I didn’t know what to expect when I had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in May of 2005 in Sacramento. I hadn't met any DBS patients and was offered "no guarantees" and that "each patient is different."
I knew that DBS was not a cure for Parkinson’s (PD) but it might alleviate some of its symptoms. I also knew that DBS would not stop the progression of PD.
Before DBS, the quality of my life was circling the drain. After exhausting all the medication options for managing my PD symptoms, I decided that the only possibility for a better life was DBS.
I learned that I might realistically expect the following from DBS:
- A reduction of PD motor symptoms such as tremor
- A reduction of other PD symptoms that respond to levodopa
- A reduction in the amount and frequency of medication doses which results in the reduction of dyskinesia
- Less on-off medication fluctuations
I am happy to report that all of the above did eventually happen as a result of DBS.
Realistic expectations also include being aware of the risks and possible side effects involved with DBS. I was told about the potential risks of infection, stroke, death, worsening of voice and speech and worsening of gait and balance.
I didn’t realize that it might take three to six months (or in my case, much longer) of DBS programming sessions to achieve optimal benefits.
I had some unrealistic expectations about the outcome of surgery after viewing the DBS promotional videos showing spectacular results such as a PD patient jumping out of his wheelchair after DBS and running a marathon.
My husband, Tom, lowered his expectations and said he would be satisfied if I achieved 5% improvement in the management of my PD symptoms. Outwardly, I agreed with him, but I secretly hoped for a 100% improvement, or in other words, a cure.
Whenever I see the Residence Inn commercial on television, I am reminded of the issue of expectations of DBS surgery. During my stay at the Residence Inn in Sacramento between surgeries, I silently desired to have the grace of a dancer and the balance of an acrobat. And when the Residence Inn promised “everything you need to stay BALANCED on long trips,” my expectations soared.
I needed to get real.
Check out a 32 second clip from the Residence Inn commercial at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TV1NyLYoQI&NR=1