At the age of 14 Sara was diagnosed with depression. She felt her mood swings were normal teenage angst and was terrified to hear it had a label that came with a prescription. She started her decade long pharmaceutical trail with Prozac. She would feel ok for a month but then spiral out of control again and her doctor would respond by increasing the dosage. This roller coaster continued until she reached the highest dosage possible and when that didn’t work she was put on another medication. This pattern would continue for 12 years.
During high school Sara endured the stigma of mental illness and was teased and bullied. She started drinking heavily to cover up her pain and try to fit in to the point of being hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. This binge drinking would continue through college. The medications Sara was on made her anxious, numb, affected her memory and kept her from a collegiate swimming career. It also affected her self-esteem which manifested into many unhealthy, and sometimes abusive, relationships. She felt lost and wanted to die.
Then in 2009, Sara was in a horrible car accident. This terrible event, that would cause horrific pain for almost five years, would actually lead her on the path to recovery, emotionally and physically. Sara had surgery from injuries sustained in the car accident that caused Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a condition caused by compression of nerves or blood vessels in the area between the base of the neck and the armpit, including the front of the shoulders and chest. She was battling with insurance companies and denied at every turn. She was forced to give up a job she loved as a USA Swim Team coach because the pain was excruciating and she could not move her left arm. By April 2012 Sara was barely walking and hunched over in a fetal position most of the time.
Sara tried multiple treatments for pain relief including being accepted into the UCSD Thoracic Outlet program, where she was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD, and another study group by a California neurologist, but found no relief and actually got sicker from the abundance of pain medications being prescribed. Between the excruciating pain, lack of access to treatment and care, and treatment resistant depression, Sara was not coping well and feeling suicidal. She then found the Power of Pain Foundation and was referred to a well-known RSD physician and diagnostician who confirmed her diagnosis and told her about Ketamine infusion therapy. Sara was hopeful for the new treatment but the physician was in another state and with the expense it was not feasible.
Desperate and at an all-time low, Sara drank non-stop to numb her pain and attempted to over dose. She had given up. Fortunately, Barby Ingle and the Power of Pain Foundation stepped in again and saved her life. They brought Sara to Depression Recovery Center and although the clinic was not doing pain protocols at the time, she received her first Ketamine treatment. Sara felt relief from her very first session but knew she had a long road ahead. She continues her treatments at Ketamine Recovery Centers (formerly DRC) which now has a successful chronic pain program in addition to depression and PTSD. Her anxiety and depression are no longer an issue and her pain, which is at a ‘0’ after treatments, is completely manageable. Sara is pushing herself physically again and enjoying swimming and marathons while working with a sports therapist. Thanks to Ketamine, Sara is happier than she has ever been and is living an active, pain-free life.
To read more about Sara please follow her personal blog at: https://sehobbsjourneytolife.blogspot.com