Get in Touch
tel:+1 904 330 1964

333 E. Bay St. Suite 105 Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone

+1 (904) 330 1964

Email

jon@jonmroz.com

Follow us

Submit a ticket
Cart items

No products in the cart.

Chapter 8: The Breakthrough

All in all, I was going in circles until one day my mother recommended prednisone. By this point, what could it hurt? I had seen so many doctors by now that I could just make a call and get prescribed to just about anything in minutes. So, that’s what I did. Before you knew it, I had a 20 pack of 10mg prednisone pills ready for experimentation. Knowing that I had severe medication sensitivity, I decided to take ½ of a 10mg pill 3 times daily rather than the prescribed 10mg 3 times daily. I remember the first day clearly, despite my severe brain fog that I had at the time. I took one pill when I got up, and another pill about an hour before my routine bike ride. By the time I started biking, I had energy for the first time in ages. Not only that but my thinking had cleared up, my numbness reduced, and my neuropathy was a fraction of what is usually was. I was floored! I can remember screaming internally, while biking “I’M BACK!!!!” I was plotting my return to work, vacations that I was going to be going on, and how to get started on the construction projects that I had been delayed from me being sick. I was stoked! Unfortunately… my excitement didn’t last long. Prednisone is a steroid that is meant to be taken for short periods of time. So wouldn’t you guess it, as I started to taper off of the drug, my symptoms started to reappear. Although, they had lessened.

Go figure, I had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on medical by this point, and No Doctor, Physician, Neurologist, ENT Doc’s, chiropractors, therapists, acupuncturists, or wellness doctors thought to try prednisone. Way to go Mom!

By this point, I was not seeing any results at Dr. Glass’s office and decided to back off from traction and laser therapy. I felt like I was onto something and needed to explore it. I had to ask myself, if prednisone slightly worked, what was it that it was repairing, or at least working on? After doing some research I discovered that prednisone works by decreasing inflammation via suppression of the migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and reversing increased capillary permeability. It also suppresses the immune system by reducing the activity and the volume of the immune system. OK, I’m getting somewhere, I thought. So… after days of research I came across the article below, and similar ones like it:

By golly, I think I may have figured something out. So, I’m inflamed! And it’s very likely that it is from Long Covid. “How can I permanently fix this?”, I asked myself. It would take me another 4 months to figure that out. In the meantime, I met with one of my psychologists, Dr. Justin Spooner to let him know what I found out with Prednisone. I asked him what he thought about it, but he shrugged it off with no real advice other than to try some of his original suggestions when I first met him. They were to try several different types of SSRI’s (I couldn’t do that prior because of severe sensitivities to serotonin), try dopamine drugs like Abilify, trying ECT (Electro Shock Therapy), where they would give me a seizure to reboot me, or getting some nerve blocks that have medicine, lidocaine and steroids in them. He knew that I had a severe pressure in my head and at one point, and so he recommended an occipital nerve block. Knowing that this was connected to steroids, I lined up an appointment with one of his recommended pain doctors. I also saw one of his recommended doctors for ECT but that was scary as hell and decided to save that as my “Hail Mary”. Additionally, feeling a tiny bit better, I asked Justin to re-prescribe me to Lexapro, oral solution (liquid form). I was scared to death to take it (due to the razor blades), but I thought I might give it another go after getting off prednisone, as my anxiety was just that severe.

In the following days, I tried to slowly get back onto Lexapro, taking 0.1 mg per day for 3 days. Generally, I can make it for 3 days before the severe pain takes over from my serotonin levels being altered. Shockingly, day 3 had come and gone and all was OK. I was still severely dizzy, in a lot of pain, neuropathy, head pressure, and all the usual symptoms, but at least the feeling of being sliced by a thousand razor blades had not started to come on from the Lexapro. So, I turned it up a notch and went to 0.2mg. Another 3 days had passed, and I was good to go. I had a long way to go to reach half of the recommended therapeutic dose of 10mg, which I had been on for the previous 20 years, but I was determined to get there. After about a month of speeding up my doses, I had reached 2.5 mg in the morning and 2.5 mg in the evening, and I did so without the feeling of being cut to pieces. Yay! As suspected, after about 6 weeks, I noticed my anxiety starting to get better, but a new rash was starting to form on my right side under my arm. This was similar to a rash that I had gotten just before getting sick. After doing some research, I found that these rashes are a rare side affect for people who have medication sensitivities to SSRI’s.

