Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery; a visual diary.

A "before" picture; I was tired of long hair anyway...

just prior to having the fiducials installed; cutting off yet more hair.  This was perhaps the most traumatic part of the process, not because it was particularly painful, but there's just something weird about having a power screwdriver  used to screw something into your head

This was after I had the fiducials installed;  I returned home triumphant, but looking like I needed a fife or a drum to play.
I am Borg.  You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.

After the operation; what a train wreck!  You can't really see it here, but there's a double row of nasty-looking staples and other metal bits up there.
Felt kind of sick the first 3 days; I think it was the vicodon.  Couldn't eat a thing until I stopped taking it.

 Contrary to what I've heard, the operation was NOT painless, and I did NOT forget what happened, what I said and what others said.  Every conversation remains crystal clear in my memory.  Also, don't ever let anyone tell you that the brain has no nerve endings and so can feel nothing.  I felt something, all right.  I especially remember when the surgeon said he was going to irrigate it with cold water, and I felt the soothing coolness on my poor abused brain.  That's the bad news; now here's the good news:  I FEEL NO PARKINSON"S SYMPTOMS AT ALL RIGHT NOW!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Auf Wiedersehn, Mein Hair"

It's my new Parkinson's weight loss program.  You too can lose 3 lbs. in one sitting!!!

My new persona

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pre-Op Appointments; a busy, busy day.

Yesterday, I had various pre-operation activities to do in that huge hospital in Stanford.  First, we had a  briefing with the surgical staff in the neurosurgery department. After that, we were directed to hospital admissions to talk about financial things, logistics; stuff like that. Then we trudged downstairs to the lab where I had to go get blood and urine tests.  Then, I had to go to radiology for a chest x-ray.  We took a break for lunch, and then it was off to the Imaging Center which was in a completely different building downtown, where I had a brain MRI, which I actually slept through because I was so tired!  However, I was really, really impressed and reassured by the friendliness, competence and and professionalism of the doctors and staff at Stanford.

Through all of this,  Bob was my driver, my sherpa, my guide, my cheering squad and my best friend.  As he marched along uncomplainingly carrying my heavy purse and my heavy coat and all my paperwork, I thought: I am so lucky!  What would I do without him?  I would probably still be walking around the hospital, aimlessly searching for one department or another, for one thing.

I have to stop taking my Requip on Friday this week, then the rest of my Parkinson's meds on Thursday next week.  That, I'm really not looking forward to, but at least it will only be a short time without medication.  Next week, I will also be cutting my hair and getting a lovely buzz cut (like GI Jane), and then I'll be set for the shaving of the head and installation of the fiducials on Thursday, and surgery on Friday.  I only have a few days to wait before I start my new adventure as a "bionic woman"...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wigging Out; Buying a Wig for After DBS Surgery

I have had long hair most of my adult life; sometimes very long.  So, when it became clear that part of the preparation for DBS surgery would involve shaving my head, I began researching wigs.  The idea of going around so "naked" was unthinkable.  I got on Google and looked up general information about types of wigs, pros and cons, etc.. Then, I got on Amazon and searched and searched for a wig that would suit me and fit my mental list of requirements: looks, comfort and ease of care.  Oh yeah; and price.  I'm very cheap when it comes to buying things for myself.
     Eventually, I found a cute little wig that was sort of my natural color, but much shorter than my real hair.  It was only $30 or so, so I was happy and pleased with myself as I clicked the "buy" button.
     When I received the wig, I was, well... disappointed.  It was longer than my real hair is now and quite heavy.  It looked too shiny and fake and the bangs reached down to my chin, which is not the way it looked in the picture. You get what you pay for, I guess.
     So I went to plan "B".  Found a local wig shop on the internet; The House of Wigs in Los Altos, CA, and went there in person to try wigs on.  Much better idea!  It was a small family business run by a mother/daughter team.  The daughter spent tons of time with me, trying on wigs and explaining how to wear them and take care of them.  I found a beautiful wig that is comfortable, easy to care for, natural looking, and best of all, looks good on me.  After I get my hair cut and I can wear it without all that long hair stuffed under it, I will post a picture.  The price tag was about $190 dollars, but it was worth it.  Heck, I've payed more than that at the beauty parlor.

Some things to consider if you want to buy a wig for post DBS:

  • Make sure that the medical team you are working with really does want you to shave your head.  Some don't shave the entire head, and you may want to stick with your real hair, even with a few bald spots.  I asked my surgeon flat out "do I really have to shave my head?" and he said yes.
  • Real hair wigs are more natural looking than synthetic, but they cost more and you have to style them, just like your real hair.  For some people, that is a plus, I know, but I'm too lazy.  You also have to wash them more often
  • Synthetic wigs come pre-styled, and are easier to take care of, but of course the flip side is that you can't style them differently.  Also, you need to remember to keep them away from heat sources (camp fires, barbecues, hot ovens, etc.)
  • Getting a wig is kind of fun!!  You get to change your "persona" a little without making it permanent.  My wig is much shorter than my normal hair, and is several shades lighter.  It's also layered, which is something I've always wanted to try with my hair.  I love it! It's taken away the dread of cutting off my hair and given me something to look forward to.

About Me

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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.