Monday, September 26, 2016

Ketamine Therapy for Residual Nerve Damage via Guillain Barre Syndrome Part 1

Short Answer? It was exhausting but totally worth it. It helped knock my constant level 6 pain down to 0-2 for 2-3 months before I decided to go in for a 'recharge' 4 months later.
*WARNING* I REALLY do believe that this exhaustion could create problems for those just recently recovering from GBS. Looking back, this Ketamine treatment is not something I would have agreed to until I was around 4 years out because the exhaustion was so intense. It see it as a great tool for when you feel your progress has plateaued after hitting the 3 year mark.

As of July 1st 2016, I have had more energy to handle work, exercise and my social life than I have in 7 years since getting hit by GBS in May 2009. I was extremely skeptical going in for the Ketamine Therapy; after every treatment I felt sick to my stomach, had horrible headaches, blurred vision, extreme fatigue and all I could think is, “This isn't worth it." (I often spent the rest of the day waiting for the pain/exhaustion to pass or for me to pass out.)
It took 3 weeks out of my life; I was pretty much couch/bed/cot bound but now I'm willing to accept the validity of the treatment as something to consider as a viable option for further pain treatment. At this point, I think I may be the only person to have tried using Ketamine as a treatment for the residuals of GBS.
Prior to the Ketamine Therapy I was weaning myself down on my evening opiates. I had gone from a total of 10 mg x 3 through the evening, down to something around 2.5 mg x 1 before the pain and exhaustion from the Ketamine Therapy bounced me back to my 10 mg x 3 in the evenings.
During this stair-step down, I was in a lot of pain, trying to suck it up and deal with it between Advil and whatever would knock me out for the night. This was easily affecting my daily life; I was more tired than usual, my concentration shot, my temper cut short because I was juggling the pain all day, and overall my work/life balance was crap.
I went in for the Ketamine Therapy the week of May 23rd. Over the course of 2 weeks, I had six ~3.5 hour sessions to help tackle the neuropathic pain left over from GBS in the form of occipital neuralgia. (This treatment would potentially offer relief for my additional varying episodes of neuropathy in my legs, face and shoulders.)
Once the exhaustion from the treatments passed I gradually began to feel the pain dropping until one day, about 3 weeks out, I realized I had no pain that day. Until around mid September the 0-2 days have been pretty consistent with a few 4-6 days sprinkled in.
I go in for a 'top off' session on October 4th.

These are some basic notes on how my pain management doctor described the treatment:
Your really noisy neighbor constantly has a song blasting on repeat. You cannot escape it. That song is your pain. You know everything there is to know about the song by now. Words, chords, dance moves, history of the band, and by now the band sends you daily e-mails talking about what they had for breakfast and when they pooped last. For the first couple days it was tolerable but now you will do anything to escape it.
 Ketamine Therapy goes in and reboots your brain so that everything about the song is new. And the neighbor finally turned the volume down so now it is a much more cloudy and dull rendition you are hearing while hanging out on the street outside a club while you can carry on a conversation with a friend without it distracting you.
You still pick up the bass notes, have a general idea that a song is playing but you can't quite place it and it isn't overriding you concentration. You then have a while before your brain starts to relearn the song and it becomes overwhelming again. When the song starts getting annoying again, you go back for another less intense Ketamine Treatment to act as a soft reboot until a more intense regiment might be needed. (Ex: 1 session vs the initial 6 sessions.)

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who is trying this for extreme pain related to a car accident.