Since his third deployment to Iraq, Marine Corps Veteran Dameion Ganesh suffered from the blast of an improvised explosive device, or IED.
“I was a gunman and we got hit,” said Ganesh. “It put me out. I didn’t see it coming, it just happened.”
After that hit, Ganesh started getting headaches and didn’t think much of them. He took over-the-counter pain medication and went on with his deployment mission, but his headaches continued and started to intensify.
“It was ridiculous, my head shouldn’t be feeling like this,” said Ganesh. “I was stubborn and didn’t go to sick call.”
The IED that hit Ganesh led to a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and the subsequent migraine headaches. After separating from the Marines, the migraines started to affect Ganesh’s day to day life, and he needed relief.
“I like to think of myself as an active person, but when I get a migraine it puts me out. It disrupts everything,” said Ganesh. “I started going to the VA and I talked to my doctor about my migraines. I realized things were a lot more serious than I thought.”
Ganesh received a TBI screening and referral to the VA North Texas Polytrauma/TBI team. They developed and put into action treatment plan for him. The Polytrauma/TBI team at the Dallas VA Medical Center is an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians, social workers, neuropsychologist, nurse case manager, blind rehabilitation specialist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, recreational therapist and prosthetist.
“Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan are screened for TBI when they are seen at the VA,” said Danh Le, Physician Assistant in the Polytrauma/TBI suite. “We are Level 2 Polytrauma site and once the Veteran comes to us, we start them with their individual treatment.”
Some common symptoms of TBI are headaches, sleeping problems, sensitivity to light, slowed thinking, anxiety, depression and mood swings.
“One of the goals of Polytrauma/TBI is reintegration back into society – Get Veterans back out there, working, going back to school and family life,” said Le.
Ganesh is among the 383,947 diagnosed cases of service members with a TBI from 2000 to the first quarter of 2018.
“The quality of care I’ve received here has been amazing,” said Ganesh. “The VA has been a blessing for me and my family. People hear the negative stories about the VA, and they form a bias opinion and they miss out on a lot of services available to them.”
Jennifer Roy is a public affairs specialist with VA North Texas Heath Care System.