Monday, February 24, 2014

Why DBS?

I am a week away from DBS surgery. I have had a lot of people contact me and ask why, specifically, I am considering such a step now. To most, it seems like an extreme measure; a last resort, but it actually is a quality of life decision.

Even though I was only diagnosed with Parkinson's five years ago, I have had the disease for at least sixteen years. I had excellent results from medication when I first started taking it. The change in my physical condition after just five pills was miraculous and I wish I had before and after video to show you. 

I got by on just three doses a day for almost four years, but then the disease progressed again. With Parkinson's; you develop symptoms then stay at that level for awhile; develop more symptoms and stay at that level for awhile; develop worse symptoms and stay at that level for awhile, etc. I am now in my sixth "get worse" period and my "stay at the same level" times are decreasing. A year ago, I was doing well on three doses; a few months ago, I was doing okay on six doses. Now, I am not doing well at all. (Every person with Parkinson's progresses differently.)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video should explain why I am having DBS. This video is eight minutes long and shows a typical day for me. I repeat the same routine (typical things done daily) over and over again, every hour or so. Rigidity and slowness (bradykinesia) are difficult to capture, but I think I've done a pretty good job. Have a look:

This is also available on YouTube at:
YumaBev before DBS video

If the surgery goes well, I expect to have an increase of six hours of ON time a day and hopefully eliminate some side effects (foot cramps) at the same time, which would definitely improve my quality of life. 

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