The 365 days that I have lived since last June 3, have gone by even more quickly than normal. Last June 3, at 8:30 a.m. I was scheduled to have Deep Brain Stimulation surgery at the University of Cincinnati, through the Mayfield Clinic with Dr. George Mandybur as my surgeon. I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. anticipating the 8:30 surgery. For various reasons, such as Dr. Mandybur was in a surgery already and was delayed, the first CT-scan was improperly done and insufficient for the surgery (this is a vital part of the surgery because the CT-scan is used to map the brain as the doctor performs the surgery), and who knows what other reasons, but the day dragged on and on and on. I don't think I actually went in to surgery until around 3:30 p.m. I know that in my anticipation of the surgery, the one thing I really wasn't looking forward to was the screwing on (literally) of the "halo". The halo is what keeps the head still during the surgery by being screwed down to the surgical bed. Here I am in the halo:
One of my not so admirable personality traits is that I am impatient, and it certainly showed itself in the days subsequent to the surgery. I wanted immediate results; my doctor and his staff kept telling me "four to six months, Kim" "give it four to six months".
The first four months were very difficult. I am told that I am particularly sensitive to the stimulator, and my changes were very minute, but I was changing the setting every two weeks. I'd see moments of promise, and then I'd be a diskenetic mess. On my son's birthday at the end of September, my family and I all went our for dinner with some friends, and I had to have my best girlfriend cut my steak for me. It was very humbling, and yet, when I went to the doctor in October, I scored a "4" on my neurological exams, and was told that the closer to "0" you get, the more normal you are. I tested a 26 in July, a 13 in August and then the 4 in October. I scored a 4 in December as well.
Right around December, I really began noticing a huge difference in my dystonia and my diskenesia. It was remarkably reduced. I no longer sat around waiting for my meds to "kick in". Prior to my surgery, I was taking 21-24 tablets of Carbadopa/Levadopa 100 (Sinemet). Today, I take about six tablets per day.
I am remarkably better. I am playing golf again. I am traveling again (by myself). I am not afraid to go somewhere and think what if I can't get back home. It is a miracle that I give God the credit for. I would never have done it without Him. I asked Him to close the door for me if I were not to have the surgery. I sailed through all the tests. I never had anything that would cause me to regret having the surgery, and I pray that God will continue to protect my brain and allow me not to have to have to experience the surgery or any of its counterparts again.
I still have Parkinsons's Disease, and I know that my condition will continue to progress. There is no cure at this time. How and when it will make itself known in my life is only known to God. I know that He is with me in everything that life throws at me. I praise Him for this reprieve.