Friday, March 17, 2017

0.001% Chance that I don't have Parkinsons

I hate being a medical anomaly! I have often had the opposite effect of what medical treatments are supposed to have. This is nothing new. Even when I was a kid, medications like anti-histamines that made most people sleepy would keep me up all night. Caffeine, on the other hand, would put me right to sleep.

I recently had the battery to my deep brain stimulation implant removed. (Labelled as a 'pacemaker' on the diagram.)I remember being told before I had the surgery to install the DBS that if I ever wanted to, I could have it removed. I sure didn't think that would ever happen. I was very hopeful that it would stabilize my wild "on and off" swings, and slow down the progress of the disease.

Since there is no medical test to definitively diagnose Parkinson's, and there are other conditions that may cause Parkinsonian symptoms, I asked my neurologist what the odds were that I didn't have PD. I don't remember the exact number, but it was a minuscule percentage.

My brain programmer Renee said that she could see a difference when the implant was turned on, but I really couldn't tell. And as I mentioned a couple of blog entries ago, it started to give me tremors.

I had just the battery removed; the wires are all still in place. Having the wires removed is a much more complex surgery, and the only neurosurgeon in my province qualified to do this surgery is the doctor who put mine in, and he has since then retired. Also, this way if I ever want to try  DBS again I only have to have a battery installed.

Well, since then, I have been gradually weaning myself of Levodopa, the major PD drug that I take. I have actually been doing better with the lower dose. I tend to have dystonia (severe muscle cramps and spasms) and bradykinesia (inability to move) when I am low on Ldopa, and I get dyskinesias (involuntary dancing, swaying movements) when I have too much. Dyskinesia is actually a side effect of Ldopa.

So I asked my neurologist last week if it is possible that I don't have Parkinson's after all. I have asked this question a few times over the years, and he has always been emphatic that I do, even though I have been an enigmatic patient. I don't think that I felt flattered when I found out that my name comes up frequently at their movement disorder staff meetings.

I will keep you posted.
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