My DBS, by Alex Abrahams
Last year was a very big year for me in my fight against Parkinson’s disease. As many know, there is no cure for PD and many have a hard time getting a correct diagnosis at the beginning of their journey. Last year I was fortunate to have a life changing operation for Parkinson’s symptoms called Deep Brain Implant Surgery (DBS).
They kept me awake during surgery. The doctors said “We are going to give you an electrical impulse to your left arm. Tell us when it is most intense.” Then they programed a robot to slide the electrode to the exact location and trajectory. Pacemakers were implanted in my chest and electrodes in my brain. I had to wait several weeks before they turned me on and programed the system. When they “turned me on”, the miracles happened. I instantly felt the tremor in my left hand and the dyskinesia (head movements similar to what Michael J. Fox has) fade away. The electrical impulse compensates for the lack of dopamine producing cells. I felt 20 years younger. I am back at work full time, as many who suffer with PD are not able to do.
I am truly blessed to live in a time and place where such wonderful, quality of life giving technology is available. I thank the surgical team at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC, who has performed over 900 of these operations. I also want to thank the manufacturer, Medtronics, for the insight to develop and bring to market this technology. I thank my daughter Pamela who came to NY for all my appointments and who was my driver and advocate.