34 years ago I was a sophmore in College at Eastern Illinois U. I had just finished my second college soccer season. I was in great shape. I did not know only a few months later I would start a life long pattern of cyclical illness. I was home on Christmas break. I was on my way to go ice skating at Forrest Park in St. Louis with my girlfriend. My little sister and brother were in the back seat. We were in a Ford Torino. We stopped at a red light on Kingshighway. Suddenly, we were rear ended by an Olds 98. Me and my girlfriend ended up in the backseat. The front seats had totally collapsed upon impact. There were no head rests and I doubt we were wearing seatbelts.
We were all very shook up but there was no blood or broken bones. A man and a woman were in the other car. She had a broken leg but the Olds had only little damage since it was built like a tank. The Torino was totalled. We did not go to the hospital. The police came and wrote tickets for the other guy and noted that there were no skid marks. They thought the guy was probably going about 30-40 mph and was drunk. Today, he would have been put in jail but this was before MADD.
The next few days we were all very sore but nothing else seemed wrong. Was I wrong!
Jan 2007, I sat talking with a Doctor at the Amen Clinic. I had just gone through 2 days of testing that included doing brain scans.Before showing my brain scans,he looked at me and asked " when were you in a car accident?" I was stunned. The past several years I had wondered about the accident and about the coincidence that it had occured 2 months before my first episode that lasted the rest of my college career. I was amazed that it was so obvious to him.
I went to the Amen Clinic for two reasons. 1.) I was totally perplexed by the return of some of my cyclical symptoms which I had attributed to exposure to mold and felt I needed to take a totally different tack. 2.) I discovered them when I was studying about "bi-polar illness". I was helping a relative who had been diagnosed with this condition. I was very impressed with what they did. In the case of my relative, when I would talk with the psyche doc, I could tell they were mostly guessing about the meds they were prescribing. They would give one and see if it worked. When it didn't, they would try another. I found this very problematic and frustrating. They simply did not know what would work.
My research kept turning the Amen Clinic located in Newport Beach, CA. They used something called SPECT (Single photon emission computed tomography) scans to image the activity of the brain. They could readily diagnose different types of ADD, depression, anxiety, bi-polar and other brain illnesses. They had done over 25,000 scans and could pinpoint what was wrong. I ended up sending my relative to Amen Clinic. They were able to pinpoint exactly what was wrong. They could say with near certainty exactly what meds and supplements would help. They could also say why other meds that had been tried did not work. My relative rapidly stabilized on the program they recommended. It was very impressive!!
The doc then showed me my brain scans. He described how he could tell that it was what he called a "closed head brain trauma." He also asked lots of questions wanting to know if I experienced other symptoms that he felt I "ought" to have. I answered yes to almost all of his questions. He asked if I experienced these other symptoms even when I "thought I was well." I did. They did not seem all that troubling though compared to the really difficult symptoms I had when I was really sick.
He said "when I first looked at your brain scans, I said to myself that you would probably not be functioning very well." He said that he was surprised to see how highly functioning I actually was. He said that obviously I had learned to "white knuckle" my way through my many episodes. I had developed strong "compensatory skills". He felt that other areas of my brain had developed to make up for most of the injury. He also said that it was very possible that playing soccer and football may have contributed to the injury. These two sports cause many brain trauma injuries that they see.
I was sort of in shock. He said that the injury was really pretty serious. He explained how the two main areas (the pre-frontal cortex and the temporal lobes) that were damaged would cause many of my symptoms especially the cyclical nature of my issues. He also pointed out a pattern that they see with "environmental exposures" which he did not know where they came from in my case. Naturally I thought of mercury. I asked him, "So what is the prognosis?" Immediately, he replied "very good." "The meds and supplements today are so very good and specific with very few side effects that I am certain you will do very well", he said.
He then went on to describe the program he wanted to put me on. I will continue that tomorrow.