This Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) was always thought by me as just a “second choice” if the first operation doesn’t work out. No biggie. But I’ve also been looking into this VNS as I just did for the brain surgery. now, I know these are usually extreme cases from people, but still….
Surgical complications with vagus nerve stimulation are rare and are similar to the dangers of having other types of surgery. They include:
- Pain where the cut (incision) is made to implant the device
- Incision scarring
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vocal cord paralysis, which is usually temporary, but can be permanent
Side effects after surgery
Some of the side effects and health problems associated with vagus nerve stimulation can include:
- Voice changes
- Throat pain
- Chest pain
- Breathing problems, especially during exercise
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain or nausea
- Tingling or prickling of the skin
For most people, side effects are tolerable. They may lessen over time, but some side effects may be bothersome for as long as you use vagus nerve stimulation. Adjusting the electrical impulses can help minimize these effects. If side effects are intolerable, the device can be shut off temporarily or permanently.
Now, I’ve also seen a VLOG on YouTube from a guy that has extreme epilepsy and has gotten this implant. He talks about how after his implant his implant that he had to quit his job at McDonalds. I can see this. If he has a hard time communicating, it’s impossible to work. Oh, and he says it’s REAL hard to sleep at first. Having a jolt of electricity sent to your brain every few minutes can be very awaking. Again, I have questions and this isn’t a sure thing. Just a “second” thing.
I’m going home on Friday. Yeah! Finally. Spent Thursday in this room by myself reading my Kindle. Just chilling till Friday. This is not the last of the tests. I have several more to do later this year. If everything works out, I’ll be able to get the brain surgery later this year. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always the VNS implant.
I’ve started seeing a new Neurologist recently over at Kansas University Med (KU Med). She seems very nice and seems to know what she’s talking about. I was, as per her suggestion, going to get a VNS implant into my shoulder to help with the seizures that I have had all my life and have gone through every type of Epileptic medication there is. I suggested to her that I get a MRI and EEG first just for us to see the status of my brain. So, on Valentines Day, I got to go back to KU Med to do the lovely two tests for the celebrations of the holiday 🙂 to check everything out. Few weeks later I met with the new doc and she told me that from the looks of my messed up brain (not the exact words she used), doing the VNS implant is off the table.
Now she is talking about full-on brain surgery (Temporal Lobe Resection) to cut away the “bad” parts of my brain. This is going to entail a few more tests first. The first one on March 29th, is similar to what would be called a cognitive test (forget the official name). This is an all day test up at KU Med. A week away from now. I’ll have to let you how all that went afterwards. Then after that, on April 8th I get to start a Seven-Day Video EEG. Seven days stuck in a hospital room. I’m either in the bed, in a chair or visiting the bathroom. No showers. No baths (maybe a sponge-bath done by a pretty college girl ). Visiting the bathroom is the only time I will be without video cameras watching me all the time. Can’t sleep under sheets and have I must have the lights on while I sleep just so that the video camera will watch me constantly. Arg!
Also as part of the Video EEG is the taking me off my meds and a lack of sleep. I’m sure this will cause me to have a few seizures with those things happening (or lack of happening). I’ve read about people doing these EEG’s and the doctors are looking for the outcome from a certain type of seizure. These people were only having grand-mal seizures, and that’s not what they needed. So, they had to do the Video EEG multiple times.
One more test… SPECT Brain Imaging. This is a 2 hour test that entails the injection a radiopharmaceutical (radio-active) one hour before imaging begins. The imaging is done with me laying down and a “camera” revolving around my head taking 3D images of my brain. The injection of the radio-active stuff shows the blood flow around the brain. After seeing this, the doctors can recognize the areas of the brain that are being used the most and which is used the least
I’ve heard and read that these rooms are pretty nice with a cool TV, fridge and other things. Kinda like a hotel room. Hope I can take my cell phone so I can chat with people while I’m there and brag about what they are missing. ha ha… I’ll take pictures later when I get in there to show everyone myself and my cool room. I’ll let everyone know how the test next Friday went.
A couple links:
Video EEG: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_video-EEG_monitoring