The "Stellate Ganglion Block". Stellate. Ganglion. Block. What started as my venture to research alternative methods to treating PTSD (which my Iraq combat Vet has....and what now has my family by the throat) has turned into a potential miracle for my husband. For me. For our three small children.
I first read about the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) on stripes.com. An article posted about an Anesthesiologist,Dr. Eugene Lipov. Hmmmm I thought. I'd like to interview him for Family of a Vet's (FOV) radio show (on blog talk radio for you who don't know). Afterall, I am now the Veteran's Health Advocate, and people need to know their options. Options outside of the box. Options that are feasable. Was this feasable? Was it cost effective? Was it even a viable option for the majority of our veterans? I needed to know.
So I did what any resourceful 30-something who knows nothing about working as a Sr. Staff in a national non profit did, but all about the drive necessity brings....I googled him.
And I found him.
"Dear Dr. Lipov, my name is Kat..." uh no.
"Dear Dr. Lipov, I am writing to inquire about your....." nooooo, too pompus.
"Doc, my husband has PTSD, but PTSD has my family" That could work....
So I emailed him. I don't remember what exactly I first wrote, but I caught an old collegue of his first who is now in Fort Sam Houston. She had nothing to say on the matter.
Then I caught his Director? Assistant? Kevin. I caught him. And we emailed. I don't think I conveyed the severity of the issue at hand the first few emails, but soon enough I received a call from Dr. Lipov himself.
The first thing I noticed about him was he has an accent. Russian I thought, it made me think of an old priest I used to take care of, and my brief nostalgia was halted when I realized I am trying to work here.
There was a break. Silence. And do you know what I asked him? Really? I asked him, "WHY? Why do you care about us?" Why does he care about a combat vet with ptsd? Any of us? He's a pain specialist....PTSD is not the pain he specializes in.
Or is it?
I can't tell you what we talked about truly. We talked about barriers to care, why this shot wasn't getting a lot of attention and so on. He was kind. He had a very nice voice. And he was *very* passionate about this. He was the first person who ever put to light to me that there is a lot of things standing in his way....Pharmaceuticals. I swear Big Pharm is a very deep and complicated issue in our world people. There are many good things, but many not so good as well, and that is not our topic for now.
So fast forward to me emailing some talking points to his right hand man Kevin. And I also bought his book on Amazon. Exit Strategies..... I read it in a day. Easy to read, very to the point, and a good primer on PTSD.
And thats where this little trist ended. I tried booking for the show. Nothing. I argued with myself to give him more time, I wrestled with the fact that he had called me (which is kind of out of character in my opinion of busy Doctors) but now I was getting no play. What changed?
thats when fate whispered, "your life is about to change....."
I was called in the evening the other day by Kevin. We were coming. He was inviting us. We are GOING. My husband and I are leaving on Monday....
Tuesday, January 17th, at 11am, my husband, who still struggles with PTSD, is undergoing Dr. Lipov's "Chicago Block". We are flying to Chicago, by the grace of the Universe, by the grace of Dr. Lipov, to see him. To meet him! In the flesh! To get the shot for PTSD.....
Written by Kateri Peterson, a native of Minnesota. Senior Staff at Family of a Vet, INC. and Proud (and Damn LUCKY) wife of James, Army Veteran, who honorably served from 2002-2006.