The last few days have been very interesting. If I had any lingering doubts that I have PD, those doubts are gone now. Wednesday and Thursday I spent a few hours doing evaluation tests at the Movement Disorders Clinic at Stanford Hospital in preparation for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. Wednesday was fine; even a little fun. I was taking my medications as usual, and I breezed through the cognition tests in record time; in fact, everyone was kind of surprised at how well I did on them. I was then recorded on video doing various physical tasks; walking, tapping one foot, then the other, making a fist and then opening the fingers repeatedly, tapping two fingers together, etc. The usual PD "hokey pokey", though a little more extensive. All of this resulted in a score of 12, which the doctor said showed that I was almost normal (lower numbers are better, though I don't know the scale).
Thursday was a different story. I had been off of Requip (ropinerol) for almost 24 hours, and off of Stalevo, Zelapar, Amantadine and Sinemet for about 14 hours. I was a wreck. I could barely walk because of the cramping in my feet and the shakiness, muscle rigidity and weakness in my legs. I felt awful; the pain from the muscle tension was almost unbearable sometimes. Bob had to hold me up on one side while I used a cane on the other side in order to walk. I was tested and recorded on video again. This time my score was 33. So, I have a difference of 21 between medicated vs. unmedicated me. That is significant enough to justify going ahead with the surgery, according to the neurologist. The idea is that if a patient responds well enough to the medications, then they will also respond well to the surgery.
I'm still recovering from Thursday; it's surprising how this perturbation of the medication schedule caused ripples that I'm still feeling 3 days later. All I can say is, thank God for the smart people who developed these medications! I can only imagine the suffering that Parkinson's patients went through before these meds were available.
I still have one more day of tests, this time with a neuropsychologist. That will be on Monday. After that, it's up to the Movement Disorders review board; they will decide whether I get the green light for the surgery or not. I sure hope they approve me. I'm ready for the surgery right now, especially since the neurologist says she can guarantee me at least a 50% reduction in medication after the procedure. I've never heard a doctor give a promise like that before!