Mr. Espinoza is a medically retired police officer who is a TBI and PTSD survivor. As a seven-year veteran of the Wichita police department, he has been through numerous traumatic events. He joined the force in 1999 with his career was ending in 2006. Although you will find through reading his story that he has plenty reason to stay in the “victim” role, he lives his life as a TBI and PTSD fighter and survivor! Here is his story on how he was heavily medicated and decided to discontinue western medicine. Learn what he is doing to manage his symptoms of nightmares, headaches, memory loss, seizures, and more.
Officer Espinoza’s Story: TBI and PTSD
On October, !8th 2003 I responded to a call at a bar in North Wichita. While there I was assaulted by several men. When it was all over myself and one other officer were hospitalized. From that night forward I encountered life changing illnesses due to what some doctors have blamed prescription drugs on, and myself feel they had an effect on. I was sent home from the hospital the morning of October 18th after the riot. I remembered having a terrible headache and nausea as well. It wasn’t long till I was noticing I was missing certain parts of the day. Wondering where fifteen to twenty minutes were disappearing too.
I contacted my City of Wichita doctor and requested to see him. I told him I was having severe migraines, loss of time, feeling like I was blacking out and very tired. From that appointment I was given OxyContin. This type of treatment went on for 9 more months while my symptom’s remained unattended to. I was eventually seen by a different doctor for a consultation. At this point that doctor told me to come off the narcotics and I was sent to a neurologist.
After seeing this doctor, he provided several sleep studies, seizure studies, and nerve conduction tests. My new diagnosis was TBI, Epilepsy, Post Concussion Migraine, Sleep apnea, Neuropathy, and Insomnia. As you can see, one’s social anxiety would prevail under these circumstances.
Anyway, the medications I was placed on were Depakote, Cymbalta, Gabapentin, Topamax, Provigil, Xylem, Rozerum, lunesta, Tizanadine, Cyclobenzaprine, and Xanax. I was also given a breathing machine for my sleep apnea. While on all this medication I had a surgical procedure for Compartment syndrome. So add prescriptions narcotics to this as well.
TBI and PTSD Liver Failure
Shortly after being on this list of medications, I was placed in the hospital and told my liver, kidneys, pancreas were all shutting down, I had a heart infection, and fluid on my heart. A heart surgeon came in my room and told me to get a second opinion on my Neurologist, and told me to get off of as many medications as possible. Against my doctors orders I stopped most of my epilepsy drugs.
I did not stop them fast enough as I had gained 75lbs. I went from 222 to 297 pounds. All side effects from the epilepsy medicine. There were no alternative drugs and I was told the reason for such mass amount was because I was having between 17 and 25 seizures in a 24 hr period.
The injuries didn’t stop there as I had my third back surgery on 01/15/15. After the back surgery I was put on 8mg of dilaudid a day and 100 mg of Percocet as well. I was on this high of pain medication for around 11 months. Again my liver started showing signs of wear.
This summer I was diagnosed with two new ailments. Fibromyalgia, and a blood clotting disorder. It was only after going to a rheumatoid doctor we found I had Cardiolipin antibody, which explains why I have been on blood thinners for around three years and will remain on them for life due to my history of pulmonary embolus. The Fibromyalgia was at first treated with pain meds and then I decided to look for alternative pain relief. Mainly because my body could no longer handle prescription pain killers (narcotics) and I cannot take the Tylenol because of my liver, nor Advil because it can’t be taken with blood thinners.
The reason for giving my story and all the medications I have been on through the years is simple. I wanted to show how medical marijuana, if used as an alternative drug might have stopped all the damage my body has taken from prescription drugs… some people’s bodies do not tolerate them very well at all. Those of us who have researched it know that THC, Medical Marijuana, has been shown to help with epilepsy, pain management, anxiety, nightmares, and migraines.
The medical marijuana use I find helpful are the THC gummies. I have never smoked due to my asthma. When I started thinking of this as an alternative, I studied how big of a dose to start out with, and so forth. At first I tried the edible gummies which have 10mg THC per gummy. Initially, I was under the impression I had to take it every night of the week. But, this was not the case. After playing with my dose I found that one simple gummy can control my fibromyalgia pain for up to five days. In other words, I usually only need to take two candies per week.
In closing I want to emphasize, this was the most conflicting decision I have ever made. Ultimately, I carry retired police identification, a badge. and a gun everywhere I go. I essentially still consider myself a member of the law enforcement family. In fact, I still train, and stay aware whenever I am out in public. Consequently, should someone need help, I want to make sure I am there for them. I take responsibility using this drug as serious as taking a sleeping medication, or alcohol. I ALWAYS take the medication before bed so I am not wandering around under the influence.
Responsible MMJ Patient
I would never carry a firearm while under alcohol or pain-killers’ influence, therefore, I wouldn’t for this drug either. I ask that you look at me today, not as someone who uses Medical Marijuana illegally here in Kansas, but as a medical retired police officer who gave everything for his community. All I ask is for the opportunity to treat my body with a drug that has proven to have the least amount of side effects on me. Additionally, promoting the healthiest version of myself than I’ve ever seen.
More From PTSDWifey
Mr. Espinoza wrote this letter and sent it to congress in Kansas, U.S. He sent this letter in hopes of persuading legislators to approve medical marijuana (MMJ) use legally. MMJ has helped so many people treat their ailments and mental disorders, even cancer. In fact, you can read just about anywhere, current topics surrounding CBD oils, and MMJ products along with their health benefits. CBD oil is trending on a large-scale for the relief it gives to patients with life threatening and terminal cancers. In addition to this, those suffering horrible symptoms from TBI and PTSD often self medicate. Or, they are prescribed a long list of medications similar to what Officer Espinoza listed as his regime.
If you are struggling with substance or alcohol abuse, there is help available to you. The act of self-medicating to relieve your TBI and PTSD symptoms is counter-productive. On the contrary, narcotic drug use and alcohol will exacerbate one’s symptoms. When you combing TBI and PTSD with drug abuse, you are asking for symptoms more severe than you have ever imagined. If you want real relief, and real symptom remission, you need to make some changes.
First, you need to acknowledge that you have a significant issue. Second, you need to find a Therapist that specializes in trauma. And third, you need to utilize the different grounding and coping skills that you learn in therapy. By doing these three things, you will be moving in a positive direction where you WILL start to feel better and more in control. Especially, more control of your life.
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