Pure oxygen treatment brings hope for vet with TBI

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

kvue.com

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Anyone who meets Jeff Brennan face-to-face probably can't tell he's struggling with the after-effects of service-related injuries suffered decades ago.
 
But the former Marine sergeant has endured more than a decade of agonizing physical pain, emotional distress and complications from a Traumatic Brain Injury.

"I get what's called 'night terrors,' and I can't sleep," he said. Brennan also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Many of his injuries come from artillery barrages during combat on the border between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He also was injured during a fall from a training tower in the late 1980s and suffered complications from nose surgery.

In the years since, he lost 60 percent of his vision and relied on handfuls of daily medication to function in normal life.

"We were taking pills called nerve agent pretreatment pills and that really caused a lot of this stuff to happen," Jeff said. "What I go though would kill most people."

But Brennan's condition is improving, thanks to a new and cutting-edge treatment, with the results even surprising his doctors.

Brennan is one of the first wounded combat veterans to be selected for Hyperbaric Oxygen Theraphy as part of a national study on Traumatic Brain Injury. For an hour everyday for at least 40 days, Brennan lays in a glass chamber at Island Hospital in Anacortes and breathes 100 percent pure oxygen.

The Bellevue-based Restorix Foundation helping fund research of HBOT. It raised $15,000 to cover treatment costs for Brennan.

Twenty days into the 40-day treatment cycle, Brenanan said he is seeing results that he and his fiance, Michelle, once thought were unimaginable.

"Im already starting to get vision back to where I can actually see," he said. "You'd usually get the same story over and over from me, now I am starting to catch myself."

Since the treatment started, doctors have decreased Brennan's pain medicine significantly.

"We're getting the old Jeff back," said Dr. Enrico Versace. "Oxygen is fuel, it's why you eat, breath and drink. We are giving him an extreme premium fuel."

For Brennan, normal life is snapping back into focus again, brining hope for him and for other veterans who may be suffering similar pain.

"That's why I'm going through with this," he said. "If I can make a change in someone else's life by being the guinea pig for this, I'm all for it."

Restorix Foundation has launched "Operation: Head Home" to raise funds to pay for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments for injured veterans. For more information, visit www.restorixfoundation.org/Grants.

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