I wake up this morning filled with mixed emotions:
Excitement and dread
Serenity and anxiety
Fearlessness and fearfulness
Optimism and pessimism
Today is May 4, 2010 and the fifth anniversary of my Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery on May 4, 2005 (you can find out the not-so-gory details at Uneventful Brain Surgery).
I've learned these five lessons during the past five years (Okay, I’m a slow learner):
1. An experienced DBS programmer is just as important as an experienced DBS neurosurgeon. Programming may often take longer than you would like, but with patience and expert programming, good results may occur.
2. Create a rewarding new life even with Parkinson’s and DBS. Life can be meaningful despite the loss of employment and career.
3. Count your family and friends as among your greatest blessings. Express an attitude of gratitude for their ongoing support and assistance.
4. Strive to make your life as normal as possible by getting out of the house, socializing with friends, doing errands and enjoying life.
5. Remember that everyone with Parkinson’s and DBS has their unique symptoms, progression of disease, strengths, challenges and own way of coping. Just because they “look real good” on the outside doesn’t mean they feel the same on the inside.
Despite mixed emotions as I reminisce about the surgery five years ago, I learned lessons along the way. And in answer to that inevitable question of “Would you do it again?” my response is “Yes – absolutely.”