Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PTSD Article in the NY Times really hits home for this Vet

I think everyone suffering from a medical condition that doesn't have very visible and recognizable symptoms would look for some form of validation their condition is real. The victim or injured knows something is wrong, but until there is a diagnosis, there is practically nothing to explain the feelings. I knew I was suffering when I came home from Iraq in November 2005 but I didn't know it was PTSD or even a medical condition. Sure I've had my ups and downs in life but everyone takes their licks and tries to pull it all back together again.
I knew something was wrong while I was in Iraq when I started getting headaches and tension migraines. Once I got home I thought things would get better, but they got worse. My family relationships were strained and I knew I had to seek help. I walked into the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and was immediately assigned a primary care physician. I think I did the right thing. I know many of our 'Walking Wounded' find other mechanisms to cope with PTSD symptoms. All too often they turn to drugs, alcohol or other outlets to dull the pain, confusion, frustration, and even the feeling of self-worthlessness.
I've wanted validation throughout my healing process and I've received it for the most part with excellent care and follow through by my care providers. Even with the additional diagnosis of a mild-to-moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in 2009, I was still seeking to understand my condition. That is why I collaborate using social networks like this blog and Linked-in to keep on top of PTSD and related news. My PTSD group on Linked-in forwarded me this link to a story published today in the NY Times. I highly recommend service men, women and their families read this article. If you notice any similarities between what you have read and what is going on in your life or the life of your Veteran family member, please seek professional medical care. If you don't trust the VA, seek care through a private care provider.
Here is the link to the article. Please contact me for more information about my research and opportunities to collaborate on these topics.
November 22nd NY Times PTSD Article
Patient Voices

Behind the Facade, Post-Traumatic Stress by: Karen Barrow

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Theater of War and the annual meeting of the Maine Humanities Council

Friday I had the honor and opportunity to participate on a discussion panel after a performance of Theater of War in Washington, D.C. This discussion and event more than moved me to tears. It put me in touch with the Heart of the American Solider I still have within me. I am whole, I am complete, I am proud to be a Combat Veteran, and I highly recommend everyone: Citizen and Soldier (Sailor, Airman, or Marine) to find a way to see one of these performances. It was both healing and engaging and better than any medicine or therapy the VA has put me through. God Bless our VA clinicians that were present and those caregivers who attended this Annual meeting of the Maine Humanities Council. I won't forget it. Thank you Dr. Gala True and Colonel Robert Patrick for the invite!

Click here to Watch the Theater of War trailer

Click here to read the agenda from the annual meeting of the Main Humanities Council: 2010 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC

God Bless everyone who made this event special for me and as always, God Bless our Service Men and Women wherever they are in the world today!

Sam Console

1st Lieutenant, Combat Engineers (DAV)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Read the Service and Sacrifice manuscript Foreword by MAJOR GENERAL WESLEY E. CRAIG JR. (Retired)

MG Craig was my Division Commander during the time the Keystone Task Force Dragoon was in Iraq. He is also an associate of mine and was quite courteous to author such a well written and considerate Foreword to the manuscript "Service and Sacrifice" which should be published some time in March 2011. Thank you General Craig!

This is a gripping story of men in combat – combat against rarely seen terrorists who do not abide by the Geneva Convention, who kill military, civilians and children indiscriminately. This story is written by First Lieutenant Sam Console, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers. He and his men were mobilized in 2004 by the 28th Infantry Division and assigned as part of Task Force Dragoon; a battalion sized task force of close to 800 troops made up of Infantry, Armor and Engineers. TF Dragoon was further assigned to reinforce the 116th Brigade Combat Team of the Idaho National Guard in their deployment to northern Iraq 2004/2005. This intrepid and brave group of combat engineers performed route clearance work for a solid year in Bayji, Iraq. They discovered, defused or destroyed hundreds of IEDs, saving countless lives of the US Armed Forces, Iraqi military and civilians. They performed some of the most dangerous work in Iraq at that time. Their Battalion Commander, LTC Phil Logan, told me personally that the Charlie Company Sappers (combat engineers) were relentless, indispensable, and some of the bravest soldiers in the entire task force. He wished he had twice as many!

1LT Console weaves his own personal story into the tales of combat action. He describes the heavy burdens of responsibility felt by the front line supervisors of troops conducting daily combat operations. He graphically explains the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on those around him and himself as the men of Charlie Company deal with the death of comrades and allies alike. His stories of flashbacks, second guessing of decisions made in combat, the feelings of guilt about “why was he killed and not me?” will be very familiar to all combat veterans. The help given by the American Legion and the Veterans Administration Hospital are reassuring to those who still need assistance but have not asked for it.

Finally, this is a story of the personal triumph of the men that made up C Company, 103rd Engineers. They trained and worked together in very trying and dangerous circumstances. They formed a close brotherhood that saw them through hundreds of IED hunting missions. This story will explain the great inner strength among the men of this company that developed in the crucible of combat. They tackled all challenges head on, following the Engineers motto, Essayons…”Let us try!”

Our country is blessed with the service and dedication of the soldiers who are written about in this book.

Also, please feel free to take a look at the photos I took on Veterans Day 2010 in Washington, D.C. at the Facebook Public Site below.

God Bless America and as always, Our Troops no matter where they are in the world.
Sam Console
1LT, Combat Engineers (DAV)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Next Steps

Greetings! I've returned safely from Japan and a much needed rest-bit. While away I had plenty of time to organize, update and expand the manuscript text. I've linked in and captioned the best digital photos from the Task Force Dragoon deployment. I have a complete print in-hand and am prepared to drop it off with my editor. She will need a week or two to mark up the work and get it back to me. Once these key professional editorial comments are incorporated, the manuscript will be sent to the publisher.

Xlibris has promised a 90-day turn around from manuscript receipt to publishing. I'm not sure if I'll be able to accept advance orders, but will be happy to announce this answer in the mid-November update. Please remember this work is being published to educate Veterans, their families, and the general public regarding key deployment and reintegration issues. It is in the greatest sense I can make it, a not-for-profit endeavor. However, I am not a chartered charitable organization. Therefore, the contributors to the work and I will be selecting a few worthy Philadelphia region certified 501 (c) 3 organizations to donate the lions share of the profits to. So, keep that in mind.

On October 25th, the first day back to work for my wife and I after Japan, our home was burglarized. The thieves took nearly everything of value including my primary laptop computer. Thankfully, I had saved a copy of the manuscript and supporting files to a back up machine. This blessing considered, I haven't been able to focus extensively on the work in the last week plus. Wish me the best pulling the final tasks together so I can share a publishing date with you all very soon! God Bless and as always, my prayers are with all of our military service members wherever they are in the world tonight.