Ketamine Advocates: Share Your Story

A Helping Hand

This is a second poem that I have written about ketamine therapy and what the experience was like during a...

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Stories from our patients at KWC

Your voice is a powerful way to bring awareness to the importance of mental health and pain care. Seeking support can be intimidating, and bravely sharing your personal story, artwork, or creative writing can truly make a difference to the KWC community.

Ketamine Wellness Centers invites you to join our Ketamine Advocates Program. Your passion, understanding, and advocacy is an invaluable source of inspiration for others who may be struggling.

Writers:

How has ketamine impacted your life? What have you accomplished since beginning your journey? KWC invites you to submit a personal story, essay, poem, or response to a prompt to be featured on our website and social media. You’ll find some prompts that may help if you need them.

Artists:

Has your treatment experience influenced your art? We want to feature your paintings, digital art, and other creative work. Through art, we can reach people who may not understand us or others who are hiding, and perhaps suffering, in the shadows.

Our Ketamine Advocates

Featured Advocates

I experienced my first blinding, unbearable migraine roughly five years ago. It was the day after my last Bronchiole surgery. Since then, the headaches have gotten progressively worse and I have been diagnosed with Cluster Episodic Headaches. Within the past six months, I have been bedridden or in the ER. Everything was a struggle ─ even just to sit upright involved heaving and screaming from the amount of pain I experienced in my left temple.

During an ambulance ride, the EMT’s strongly believed I was going to have a massive stroke due to my high blood pressure, which was caused by the pain. During Christmas I spent most of the time in bed, crying, heaving, screaming and also making multiple trips to the ER. I was not aware of just how terrible the pain had gotten and how this darkness had overtaken my life, until the last ER visit when I was treated very poorly. It still hurts my heart to know that doctors can be so cruel to those in such distress.

I have tried everything to help alleviate the pain, from injections, Botox, Emgality, meditation, chiropractors, hyperbaric sessions, Reflexology, herbs, oils, diet change, daith piercing and medications. Nothing has helped. However, I remember the day I called the 1-855-KET-WELL number and this calming, soothing voice answered. In that moment, I felt sheer positivity from him and knew in my heart this was the right place to break the pain cycle, manage the symptoms and further reflect on my journey of excruciating pain.

I have had two separate treatments. The first was the five-day pain-breaking cycle-session. I felt relief during the first infusion. However, it wasn’t until the last infusion that I felt the dagger in my temple retract. I took many journeys and have been journaling those moments and places so they do not fade as I believe they are important in my healing process. I just returned home from having my second two-day maintenance session. The first day was what I refer to as my “Grey Day.” It was gloomy and I just felt off. I remember being very anxious and scared. However, I’m glad I was able to get through this session with my nurse and mom because I let go of so much pent-up darkness.

The following day was completely opposite. The colors were vivid. I felt warm, safe and at peace with only a teeny headache. I distinctly remember asking for my mom’s hand. This to me signifies an unspeakable bond. She made me feel the safest I have ever experienced. I hold that moment very close to my heart and continue to reflect. Also, the nurses, receptionist and Nurse Practitioner/Program Coordinator create such an inviting and healing environment. They are all so wonderful and I know they just want people to feel better.

I am beyond grateful that I responded well to the Ketamine treatments. And I know that in future sessions I will be surrounded by positivity and an amazing support system. I’m also just beyond grateful that I can sit upright without crying or screaming from pain. Now, I can help others through my journeys, experiences and photographs. I want to help alleviate people’s pain because I know from experience, it’s easy to lose yourself in that dark hole of agony.Currently I’m writing and drawing. I also set daily goals. And just try to embrace my surroundings ─ especially nature. I am a photographer and am surrounded by true beauty.

Lastly, I sat on my deck for about 30 minutes last evening just listening, smelling and watching the stars. I have a long healing journey ahead; however, I know it’s filled with love, support and peace. And the amount of gratitude I hold can never fully be expressed. Thank you.


Jenae Zaharko is a photographer and patient at Ketamine Wellness Centers. Learn more about her photography at Jenaemariephotography.zenfolio.com

Ketamine-Wellness-Centers-Ketamine Patient-Kaatje Gotcha

Hi, my name is Kaatje. At age 24, my parachute didn’t open during a night time skydive, and I landed at 70 mph on my sacrum (tailbone). My career as a stunt woman was over, I was flown by trauma chopper to Riverside General and was diagnosed with Cauda Equina syndrome. I lost 2 inches of my spine. My lower leg and foot muscles are atrophied; bladder, bowel and sexuality are forever altered. I was hospitalized for almost a year. After discharge I went to a community college near Detroit, then transferred to New Mexico Tech and graduated with high honors. I earned a Master as a Physician Assistant (PA-C). Unfortunately during my studies, my trunk, leg and back pain intensified so much that I was recommended epidural steroidal injections. Also, a few years prior I had an unexplained 105 fever and muscle spams and needed a lumbar puncture. This hurt as much as my skydiving accident, despite asking the doctor to be careful.

