Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Questions about DBS...



Jefferson Jones asked some specific questions about the DBS process and I asked Beckie to respond at length.
Here is Beckie's response:

Hi Jeff,

We try to remind people all the time that NO surgery is without risk.  I'm pretty sure that the % of surgical complications in DBS is practically nil - compared to say that of open-heart, etc.  Not to say it doesn't happen.  I always say that when you can't live with the complications of your disease, then you willingly jump onto the DBS bandwagon! 

In retrospect, we now realize that there were questions we didn't even know to ask prior to surgery!  And in our experience, you don't always get told all the details .... I think because those in the medical profession are SO familiar with the details, that they accept all that comes with it as normal process - forgetting that all this is NEW to we patients (and family & friends).  That said, no question is too simple --- that's their job ... to provide the answers.  Your neuro team should be able to tell you what to expect as a normal process of healing.  Severe headache, nausea, fever ..... these are NOT good and should you experience these symptoms, contact your DBS hospital/ER/team immediately.

re:wires ---- I guess it stands to reason that relatively fragile wires can only withstand so much stress.  Everything we've read and heard has instructed us to avoid obvious activities like sky-diving, chiropractic adjustments to the neck, crazy rides @ Disneyland and your grandkids throwing themselves around your neck ..... just kidding about that last one.  But seriously, as Ken mentioned in his previous msg to you, the kids slamming against the IPG can be painful.  As far as the wires showing -- Ken is mostly bald and we have YET to have someone notice his DBS bumps & wires unless we point them out.  Since you have hair, I doubt even your family will notice once all your hair grows back. (good question for DR --- do they shave your whole head or just partial?)

I love that you are asking questions.  It helps Ken & I refresh our memories of our journey and hopefully be a help to others if we use our convos as a basis for future blog posts.  Along the way we have had the opportunity to attend several seminars for PD patients and have found them helpful.  If you haven't already, check out local & regional PD support groups online to see if they post upcoming events, etc.  We also belong to the Yahoo DBS group @  http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/DBSsurgery/
you can subscribe directly from that page.

This group has a huge database of information -- the only caveat I generally issue is to use the grocery store method when it comes to postings --- take what you need & leave the rest, remembering that there are people posting from all over ---  some who've had great experiences -- some not.  I would add that for the most part, those who've NOT had good DBS experiences typically had surgery done at a hospital that was convenient to where they lived and advertised that they 'do' DBS, but in reality didn't have the history/experience really necessary. This is SOOOOO important to understand and something I ALWAYS  emphasize when encouraging people toward DBS:  the DBS surgeon/team experience/ability is as important as the programmer's experience/ability ---- if the surgeon doesn't place the probes exactly, then no matter how great your programmer is, you are most likely not going to have a great DBS experience and conversely, no matter how well the probes are placed, if your programmer doesn't truly understand what they are doing, you're not going to be happy with the outcome.  Bottom line: the place you choose for your surgery is VERY important.  The Yahoo group has an article in the database of FAQs --- it covers a lot of these types of things.

Phew!!!! that was long-winded!!  Hope you don't mind .... but there's nothing more important than getting all the info you can when making life decisions.

Be blessed.
Beckie Miller
ps:  if you'd prefer to email Ken/me directly, pls feel free @ ken.group20@gmail.com or beckie.group20@gmail.com

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