So I have completed my 36 treatments as of Thanksgiving Eve. This was a good way to end my treatment, on a day when family would be together the next. So how was it you ask? Do I feel different? Can others tell a difference in me? Am I still on medication? How long is the treatment supposed to last? Are there follow up treatments that I have to do?
Let me tell you about the treatment itself then I will give you a little info on what I think about it. The treatment itself if you read about it, is a magnetic pulse they place a probe against your skull and send pulses through to your brain. My office does both sides of the brain, left and right hemispheres. The way it was described to me on day one, the day they mapped my brain, is if you are old enough to know who Woody Wood Pecker is, it is like he is pecking on your head. Literally…
At first you kinda laugh to yourself thinking these doctors are crazy if they are comparing it to a bird, but oh no, was I ever wrong about that. It certainly does feel that way on the left side of your skull. Somehow, I am very sensitive to the pulse and during my mapping responded quite quickly to the pulses through my arm. So since I was sensitive to the pulse that caused me to feel it more, I guess is the best way to explain it. Someone asked me if it hurt to do the treatment. My initial answer is YES, I had Woody pecking on my head, but after several treatments in, it began to ease and the technician also shifted the plate slightly to move it from the more sensitive area of my brain.
So like I said, 36 treatments. This is a commitment to do this treatment. You have to be willing to commit to the full set of treatments without significant interruption or there kind of isn’t a point of doing it, I think. I went for 7 1/2 weeks, 5 days a week, 30 to 45 minutes a day, at the same time everyday. I used my lunch break at work to go to my treatments. They are a set time during the day for you just like any other appointment for doctors. There is no down time. You can do the treatments and go straight back to work. For the first week or so there is some discomfort around the treatment area on your head and you may have a headache. I took Advil and was fine afterwards.
The time that you are treating is used to ask questions regarding your mental status from day to day and week to week. Each Friday I was asked to complete two survey’s regarding my depression and my anxiety levels. This was in an attempt to determine if the treatment was working for me or not.
What I believe it has done for me: I think mentally I am stronger now. I feel that on those most horrible days, I can now get out of bed and function. I might not be running marathons (never did), but I can at least get dressed, take a shower, brush my teeth, etc. Before, on those most difficult days, I would lay in bed and pray for night to fall. I feel that I am getting out with my family more without giving them excuses not to go. I even have suggested going to places with them before they ask. So that is a step in the right direction. I am not having the PTSD dreams like I was having waking up soaked in sweat, heart racing, screaming for someone, realizing when I woke that it was all just a horrible dream, then afraid to go back to sleep knowing it would start right back up again. I think that this treatment has definitely helped in my anxiety as it has for most days completely dissipated. I am not saying in any way that this treatment will fix anyone. I am not “fixed”. I am better than I was. I will never be “fixed”. There is no cure for child loss other than when I meet Big Bubby again in Heaven. I am down to two medications that I take daily and my as needed anxiety medication. This is a far cry from where I was just months ago. I will definitely advocate for this treatment for persons who are in such a dark place as I was. I am here, I will answer questions publicly or privately. We are all in this journey together even though we are alone on our own paths. When we find something that works, it should always be shared.
So for now, I have completed the next step in my grief recovery. I have been discharged from the program but if necessary can have additional follow up treatments next year. This is patient specific and does depend on what your insurance determines is reasonable but I do have the opportunity if needed. If you are suffering from severe depression, anxiety and/or PTSD speak with your therapist about TMS Therapy. I highly recommend it.