August 6, 2013 | by Darcy Blake | On the fifth day post-surgery, I replaced Percocet with Tylenol. Since the surgery, my tremor had actually worsened —and mentally, I felt kind of rattled and unable to focus. Mainly, I just couldn’t multi-task. I didn’t want to read a whole book where I’d have to retain a plot, or I wouldn’t choose to handle a complicated situation where my brain had to perform sequential association. “Totally normal,” said the Kaiser surgery team in Redwood City. “Give it time, and it will all settle down.” The brain-drain didn’t stop me from cleaning out drawers and getting estimates on home repairs.
On the sixteenth day after surgery, I went out on a shaky limb [pardon the pun] for the sake of the right paint color for the kitchen. I figured that I could walk to the paint store in a half-hour’s time each way. Piece of cake if I hadn’t had brain-surgery two weeks prior. I hadn’t walked at all since the surgery, but I figured I could do it going slowly, carrying just two little pints of paint. About ten minutes into the journey, I realized I was in bad shape.
The worst of it was a vice-like headache. I felt like my stitches would split. I don’t know how I came to my senses, but soon I realized that my sunglasses were pressing into a pressure point behind my ear and that by taking them off, I felt a million times better. With glasses off, the samples were fixed [I ended up not even picking those colors] and I made it home. Needless to say, I will work up to that size of walk before trying it again.
Today, twenty days after surgery was my big day for Dr. Rima Ash to turn on my electrics at Kaiser San Francisco. She brought out the programmer and voila! My shake finally subsided. There are 4 electrodes per side [I am lucky because I only had one side done.] Within those 4 electrodes, they have to experiment by trial and error with different intensities to see which electrode works best for the shake. If they crank it up too much, I will get side effects like dizziness, slurred speech, tingling and numbness, etc. As time goes on, I will increase the electrical as the body gets used to the current. Tomorrow, my stitches come out.
I didn’t see an improvement in my tremor after the DBS until today, when the electrics went on. But now that the current is flowing, I am over the moon with joy. There’s a new world out there, and it is still if I want it to be! Both my house, and my body are nearly repaired. After my brain settles, I look forward to a new life, thanks to DBS, and the surgery team at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City, California.
Here’s a video version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCWcTrKon6s