At the time, I was going to a place called “The Brain Optimization Institute”. They did a bunch of really wacky things there on me. One of them was to try and treat my Lexapro allergy by having me hold a vile of the substance in one hand, and then placing that vile in a device that works through quantum entanglement to break you from your allergy. Yeah, in my search to get cured, I gave everything a shot. No solution was below me. Funny enough, I told them about my rash, and they treated me with a purple laser for about 15 minutes. Surprisingly, within a couple of days, the rash was gone! Amazing. I have to give it to these people. While I didn’t see many results from their crazy experiments on me, they were fun. And I think it was good for me to be there at the time. Both head doctors, Dr. Mike and Dr. Meg worked directly with me rather than pawning me off on their associates, and I really think they had a positive influence on me in some super dark days. I ended up paying about $1,200 per month to go here for 3 months, and although my symptoms didn’t reduce from any of their experiments, I don’t regret going there. At least there were trying to treat me. We were taking action. I was able to brainstorm with these doctors, and try a bunch of really fun activities. Once, they even strapped a snowboard on me in their gym to exercise and help with my dizziness. Ha! I also did a hyperbaric chamber session and got buckled into a NASA type machine that twisted me around, in an effort to help stabilize me. And just today, weeks after graduating from their program, they both reached out to me through email to check in and see how I was doing. Great people over there!

During my time at the Brain Optimization Institute, I was slowly getting back onto Lexapro. Now that I had made it to my desired dosage of 5mg per day, I wanted to wean off Clonazepam. Fortunately, despite all the terrible press, I was able to get off this drug within about a month with no major side effects. I’m sure that the Lexapro had a lot to do with that. Unfortunately, other than a reduction in anxiety, all my other symptoms remained.

At the pain doctor’s office (that Dr. Justin Spooner referred me to), Dr. Von Tobel advised against the occipital nerve block and suggested a cervical facet injection, which was much more invasive. He explained that this type of shot, injected through the neck and into a cervical facet would likely numb my head and shoulders, potentially relieving me from the head pressure. To be honest, it scared the crap out of me, but I wasn’t opposed to it. I just needed to do some more research. In doing my research over the next few weeks, I came across a company called stella.com. Their primary focus there is treating people with severe PTSD, Sensitivities, Depression and Anxiety through a procedure called a Stellate Ganglion Block. They coined the term “dule sympathetic reset” as they used to injections rather than one. Upon further research, I discovered that Stellate Ganglion blocks have shown significant results in the treatment of Long Covid.

This was a major breakthrough! The stellate ganglion procedure uses a combination of anesthetics and steroids injected into the neck, reaching the bundle of nerves called the ganglion next to the spine, essentially shutting down the sympathetic nervous system for a few hours, rebooting you. I liked this idea much more than the ECT option that induced seizures. Ha! This aligned with my findings about prednisone, but it had the potential to be permanent! I think I am onto something here!

This shot is similar to the cervical facet injection but different in the way that the cervical facet is generally meant to only treat pain, where the stellate ganglion treats pain and is believed to reset the nervous system. Upon finding this out, I immediately setup a call with Stella.com, costing around $500. Stella has locations all throughout the U.S. but none in Jacksonville. Their closest location to me would be in Ft. Lauderdale. I asked several of my doctors what they thought about the procedure. Most thought that it was safe enough to give it a try. Dr. Justin Spooner recommended Jax Spine and pain. So, I lined up an appointment there as well. Stella states that they are different in that they do 2 injections rather than one but after asking several pain surgeons, they said that they can’t find any credible evidence that getting 2 shots is any more effective than 1. With that being said, I preferred getting the procedure done locally. After meeting with Dr. Christopher Roberts, he agreed to do the experimental procedure on me, and so we were off.

My first Stellate Ganglion Block procedure was to happen on Wednesday, February 21st at 6:30 AM. This was to be done on my left side, and if all went well, we would do the right side thereafter on a different date. This surgery does come with some risks (as do all surgeries). One of the main reasons why you can’t do both sides at the same time, is because it can paralyze your lungs, making it difficult, or impossible to breathe. I was extremely nervous as I have had issues in the past with seizures when getting blood drawn, IV’s etc. And with this procedure, they stick a foot long needle into your neck through to your spine. They had some issues with my blood pressure hitting 205/114 but we were able to get it down with a little bit of blood pressure meds. Upon awaking from the operation, I had a little bit of a sore throat, my voice was raspy, my face droopy and left eye bloodshot, which was all normal. I noticed that my feet were a tiny bit less numb than normal, which was nice but otherwise everything else was the same. I was disappointed not to be one of the few that saw immediate results but stayed hopeful. I went into work that night and started to get some energy for the first time in ages, much like I did when taking the prednisone. I also noticed that my balance was starting to correct itself. It wasn’t quite perfect, but it was definitely better. That Sunday, things got a lot worse. I was incredibly emotional, and my dizziness was terrible. I thought that by now, the medicine surely should have taken affect, and therefore my hope was starting to fade.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *