Tag Archives: Neurosurgeon

I Need A Battery Change…NOW?

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I’ve been rolling along – sans my walker – engaging in a post-DBS flex of my muscles as I pursue a Masters in Health Care Administration. My DBS apparatus has been humming right along with me: electrodes nestled all snug in my brain, wires in place, chest batteries juiced up, remote control safely tucked away from fiddling fingers. Regular “tune ups” have ensured my DBS settings are not too hot, not too cold…but just right.

Flash forward to present day NYC, the COVID 19 panic is running rampage through our nation, social distancing the new normal. Amidst this whirlwind overwhelming the health care system, I need a battery change…NOW? Even my neurosurgeon is “social distancing.” How does he insert two new batteries in my chest via the phone?

My long-time nemesis, “Useless Why,” beckons. Why me? Why Dystonia? Why now? “Useless Why” invites me on a dead-end journey of unanswerable questions about why this is happening to me…now. But then again, doesn’t that same temptation lure us all as we collectively face COVID-19, an unprecedented and daunting challenge. Useful questions about how to get ourselves out of our untenable situations are beneficial – and uplifting. Useless questioning – why me, why now – that threatens to lead us down a path of victimization serves no higher purpose.

Whenever life threatens to spiral out of control, it’s so easy to fall into the “Useless Why” black hole. Now more than ever, we must give a positive attitude a good faith try so we don’t get zapped by “Useless Why.” Blushing brides postponing their big day, graduating seniors who won’t be marching in May. Socialites trapped in their apartments alone, star-crossed lovers rendezvousing by phone. Dystonia patients in need of Botox injections biding their time, wondering how long it’ll be before they start to feel fine. As we struggle with panic, let those sleeping dogs lie. Let’s not become paralyzed by the specter of “Useless Why.”

My Starring Role During Neurosurgery: The Woman In The Iron Mask!

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Hollywood’s leading ladies have nothing on me and my starring role in a “surgical trilogy” featuring a brilliant neurosurgeon, his drill, cutting-edge guidance technology, and two electrodes taking a slip into my brain for an ongoing adventure of electrical proportion. Best supporting actor goes to the strong-armed “villain” in this medi-drama, the metal vise that fiercely immobilized me every step of the way. The hero, my Mount Sinai neurosurgeon, cool as a cucumber, assumed command over his troops in the OR. His team took no prisoners, bolting me to the operating table to set the stage for the drilling…but with my neurosurgeon controlling the scene, this dystonia damsel was hardly “in distress!” As for the “awake” part, our tete a tete during surgery was largely surreal as my “leading man” filled my field of vision during our big dramatic moment and I lacked a bird’s-eye view of the surgical scene. I’ve absolutely no recollection of the drilling.

Having considered – and rejected – DBS oh so long ago, I needed a pinch to jolt me into reality as we traipsed about the hospital – vise securely in place – on our way to a pre-op CT-scan. You’ll find my verdict – since overturned – on this site in the article “Promises, Promises.”

With DBS, the waiting is the hard part. Until that all-important first procedure set a bar on my expectations, my overactive imagination embarked on a joy ride over the prospect of two “awake” brain surgeries in the span of one month. For those Dystonia warriors considering DBS, rest assured that the “idea” of these procedures is far more daunting than their reality – especially that fearsome metal vise. After the numbing injections, it’s smooth sailing ahead. If you can handle life with dystonia, you’ve got DBS!

Once the surgeries are completed, this surgical thriller morphs into a tale of suspense. Stay tuned for my BIG MOVIE ENDING, dramatically revealed in 3 to 6 months…

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My amazing Mount Sinai neurosurgeon is second to none!

 

Making Lemons Into Lemonade!

I’ve been a blond, brunette and redhead. Now I sport a skinhead. At the altar of DBS, the sacrificial lamb is my hair. So how to make the best of my untenable situation when there’s no use crying over spilled milk? My go-to guy is my “secret weapon:” the handy PhD Dystonia forced me to earn in “Making Lemons Into Lemonade!”

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade never disappoints. I laud the virtues to be found in identifying positive outcomes for our negative situations without unduly minimizing our struggles. My friends may reassure me that it’s ONLY my hair – which will certainly grow back – but my solace hardly lies in downplaying the significance of our locks. After all, I’m a female with a telling history of life-defining dos. Rather, I find my comfort recognizing the importance of our hair by making a donation. With a few trips to Google, I’d surveyed the landscape and located a nonprofit, Children With Hair Loss, more than happy to claim my mane, chemical highlights and all.

For those about to part with their hair or seeking to lighten their load, check out the following organizations spreading sunshine with their good works:

Children With Hair Loss
Locks of Love
Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Surgeries Anyone?

Here’s an attractive offer:  Let’s shave off your hair, immobilize your head in a vise, drill a hole in your skull, insert an electrode into the right side of your brain, and wake you up for some fun in the sun before closing that hole. Then, invite you back to do it all again, left side this time – before implanting two battery-powered neurostimulators into your chest and snaking wires under your skin that enable us to activate those electrodes with electrical currents.

No, it’s not some twisted version of electric shock therapy but Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) – perhaps not shocking your socks off but, hopefully, improving your neurological movement disorder, which is why you place that bet. Why not embark on a wild ride to slay the never-ending, hair-raising roller coaster commandeering life with dystonia?

Of course, your vanity interjects itself. After all, they’re shaving your head twice, replacing your lush – or not so lush – locks with a barren plain. As for the “awake” part, fancy chatting with your surgeon while he’s navigating an intruder into your brain. Then again, you find yourself trudging your way through your 30th college reunion, holding on to your walker for dear life as a once-familiar campus morphs into a forbidding obstacle course. Watch the impossible become plausible when mastering each step presents a triumph of will. Those looming procedures take on a whole new light, vanity and apprehension fading into luxuries you can ill afford.

All roads lead to Rome. Chin up, three surgeries, here I come!