Thursday, August 21, 2008
The meeting with the Neuro-surgeon:
On the 11th I went with Ann to visit the surgeon who is in this long process the final decision maker as to whether or not you are a candidate for DBS. I have been told though if you have been passed all the way through to this point with the surgeon the decision has been pretty much been made. The Neurologist is the main decision maker as he was the one who performs and evaluated the functional testing.
As we entered the surgeons I was for the first time a bit nervous. Not so much about the procedure but just that this was one more person who could potentially put the brakes on this procedure. Now I know that this is not a cure nor is it guaranteed to be a success and there are major risks with it. For me it is like getting that free game on the old Atari racing game where if you hit a certain score you get extra laps; DBS is my extra laps, another opportunity to operate at a more finely tuned performance level not for ever but enough to make it worth the risks.
Ok back to the visit, Dr. Roy Bakay of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is my surgeon. Dr. Bakay is highly respected and well published in the field of Neuro stimulation particularly for Parkinson’s tremor. So I am full y confident I am in good hands and had the utmost confidence in his skill and efficacy record. Researching who is going to perform your surgery is an important part of the decision process and should not be taken lightly. You should ask the hospital for the Dr. profile as well as doing an internet search on his success rates and adverse event rates.
Dr. Bakay came in the room; a very professorial looking gentlemen with a direct approach. The appointment began with the general interview questions and review off the testing results from Dr. Verhagen, the neurologist who will participate in the procedure. After the interview I was examined starting with the typical Parkinson’s testing of finger taps, hands open and closing, heel tapping, and the usual stuff we do regularly with the Movement disorder specialist (MDS). The additional testing involved the doctor examining my skull shape for irregularities looking into my eyes with the light and multiple sensory tests using a tuning fork and a pin. These were to evaluate my sensation in my feet, toes, fingers and my ears. I must have passed because he then began to explain the process of the procedure. Since I am not a physician I will not give my interpretation but rather post another entry with information from a qualified source.
The end result was that I am scheduled for part one of the surgery September 30, 2008 followed by the programming pack in the chest wall on October 8, 2008. So it looks like those will be a couple of difficult weeks. For those of you considering this procedure let just give this advice, it is a very personal decision and you are the only one that is qualified to decide if it is right for you. There are right reasons and wrong reasons to put yourself through this process so make sure you do your homework and search your soul to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. On a final note please keep our friend James (BIGBOY RACING on MySpace) in your thoughts and prayers as he is having his DBS on Monday 8-25 and we wish him the best for a successful procedure and a speedy recovery.