Today Rich and I met with the Neurosurgeon in charge of the study he and his team are conducting for “Deep Brain Stimulation” to help with my “Treatment Resistant Depression” (in case you missed it, click here to learn more: https://wheredidmommyssmilego.com/2022/11/29/consultation-with-doctor-for-deep-brain-stimulation-clinical-trial/).
He told us that he is the only Surgeon in Canada who does these types of procedures and has been treating patients with Parkinsons and other Neurological disorders for many, many years now.
As I mentioned back in November when I had my first consultation with the Psychiatrist on his team was that “Deep Brain Stimulation” has been around for approximately 70 years. It’s quite an invasive procedure, which includes drilling electrodes into your brain and involves a lot of daily, monthly and yearly maintenance throughout one’s lifetime thereafter, but I also learned that day that there is a much newer, less invasive and no further maintenance type of procedure which is done through an ultrasound (it’s been around since 2003). I felt like that was something I’d be willing to look at further but today as the Surgeon described the procedure in more detail, I wanted to cry, throw up…and then run as fast as I could away from the hospital.
He explained that the procedure has minimal risk involved. All good so far. He said the results have been mixed, helping many to calm their symptoms of Depression and Anxiety down and others who have not felt any relief at all. But then he proceeded to tell me that they would need to shave my entire head in order to get close enough to the surface of the brain. Their main goal in doing so is to interrupt the circuits by burning the cells in the brain closely related to depression and anxiety. The procedure is also irreversible.
I question every decision I make, that is of course if I’m even capable of making the decision in the first place. I beat myself up, always believing whatever decision I’ve made will be the wrong one, it can get real ugly, real fast. But this is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my entire life.
The surgeon asked that I go home and talk it over with my care team and loved ones and that if I would like to proceed to the next steps I would have to meet again with my entire care team before they would consider booking a date; which at this point in time is about 3 months out.
I asked him if he believes that this procedure could help me at all with my other Neurological issues as well. He said he can’t make any promises, just like he can’t make any promises that it will help with my Depression either because it is a completely different part of the brain which they would be working with but he then explained that because the different parts of our brain speak to one another that it certainly can’t hurt.
I asked him for his honest overall thoughts and professional opinion after listening to my history and reading his notes he had from both my Psychiatrist and the Psychiatrist I’d spoken to several months ago on his team which he had on hand. His first thought was that given my history and that I have tried everything else out there, “WHAT IF” this works! His second thought was that before I go down the road of M.A.I.D (which I told him I had begun the process of recently) or other suicidal ideations I live with daily that he hopes that I would please consider this as my last resort first.
To say that my brain is overloaded at the moment is an understatement. I am so filled with gratitude to have such an incredible team of healthcare professionals in my corner who refuse to give up on me but at the same time we all know that there are obviously no guarantees it will even help me at all and given my long history of treatment and medication resistance I think it’s only fair to say that I am terrified out of my mind right now that I will once again be left in that one percent (or less) risk category only to cause further harm to my mental and physical wellbeing. And if I’m to be completely honest here, my vanity is also playing a huge factor in all of this as well.
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