Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Life, Changed Forever

We're always glad to post stories from Veterans and family members. If you'd like to share your story and encourage others who are experiencing "life after combat," please go to http://www.familyofavet.com/share.html.

My name is Tona. My wonderful husband is was injured 3 times in his 5 tours to Iraq. He was injured in 2 IED blasts and 1 mortar attack. His 1st injury occurred December 27, 2005. He ran over IED in a HETT. He didn't realize he was injured, only thing he knew is he had a massive headache and was unable to seek medical attention. The blast damaged the truck.

His 2nd injury was approximately (he can't remember his exact date) in March 2007. He again, ran over IED in HUMVEE. Again, he had an unbearable headache and was unable to seek medical attention due to command. It damaged the vehicle on the passenger side where he was sitting. The only thing he could think of was getting out of vehicle and redirecting traffic so they would not travel where they were in case there were more IED's. He was a sitting duck so to speak and risked his life in the middle of Baghdad to make sure no more injuries happened.

In April 2007, Easter Sunday, he was in camp in Iraq and was chatting with me on yahoo instant messenger. A mortar was shot into camp and hit the tent he was in. I didn't realize what had happened and thought yahoo had froze up again, when in fact they had to report to the bunkers.

He finally came home and we finally had time to spend as a family. We knew he was different, very distant, moody and restless at night. He didn't want to do anything we used to do such as going out to eat, movies or being in a public place without feeling of fear. We didn't realize what we were dealing with. I just thought he was moody and didn't know how to deal with war. I started to pay attention to him and his behavior was very odd. He started talking about things that were "off the wall" and things I had never heard of. He started having tremors (seizures) and nightmares. Thank goodness we had a great military doctor who screened him for TBI which he tested positive for, which in return sparked other appointments to see how intense the issue was. We found out he was indeed having seizures and then that episode would be followed by "flashbacks" to where he thought he was still in Iraq and I was his commander. It was quite scary because I didn't know what he would do or even was capable of. I didn't fear for my life but didn't have full knowledge of his time in Iraq because he wanted to spare me and himself. I have learned about his experiences due to his unconscious talk. He has about 4 "tremor" seizures a month with many different medications.

I have done a tremendous amount of research on TBI, PTSD and seizures. I am my husbands advocate and will continue to support him in his time of grieving and healing. I have seen a difference of who my husband was before and who he is now. We have done a lot to try to transition him into civilian world. He is getting ready to do "cognitive rehab" and other retraining. I am doing my best to make sure he has whatever resources he needs to try to be independent. We have tried many things such as cell phones, dry erase boards, voice recorder, sticky notes and constant phone calls to make sure he doesn't forget where he needs to be. No matter what, I will continue to fight for him and our family. Even though he has changed and will never be who he was before, he will always be my hero!

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