Visit the New Neurologist…

Today I went to see my Neurologist. I explained about the new medication he prescribed at the previous visit. The one to remove the tremor. I told him about how this one was causing me to have the “sleep-all-day” side-effect. That was WAY too much for me to deal with.

He was suggested a prescription for a different medication to do the same job to help with the tremor.

“Uh, no. I’ve had to cope with this tremor for 30+ years. Have went through PLENTY of the side-effects from each one of those prescriptions. Tremor has been better. Tremor has been worse. I have had to deal with it all.”

Once, a “new” medication was SO terrible that it caused my arm/hand to shake all night long!

So, nothing has changed…… for now.

Mr. Neurologist Today

I saw my original Neurologist today and was told that everything is looking good after the last 6 months.

Now, before having another surgery, I need to do MORE TESTS. All of these tests are done to see if everything is working fine. They are also done to see if there are any more changes since a few years ago…… after the originally completed brain surgery.

Ugh….. ANY Neurological tests are NOT the most enjoyable thing to do…

All of these will be checking the qualifications for the surgery I’ve been talking about recently: “fix the tremor on my right side”.

We will talk more about that as time and tests go on… and on…. and on….

The New Doctor…

Today, I went to see a NEW Neurology Doctor. It’s down the street from the hospital of my brain surgery in a different building: University of Physicians – Neurology.

I was there to explain to the doctor my “whole story” of all these things I’ve been through with my whole surgery. I explained how my right-arm is much more shaky after getting off this latest medication. Well, they have a plan….

Let’s do MORE Brain Surgery!  🙂

I’ll look into it and think about it. No coma-time (unlike my last surgery) and have it be just in & out in a day. Well, I don’t know about that ONE DAY. After surgery on my brain, I’d rather stay in the hospital at least ONE night. Eh? 

So, how does this surgery work?

Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to treat a number of movement disorders, including essential tremor. DBS is a way to inactivate the thalamus, a structure deep in the brain that coordinates and controls muscle activity. The true cause of essential tremor is still not understood, but it is thought that the abnormal brain activity that causes tremor is processed through the thalamus.

How Effective Is Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation provides moderate relief for approximately 90% of patients with essential tremor.

There’s allot more to Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor, but this list is interesting…

Advantages of deep brain stimulation include:

  • It doesn’t destroy brain tissue and won’t limit future treatment.
  • The device can be removed at any time.
  • It is adjustable.
  • It may be more effective in controlling tremors than thalamotomy, or destruction of the thalamus.

Disadvantages of deep brain stimulation include:

  • Increased risk of infection from the presence of a foreign object in the body
  • Repeat surgery every three to five years in order to replace the battery in the device
  • Uncomfortable sensations that may occur during stimulation

MY THOUGHT: “Well, everything has disadvantages…”

Let’s look into it more….

What Happens During Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?

Using CT or MRI scans, surgeons will target areas for placement of the electrodes. Some doctors may use an electrode-recording technique to map and target the specific areas in the brain they will need to reach.

Once the correct location is identified, the permanent electrodes are implanted in the brain. The loose ends are placed underneath the skin of the head and the incision is closed with sutures. The wires are attached to a small impulse generator, about the size of a pacemaker, that is placed under the skin on the upper chest. Two to four weeks later, the IPG is turned on and adjusted. It may take a few weeks until the stimulators and medications are adjusted before a person gets relief from symptoms.

Will I Be Asleep During Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?

You will remain awake but in a type of “twilight” zone during most of deep brain stimulation surgery. This allows the surgical team to interact with you when testing the effects of the stimulation. Small amounts of local anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) are given in sensitive areas. The vast majority of people experience minimal discomfort during the procedure.

MY THOUGHT: “Twilight Zone…. I’ve always loved that show! 🙂 Basically awake during the entire surgery. Pretty much….”

What Should I Expect After Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?

After deep brain stimulation surgery, you may feel tired and sore but will be given medication to keep you comfortable. Also, you may have irritation or soreness around the stitches and pin sites.

As with any surgery, there are some guidelines and limitations that you should follow after DBS. Be sure to discuss these with your doctor and ask questions before surgery. Understanding what you will be experiencing and knowing what to expect afterward can help ease some of the natural anxiety that comes with any medical procedure.

Can I Use Electrical Devices After Deep Brain Stimulation?

While you should be able to use most electronic devices after DBS surgery, you should be aware that:

  • Some devices, such as theft detectors and screening devices, like those found in airports, department stores, and public libraries, may be triggered by your device. It may take extra time to go through airport security. Always carry the identification card given to you. With this, you may request assistance to bypass those devices.
  • You will be able to use home appliances, computers, and cellular phones. They do not usually interfere with your implanted stimulator.
  • You will be provided with a magnet to activate and deactivate your stimulator. This magnet may damage televisions, credit cards, and computer discs. Always keep it at least one foot away from these items.

MY THOUGHT: “Kicks theft detectors? …screening devices? Ugh… Might be a little hard with that. (kinda funny, though…)”

But, still do-able…

Neurologist Visit

When I visited my Neurologist, we had discussions about…

Changing the medications:
My thought, and agreement, is that I’m not interested in having to go through another medication “change”. Where I’m at right now is …. “OKAY”.

Fixing this worsened tremor in my right-arm:
Well, this is not going to be done through him. Too complicated to get it entirely done. So that’s out of the question by using a surgery (or anything like that). My Neurologist told me that it may be done by changing of medication (AGAIN) possibly. Again, I’m not interested in that. He said that I should get with a new Neurologist closer to home and discuss this more with another doctor to help work it all out.

So those were the main things. We’ll meet together again in several months.

Neurologist Visit

Today is that “normal” thing that every “normal” person does every few months. You know what I mean… A visit to the Neurologist. The very special one that helped out in your personal brain surgery. You know what I’m typing about now?

Anyway… Just a normal visit with my Neurologist and I went ahead and told him what I want…

“I WANT TO DECREASE MY MEDICATION”
(since I had this brain surgery… and we’ve lowered others before.. yada-yada…)

So…. It was agreed between myself and my Neurologist that this SLOW process can begin sometime soon. I’ll have to look and see what side-effects I will be “released from”. We’ll find out. I will keep you informed.

None of this starts until sometime AFTER the New Year starts…

Today is a Two-Day on a Tuesday!

Ok… Ok… This is Tuesday and this is FIRST a….

Psych Appointment

Just the usual…. while eating lunch…

Psych: How have you been doing?
Me: I’m doing good…..

You know, the usual…


Then the SECOND thing is…

Neurologist Appointment

Ah… What did we learn there today?
Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen one of my Brain Docs….

Me: I’m doing good…..
Doc: Let’s start lowering the Meds.

At the first appointment, I was ASKED how I was doing.
At the second appointment, I was TOLD what I will be doing.

Ugh, I think I did these appointments backwards today…
Eh, what am I going to do now…?

I think I will give myself a nice “pat on the back” for the hard work.

😉