I will never be sure what caused my disability to worsen, but everyday it feels like I’m dunked in ice, while deep inside it’s as if someone’s pouring molten lead from my chest to my toes. In 2015 I was diagnosed with lumbosacral adhesive arachnoiditis, a progressive neuro-inflammatory disorder that is incurable and untreatable. I was also diagnosed with a benign spinal cord tumor, a hemangioma at T4, presumably from the skydiving accident. This causes central neuropathic pain syndrome (also fairly common after a subthalamic stroke). Having two severe, rare pain syndromes meant I had to stop working after only eight years as a PA-C, which broke my heart. I am now bed bound 22/24 hours.

Ketamine infusions (first outpatient, now weeklong at an academic hospital) help decrease the severe nerve pain and spinal cord inflammation. Comedy however, saved my life. Three weeks after the adhesive arachnoiditis diagnosis in 2015, I did my first set. I use the little time I have outside my hospital bed to do an open mic, or a show. I swim three times a week in a heated pool and keep busy as a writer. My Kindle Single, a mini memoir called “The Queen of Ketamine” will soon be available at Amazon. Being bedbound is an unusual life, and often lonesome as my family lives abroad, and very few friends still visit. Good news too, my take on comedy and ketamine was chosen for TEDxABQ on September 29. Through comedy, writing and storytelling, I finally connect with community, and that means the world to me.

Learn more about Kaatje Gotcha’a story at www.kaatjegotcha.com and contact Ketamine Wellness Centers at 855-KET-WELL (855-538-9355) if you or someone you know is struggling with an ongoing mental health, depression, anxiety, or chronic pain condition.

 

Kaatje Gotcha, comedienne, writer, and stuntwoman-turned-Physician Assistant, found salvation in comedy and writing after being diagnosed with Adhesive Arachnoiditis, one of the most painful conditions known to humankind. Two decades prior to her 2015 diagnosis, a disease which has left her bed-bound 22 hours a day, she suffered a spinal cord injury while skydiving. Instead of giving up in the face of seemingly insurmountable tragedy, Kaatje Gotcha seized life. Her indomitable spirit and singular courage have led her to pursue a new career in storytelling through writing, videocasting, and stage performance. You can find her published essays on Medium, and her first memoir, “The Queen of Ketamine” on Amazon Kindle.

For most of my life, I suffered from treatment-resistant depression, panic disorders, and suicidality. I’ve been to numerous doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and have been hospitalized a few times for suicide ideations, including one very serious failed attempt. When my father passed away in 2018, I felt like a broken soul and I could not find my way out of the darkness. I grieved every day for nearly two years, until I found ketamine therapy.

I have a friend from another country where ketamine therapy is widely known and generally accepted. I’d never heard of it and was curious, so I started researching and found Ketamine Wellness Centers. KWC has a clinic in Hurst, TX, which is very close to where I live. My experience, starting with the intake coordinator all the way through my first treatment was nothing less than amazing! After the stabilization period, I knew I had finally found hope. I could finally see light entering my very darkened mind. The impact was immediate.

Ultimately, I added the Facilitated Treatment Program to my overall treatment plan. This opened the creative part of my mind where I could begin working out my thoughts and feelings, and my grief and confusion, in ways I had forgotten. I started writing again which has always been my passion. I started shedding the shell I built slowly to crack and fall away. With my doctor’s oversight, my antidepressants are now half of what they’ve been for years, and I can visualize a time where perhaps I can be free of much of the medication I’ve been on. I owe my gratitude to KWC, and it feels AMAZING to be excited again about the future. My sincerest thanks to the entire KWC team for being so knowledgeable, so caring….these are not just providers ─ they are family.


Ginger R., a patient at KWC Dallas – Fort Worth

The KWC Commitment

Get Well:  You’re committed to your health and wellness plan in combination with Ketamine infusion therapy.

Live Well:  You’re committed to living your best life personally and professionally.

#Ketwell:  You’re ready to make an impact by sharing your voice and connecting with those within your community.