Submitted by Rick Galbraith
October 2013…. diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This diagnosis has currently changed my life and the lives of many others. Many people have heard of the disease, but not many know much about the disease. I want to change people’s perceptions of Parkinson’s disease. It is such an unpredictable affliction. No two people go through the same symptoms or medication.
If not for Michael J. Fox had not coming out with his diagnosis and starting the foundation; even fewer would be aware of the disease and its implications.
I see it as part of my role as a human being to be a difference maker when it comes to Parkinson’s. I have recently gone through DBS or deep brain stimulation. This took place at Toronto Western Hospital. I had to be there very early in the morning; so, I booked a room at the Alexandra Hotel, which is located very close to Toronto Western Hospital. I met Lisa and Ken, my daughter and son-in-law at the hospital. I met two doctors who put a halo on my head. This was the most painful part of the whole procedure. They used a local anesthetic for freezing as they screwed the halo onto my head. The purpose of the halo was to hold my head firmly in place while the surgeon was putting the electrodes into my brain. After the halo was attached, they wheeled me into the operating room where I underwent a six-hour operation. There were two doctors who continually told me what was happening and checked on me continuously to make sure that I was all right. After the electrodes were placed in my brain, they put me under while they ran the wire from my brain to a small battery, which is in my chest. I must charge it about once per week for about an hour. The stimulator would not be turned on for about six weeks while they waited for the healing of my brain so that was October 12, 2019.
It is now February 2023, and I am feeling very lucky to have the stimulator functioning so well. I travel down to Toronto Western at least three times each year to have the stimulator, checked, and to speak to a doctor about my stimulator and how it is working. I have no tremors although the left side of my body is at times quite painful, and I often feel quite dizzy when I stand too quickly. Overall, I just feel so fortunate to be able to have the stimulator installed and to have it functioning so well.