Saturday, September 15, 2012

DBS Evaluation Appointment Made... Finally

Stanford Hospital finally called me and gave me the dates and times of the 4 appointments I apparently  need to assess whether I'm a good candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery or not.  I have 2 appointments on November 7th, and 2 on November 8th.  The first one is just a consultation; I think this is where I get a chance to ask my questions.  There are lots of little things I want to know about, like:  what are the risks and percentages? How long is the recovery time typically? Do I really have to shave my head?  Can I still go swimming (after healing)?  etc., etc., etc.  The next 3 appointments are to assess my symptoms , I gather.

I hope I "pass" these tests, whatever that means.  I know that people look at me and think I look fine most of the time, and I AM fine most of the time, but in order to stay that way, I am now having to take medication every 2 hours.  The side effects are starting to catch up with me, especially the dyskinesia (unwanted, uncontrollable movements ala Michael J. Fox).  Also, the effort necessary to do ordinary things and still look "normal" is becoming exhausting.  I'm looking forward to being able to cut down on my medications or maybe even do without them entirely for awhile.

DBS is not a cure, I know that.  It doesn't last forever; I can see that for myself.  However, if I can improve my quality of life as dramatically as DBS reportedly can, why not do that while I'm still relatively young and otherwise in good health?  It could give me years more of normal or near normal functioning; I could keep working and get my full retirement (for which I am eligible in about 2 and a half years).  On the other hand, it is BRAIN SURGERY, and those two words together make me a little nervous.

I take heart, though, when I hear and read about others' experience.  Case in point: my friend Sherri at Parkinson's Journey (see my blog list).  Sherri is just one of the toughest PD fighters there is.  Her positive attitude is hard to beat.  Here's a link to her article about the DBS surgery that she went through:
http://parkinsonsjourney.com/my-journey-with-dbs-deep-brain-stimulation/

I wish I didn't have to wait until November to get started on this side trip in my walk with Parkinson's.  Once I get the notion to do something, I want to do it and get it over with, or know a very good reason why I shouldn't!

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.