One night while doing some research, I came across this video on youtube from Dr Daniel Amen and it peaked my interest in SPECT imaging. When I hit sort of a plateau in my healing, I decided to give it a go to see if it would help me redirect my efforts into a specific plan for what was going on in my brain at that time.
My spect scan experience at Amen Clinics was a 3 day event. DC is quite the hike from Virginia Beach so we stayed at an Airbnb. We drove up to Washington DC the night before my first appt, rather than early that first day because, I wanted the scan results to show what my brain would look like on a typical day and not after 4 hours of visual overstimulation in a car.
On the first day, we had an appt with a historian to go over all of my medical history, which for me is alot, and we also did the concentration SPECT scan. For this test I was in a room on a computer doing a concentration task. In the middle of that task, a nurse came in and inserted a radioactive dye into an IV line that was already placed in my arm. Then after a certain amount of minutes, they took me into the scan room and took images of my brain to show what the blood flow and activity was like in my brain during that task.
Of course, as a natural minded person, I was concerned about this radioactive substance (Technetium 99m) being injected into my body, but after looking over the facts about it which you can read here on the Amen Clinics FAQ page, I decided that in my specific situation, the benefits of the SPECT scan outweighed the possible effects of the substance.
The next day we did a resting scan. So again, they prepared my IV picc line, and then this time, I sat in the same preparation room and tried to relax on a couch. After a certain amount of minutes, the nurse came in and injected the Technetium 99m into the line that was in my arm and left to let me continue to relax. After another certain amount of minutes, she came and escorted me to the imaging room where once again, they secured me to the table and took images of what my brain activity was like when I was at rest and the Technetium 99m was inserted into my bloodstream.
After this scan, and a lunch break. I came back to the clinic for a set of cognitive tests that were done on a computer program.
The third day was an appt with a Neuro-psychiatrist at the clinic who has been trained under Dr Amen to analyze the scan results, my medical history, and cognitive testing scores. She explained very clearly what the scans showed was going on in my brain, and went over some options for a treatment game plan to achieve the next level of healing from my brain injuries. She also ordered some follow up blood work based on what she saw for further diagnosis of some possible deficiencies or imbalances.
It was so helpful to get an inside look at my brain. We could see exactly why I was still having trouble with certain symptoms. It was great to have yet another test and trained medical doctor, that could validate the struggle that I faced every day. It was also another opportunity for my husband to visually see the physiological reason for the issues that he would see on the surface or I would try to explain to him. The best part though, is that the scans gave the doctor some great possible strategies for treatment based on the results. She was able to tell me what prescriptions may or may not work for me if that is the route I chose to go, but she was also more supportive of natural ways that I could heal my brain based on what areas were struggling the most. This included things like a possible supplement regimen, therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen treatment or neurofeedback, and exercises such as ping-pong, yes ping-pong, to help wake up my under active cerebellum.