Updated: March 2016
Gunnery Sargeant C.M.
Over the last 13 years I have conducted multiple deployments and have been exposed to everything from Mortar, artillery rocket, breaching and IED explosions. After every tour I would face new challenges with the issues I would have from these exposures. I have dealt with not being able to lie on my back without spinning, headaches, issues focusing on tasks, constant pressure around my forehead, issues with my vision, and constant pain in my neck and joints. I have spent many years trying to treat these issues separately but have never found solutions until I was introduced to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). I would have never thought that attending a dinner and having a simple conversation with someone that identified I was having issues and acted on that assumption would have led me down this path. I’m truly thankful that this individual was engaged and proactive in seeking out service members that would otherwise not come forward and seek help on their own. I have been the individual over the last 13 years that would just put whatever I needed to on the medical forms to stay in the fight and redeploy when called upon. Between 2003 and 2011 I conducted 6 deployments and every time was exposed in one way or another. At first I was unsure of the program and the outcome, but I can tell you now that it was the best thing I could have ever done to improve my quality of life and performance in many areas.
On day 1 I had a stiff neck, light headache, pressure around my forehead and eye’s, blurry vision, and stiffness in my joints. After the 2nd treatment my eyesight was a little clearer, this was the first thing I noticed. I started seeing small changes over the next few treatments. The joint pain and stiffness started to subside but would get worse throughout the day, my ability to focus on tasks and stay productive started to increase and I felt normal for the first time in years. By treatment 11 I was very excited that many of my issues were starting to subside. They were not completely gone and some would come back throughout the day but there was definitely significant improvement from when I started. I saw the most improvement from treatments 10-20, at this point I was becoming more aware of how I was feeling and realized that I was living with some significant issues for a long time. My body had adapted to its environment and the pain levels that it was used to so I did have a much harder time when I had a bad day than I was use to, this really opened my eyes to the effects of the HBOT program and the need to get as many service members as we can involved. I continued to gain results over the 2nd half of the
program and my symptoms tapered off more and more.
I still have medical issues that I will need to deal with that can’t be solved with HBOT but my quality of life is drastically different from what it was before I started the program. Without the constant headache and pain I am more engaged with the people around me and have been able to focus and stay on track with projects that I’m working on. I will continue to inform others like me of the program and hope to see this available to everyone in
the future. I would like to say thank you to everyone that has been a part of my journey. It was truly worth it for me and my
Here is a rundown on the exposures I have had over the last 12 years.
2003 combat deployment to Iraq: Mortar explosions within 15 feet, artillery explosions, and breaching explosions within close proximity throughout the duration of the deployment.
Got rocked a few times but never had any issues.
2004-2005 breaching operations were continuous during this time as we worked up for a deployment to Iraq as the direct action force for the MEU.
2005-2006 deployment to Iraq: multiple breaches every night for about 3 months, IED exposure while conducting an urban hide.
Spent 6 months after this deployment unable to lay on my back without spinning. It subsided after about 6 months and I continued to workup for the next deployment.
2007 breaching operations were continuous during this time as we worked up for a deployment to Iraq.
Started to have problems focusing on multiple task at the same time, I had headaches more often around this time.
2008 combat deployment to Iraq: some small explosions but no significant issues.
2009 combat deployment to Afghanistan: 107 rocket explosion within 25 feet in open terrain.
Started having more issues with focusing on tasks headaches were persistent.
2010 combat deployment to Afghanistan: 107 rocket explosion on multiple occasions within our camp.
Continued to have issues focusing on tasks and the headaches/pressure became numbing.
Tried several physical therapy treatments to relieve the pain in my neck and head but nothing worked.
2011 combat deployment to Afghanistan: 107 rocket explosion within 25 feet of my sleeping quarters.
Stayed on Motrin during the duration of this deployment.
After this deployment I tried everything they would recommend for the symptoms I had. I tried Androgel to help me focus but that didn’t resolve any issues and I actually felt better when I stopped taking it. While at the Pentagon they sent me to a PTSD consult without informing me. When I told them I thought I was there to get help for the pain in my neck and head they asked if I wanted to stay and talk and I said no and left.
Over the last 2 years my eye site has started to blur and I have a hard time reading in low light situations and I can’t read small print anymore. My head constantly feels like I’m under pressure and I have a hard time focusing, I feel like I’m in a fog most of the day, the pain is constant and numbing, I get short with others around me but I have controlled that especially at home.
I have a hard time completing tasks when I have to write because I’m always second guessing my work.
I’m currently working with a chiropractor to help relieve the pain in my neck but its not very effective. They gave me NAPROXEN but its not as effective as Motrin so I don’t take it.
I have also had joint pain and swelling over the duration of this timeline .