of the written book to force my eyes to track again two months later I was reading again.
My search took me down many paths eventually leading me to a therapy called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBOT. I became almost obsessed with learning all I could about HBOT and the potential to heal my physical brain injury. I started sponsoring Veterans that also suffered a TBI and was very excited about one day completing the 40 1hr “dives” recommended HBOT protocol for a TBI. A “dive” is what a HBOT treatment is called because the chambers used to treat SCUBA divers that are suffering from decompression sickness (DCS) also known as the bends.
I was contacted by someone in the HBOT field who told me they had heard about what I was doing and offered to sponsor my 40 “dives”. On 09/21/2015 I started the recommended 40 1-hour “dives” in a multiplace Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chamber and finished the 40th dive on 11/13/2015. The TBI negatively effected my cognition and the HBOT dives returned my cognition to normal or better.