DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THIS DOCTOR NOR HIS OFFICE, ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS WHAT MY EXPERIENCE WAS.
In April of 2016, a week after my now husband and I went to Walt Disney World to plan our magical wedding, I was in a horrible car accident. One where I could have easily died. Thank GOD I did not, for I would not have been healed from my depression by a doctor who I call THE HEALER.
I was in remission from major depression for three years at the time of the accident. After it my husband , my employer at the time and I noticed a big difference in my personality. I was sad, angry and crying at work. I could not take constructive feed back like I used to. At the lowest times I wanted to just die because of the hopelessness and despair of never getting better I felt.
We went to a local psychiatrist and he was unable to help due to the severity of the depression and complexity of what we now know to be a serious traumatic brain injury. I was experiencing memory loss, extreme fatigue, I could not walk a mile without getting dizzy and tired. Keep in mind I ran five miles and walked 2 miles at least three days a week, along with an intense strengh workout two days a week prior to the accident. I couldn’t drive because I became so dizzy very quickly. I would have to call my husband to pick me up from local places if I did choose to drive because I was so scared.
At the end of July 2016, we reached out to a world renouned psychiatrist who treated depression and is board certified in neuropsyciatry. It was clear to them that my major depression had returned and it was more severe than ever, it was due to the car accident. I talked to this psychiatrist weekly and medication adjustments were made, but it just was not helping. They made a recommendation of Ketamine Therapy. I had heard of it before, but was very adverse to it because I related it to street drugs like most people do and I have never done a drug in my life. The doctor explained to me What Ketamine Therapy was and how it worked. My husband researched it off the information the doctor had given him and he said, ” I think we should give it a chance.”
I initially went for a series of six infusions through one of his doctors network of providers neuragain in August of 2016 at the cost of 3,000.00. The infusions were for 45 minutes long and due to being so nervous, not knowing what to expect the very first one was difficult. I hyperventilated, my emotions came out about the car accident and things of that nature. The student nurse at Dr. Amanda Itzkoff , office a psychiatrist who administered the ketamine IV infusion the first few times was extremely nice. The other student nurse made me extremely nervous. When she was setting up for the infusions, she took out four needles for the IV. I knew something was wrong. It was it took four times in four different places for this student nurse to put an IV in. Normally, even the other student nurse used the same vein everytime and it was not at all painful. This time the student nurse while very sweet made it an extremely painful experience.
At the end of September 2016, I went to this (infamous) America’s Psychiatrist treatment center where I recieved therapy five days a week, stayed at a beautiful house he owned and recieved another six infusions. I was there for three weeks, but I stayed at a hotel for part of it because his treatment center accomodates only one person at a time. The cost of two weeks, if my memory serves me correctly, therapy five times a week, twice a day for part of my stay and the ketamine infusions at Sea Coast Medical, where they were provided by another lovely nurse and a driver to bring me back and forth from ketamine because you can’t drive afterwards. In total was around $15,000.00.
Since the time I began ketamine therapy to the end of September 2016 I was feeling better. That darkness was lifting slightly, but the sadness, loneliness, hopelisness was still there and eating at me. I was there until the end of September. My husband and I in October had a few events for the wedding and their was no doubt that some of that had to do with it. I must say my spirit was lifted by my mother – in- laws bridal shower. The love from her and my husbands part of the family, the effort that was put into the bridal shower brought tears of happiness, gratitude and pure joy and meaning to my life.
In November of 2016, I had my first disney run at Walt Disney World, where I was raising money for Home for our Troops, but was planning our wedding for April 29th of 2017. I was feeling better, but not great. I wasn’t myself and all I wanted was to be there, present and in the moment with my future husband, but my emotions, depression and agitiation as hard as I tried were just not controllable.
In November after visiting and planning our wedding at Walt Disney World. I returned back to ” America’s Psychiatrist.” I was there for another two weeks or so and again if my memory serves me correctly about the span of time. I had therapy five days a week, stayed at the house next to the psychiatrist and recieved another six infusions of ketamine treatment. That time I felt as if I was okay to go, but I was prescribed something called intranasal ketamine spray back in August and it started out as three times a week.
The one thing I noticed was that everytime I had to get a ketamine infusion the nurse needed to raise the dosage. I guess it had to do with how severe my depression was. The next time I went back was in January of 2017 to February of 2017. I had another six infusions that costed another $3,000.00 on top of the other costs noted above.
Normally, you would go back every three months and get a full protocol, but because I was getting married I was given the intranasal ketamine spray five times a week. Then had tele-therapy over the phone three days a week. This all ended on 4/2017.
I got married on 4/29/17 through it all with being depressed, no treatment, having agonized, but my husband is the most wonderful thing that happened to me and on that very day, for those 12 or 14 hours I was the happiest woman in the world.
Since my treatment was discontinued by the doctor, even though on multipe occassions I stated that I did not want to treat with them anymore, but then stated I did want to continue. The last time I was given an ultimatium to sign some bizzarre contract or they would discontinue treatment and I would not abide with the bizzarre contract so they terminated treatment knowing I had no provider. No way of getting the ketamine spray.
In July of 2017 I was set to go to the previous psychiatrist clinic they used to get another six ketamine infusions. I got an airbnb and left on July 10th on July 11th was my first infusion. The nurse had raised my dose from 65 to 70mg. I reacted like any normal person under ketamine, my feelings came to the surface and I cried. Two days later I had my second infusion and the nurse had raised my dose from 70mg to 80mg. That infusion was like any other I felt tortured, while under it, it was like all the darkness, the sadness, just everything was trapped inside me and in my chest. I couldn’t move or do anything about it.
Finally, when it was over I began crying out loud, now keep in mind this is in a medical clinic. The nurse supervisor came in and told me to lower my voice or she would call security. When your coming down from ketamine, like any other anesthetic, you begin to become aware. I said, to the nurse supervisor how do you expect me to calm down and stop loudly crying I still have ketamine in my body. She apparently called, security. I called my husband and put him on speaker, he asked why they called security and stated the same thing I did. I was brought to the ER waiting area at the hospital and told to sit down and a security officer was sitting with me. He then left and so did I. I must have not been that much of a disturbance or scaring the patients as they stated if they left me alone.
I went back to my Airbnb, calmed down and soaked in the large soaker tub with lavender bubble bath. I can still feel how amazing that felt. All the sudden when I was finished I heard foot steps up the stairs and I yelled out, ” Hello”. It’s the police a officer responded. I have to laugh out loud at this, because the nurse I later found out through my husband called him to tell her, she had called the police out of concern.
Hmmm… Really, the security guards weren’t too concerned when they left and I walked out of the ER waiting area and neither were the police when I explained what happened. They left with no problem.
To be continued…..