This week, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund had Staff Sergeant Spencer Milo join us in our first ever IFHF Hero Chat! During the chat, several people tweeted in their questions to Spencer using the hashtag #IFHFHeroChat. Spencer is a medically retired US Infantry Staff Sergeant with a purple heart. He has TBI and PTS and was treated at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in Bethesda, MD. He is also married with a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, along with 3 dogs – one of which is his service dog, Nemo!
If you missed the chat, here’s a transcript of the questions sent to Spencer and along with his answers!
Twitter User: What is the hardest part of your day-to-day life now?
Milo: That’s a tough one. Day to day I would say migraines, light sensitivity, and maintaining composure over little things
Twitter User: And lack of sleep?
Milo: You know that is such a huge issue I sometimes forget to mention it. I rarely sleep more than 3 hours a night
Twitter User: What kind of therapy did you use for your treatment?
Milo: I had the basic therapies, but the non traditional ones like art, acupuncture and service dogs were the best
Twitter User: Did you ever think about leaving treatment? If so, why stay?
Milo: I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it. My family and their need for the real me again kept me going back
Twitter User: How did you get connected with your service dog? What makes that kind of treatment special?
Milo: Warrior Canine Connection is at NICoE and is a great treatment option offered. The dogs let me put my guard down, and they can sense things far before I can. Research Oxytocin/Dogs
Twitter User: What can average citizens like me do to help spread awareness for these treatments?
Milo: Do your research, educate yourself, and educate your network as is needed. Word of mouth is best. Also, there is no such thing as an average citizen, everyone matters. Check out WCC and NICoE online
Twitter User: When were you able to feel like you were back to the real you?
Milo: To be honest, I am still not the old me. I have glimmers and they are coming more often. It is hard work. Part of healing is realizing that it is a long process and being willing to recover
Twitter User: Do you have any symptoms of vertigo as a result of your TBI? If so, have you found any solution?
Milo: Vertigo is a huge issue for myself and most with a TBI. Learning the triggers and how to adjust to those triggers has helped, also realizing that I will have good and bad days helps. Lastly swallowing my pride and stopping/sitting down if need be is very important but can be hard to do
Twitter User: Are simple tasks such as driving or traveling becoming easier now that you’ve undergone treatment?
Milo: Yes. Overall, simple tasks have become easier. I have also learned to stop rather than push it at times. Truth be told, I still have a hard time with stairs and some other tasks #longprocess
Twitter User: Thank you for being such a vocal supporter of #TBI treatment. How did you decide to become an advocate?
Milo: It is my honor to be an advocate. @NICoEPage saved my life and I know I’m not alone. Everyday 22 vets take their life, and if by sharing my struggles and successes help lower that by even one I am in
Twitter User: How do your other dogs interact with your service dog?
Milo: Well I have 2 other pups at home. Those and all the others seem to sniff each other the same
Twitter User: Have you traveled abroad and talked to active servicemen after receiving treatment? If so, how was that?
Milo: I have not yet, but my hope is to pass this message to everyone in any venue possible. I’d love to though
Twitter User: My man @SpencerMilo helped me transition after hockey. “Same team, different mission”. Check out his chat today
Milo: My friend is right. TBI affects us all, and even includes athletes. Same team, different mission
Twitter User: You once told me, “same team, different mission”, and gave me a life changing gift. Proud to call you my friend bro
Milo: I meant every bit of it. You are a prime example of not letting the injury own you. Life gets better
Twitter User: Are there more centers like @NICoEPage that offer help to active military?
Milo: Yes. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has built three satellite “spirit centers,” and are building more. Fort Campbell, Camp Lejeune, and Fort Belvoir are already up and running. [Fort] Bragg and [Fort] Hood are next
Twitter User: How important was the incorporation of family into your treatment?
Milo: I am not a doctor, so having real doctors explain my issues to my family helped beyond what words can express. Having my family there was the most powerful portion. Without them, I wouldn’t be alive to chat
Twitter User: What exactly happened so that you required treatment?
Milo: My second and main TBI came from being too close to a child suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Getting tossed through the air and catching shrapnel with your face is not recommended
Twitter User: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us today!
Thanks for the great questions.
Twitter User: Thank you Spencer for your service and thank you Intrepid for all you do for our troops!
It was my honor to serve this country, thank you
Spencer was able to provide some great insight into the lives of our service members. The treatment center, NICoE, that Spencer was treated at is located in Bethesda, MD. However, our mission is to bring satellite centers of NICoE to many more service members. With 5 centers already (3 fully operating, and 2 under construction), we are getting closer to our goal, although there is much more to come. A donation to IFHF will provide treatment to more service members like Spencer all across the nation.
Posted on May 28 2015 in Blog