It’s been awhile, nineteen months in fact, since I last posted here. At that point in March of 2018, I was feeling basically rudderless. My doctors weren’t getting anywhere with treatment, nor were they anywhere close to agreeing on a diagnosis.
Physically, I was smack dab in the middle of my 365-day challenge to be active, as well as Rock Steady Boxing class. Both of which kept me in fairly good shape. Mentally, I was depressed, apathetic, and cynical. I had lost faith in the medical community in general and I doctors specifically. I had decided to say “screw it all” and just deal with whatever came my way.
Fortunately, my lovely wife ignored my decision and kept pushing for answers.
Fast-forward nineteen months, two more Neurologists, six more drug trials, including a painful injection that made me nauseous and knocked me out for an hour (not good at work), a 3D image called a DAT scan that finally confirmed a Parkinson’s diagnosis (why hadn’t someone done this earlier?) and I am now at the culmination of all of the failed attempts and misdiagnosis.
I am going to be a cyborg.
Cyborg [ sahy-bawrg]
a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.
When you get to the end of pharmaceutical remedies, the only thing left is something disturbingly called Deep Brain Stimulation. Through the use of a computer installed under my collar bone, my brain can be “programmed” to send the correct signals to my muscles and ignore the misfires. Theoretically at least. All I have to do is get a couple of holes drilled into my head, some wires inserted into my brain then run down my neck to my brain “pacemaker” and I’m like the Six Million Dollar Man, albeit on a much smaller budget.
The possible benefits are exciting. DBS has been shown to improve symptoms by up to 50% in a few months. My family has been very supportive of the procedure. I’m sure that one son is actually excited that I will be part robot.
But in the back of my mind, I’m somewhat apprehensive. History has shown that I am completely resistant to drug treatments. Nothing that I have tried has shown any improvements in my symptoms. I am not sure if this will be any different. Will I go through all of the testing, the surgery, the recovery, and the programming, literally months of prep, only to have it not work? Is it worth it to even try it?
My answer is, of course, yes. But it comes with a stipulation: Will I be OK with the possibility that I may have to just ride this one out and take everything that my disease dishes out to me?
Luckily, I made that decision already, nineteen months ago.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.