I am a Registered Nurse who has been struggling with bipolar disorder and PTSD for most of my life. I started receiving ketamine treatments at the beginning of September, and I’d like to share a little bit about my experience. First of all, not all ketamine centers are made equal. The first one I went to was terrible. I had a really bad experience with one of their psychiatrists. After 1 treatment there, I knew it wasn’t going to work.
I made about 8 calls to other places. One of them was the Ketamine Wellness Centers where I talked to Kayla, their patient care manager. Pretty quickly after that, the rest of the places fell off my radar (even the one that had a therapy dog…which by the way, would normally be a huge selling point for me.) I spoke with Kayla for at least 1/2 an hour that first time. She never made me feel like she needed to go take care of other things, although I’m certain she stays busy.
Following that discussion, I spoke with Shannon (their NP) again probably for 45 minutes or so. Shannon also made me feel like I was her only patient of the day. (Ha!) Within a matter of hours, with Kayla’s guidance, I had completed all the paperwork and interviews and was ready to schedule an appointment for 2 days later. Pretty impressive considering the other place couldn’t be bothered to scheduled me 2 weeks out even though I was already an established patient.
A word about the ketamine itself: I think that going into it with appropriate expectations is really important. The first place never did that for me, but KWC really grounded me in that sense. Shannon and the staff are so great at reassuring me that whatever’s going on, it’s probably normal. It took many decades to shape my brain and my chemicals into the minor disaster that they are. Now it’s a marathon not a sprint, and you have to continue to do your work. I still go to therapy weekly, and see my nurse practitioner to adjust my meds every month or so. Ketamine really makes my current self care regimen more feasible.
With the treatments, I have definitely seen improvements, and my depression scores are about 1/2 of what they used to be. I’m not “cured” but depressions are much shorter, and less intense. My husband has seen improvement in our relationship and my therapist (who’s known me for 6 years) has seen improvement in my dissociation during sessions. This treatment is a huge commitment, in almost every way, but I strongly believe it’s helping me. For one thing, it’s expensive. I’m fortunate to have great insurance that covers a small piece of it. But just as helpful is that Kayla has sends me these incredibly detailed super bills that I send in for reimbursement. I’ve literally gotten thousands of dollars reimbursed because of the way she does these things.
I can’t leave out the rest of the staff, either. For my first treatment at the old place, I didn’t realize that a sense of safety is absolutely VITAL during these treatments. Ketamine is no joke…I can’t explain the trips but they’re weird and (for me) very scary. In the first place I went to, for the first treatment I had, they put me in a dark room and left me alone. Somewhere in the middle of the infusion, I started texting my husband to “come rescue me” and “get me out of here.” I was scared to close my eyes. It doesn’t have to be like that.
At KWC, there’s a staff member with you at all times. They literally sit right next to you…which may seem weird at first. Laura and Kaitlynn are 2 of my absolute favorites. I can’t do it without their calming presence and great sense of humor. They are always trying to anticipate your needs. They make me feel like a queen. Another thing…Shannon is going to help tailor the experience to exactly what you need. If you have severe anxiety (me) or nausea (me) or headache (me), she is going to adjust the meds so that you have the most productive experience possible. You’re never alone, they’re always working to make things better for you, and best of all…NO JUDGEMENT.
Wrapping up, I can’t think of enough good things to say about the KWC team. The drugs are one thing, but the people are entirely another and their honesty and kindness and genuine belief that you can be helped is not something you find just anywhere. I feel very, very fortunate to have gotten out of the old place and found KWC. I trust them implicitly (not an easy thing for a person with PTSD). As I continue to improve, they are going to be right by my side, always doing the right thing.