Friday, September 21, 2007

A Junkie's Brain & Parkinson's


ATASCADERO, California -- In Monterey County Jail, in the spring of 1981, a 21-year-old drug dealer and junkie named Toby Govea lay in bed shaking violently and uncontrollably. Thanks to a bad batch of homemade heroin, Govea had developed symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, an incurable neurological illness that causes muscle rigidity, tremors and eventually loss of movement.

Today, Govea remains incarcerated -- but free of tremors, thanks to a treatment made possible by research on the prisoner's own brain.

The treatment, called deep brain stimulation, has become the leading surgical treatment for Parkinson's, which afflicts 1.5 million Americans. It has been performed on more than 20,000 patients in the past decade.

In July of this year at the Atascadero State Hospital in California, Govea was lucid, and his muscles were still, as he recalled the events that made him a human guinea pig who helped develop a treatment for his own illness.


As I create this post, I am leaving the errrors that my Parkinson's diease creates through my tremors. This is tod emonstrtae how debilitating the condition can be, espcially to one who writes for a liviingg or as an avocation. Articles I submit fofr publicattion have too be meticuloussly edited before submissioon.

There was a time when my L-Dopa/Carbidopa controlled my symptoms for six hours at a time. Since I took it four times a day, that meant an absence of tremors for 24 hours a day. Now themedicaation works about four hours at a time, leaving me with two hours of significant symptoms -- severe leg a nd arm tremors, difficulty swallowing and ambulating, legs freezing when I walk, especially turing corners and arms freezing when I try to hang clothes in the closet.

Right now I am undegoing EECP for my coronary artery disease. I fear this therapy, which h as signficantly lessened my angina symptoms may be contributingn too my Parkinson's symptoms. I guess I won't know until the therapy is completed next month and I check in with my neurologist back in Indiana. I will keep you posted.

Monday, September 10, 2007

10th EECP Session

This morning I had my tenth EECP session, which means some time this week I should be feeling the positive results of the therapy. Not that I haven't already been feeling better, however, that may be psychological.

When my cardiologist, Dr. Ken LeClerc, examined me before I started EECP, he told me after the 35 consecutive hour-long sessions, he may be able to take me off of some of the medication. I asked if that might mean I could stop taking my beta-blocker and could begin using Viagra or Cialis again. He told me I may not need those drugs to maintain an erection after EECP.

Now as I said above, this feeling may be psychological on my part, but since starting EECP, I have gotten an erection during almost each therapy session. I also am happy to report I have been able to function more than adequately the few times I have engaged in intercourse since beginning EECP.

This therapy, in my opinion, is a logical substitute for coronary artery bypass surgery. It is far less expensive and dangerous as the surgical alternative, not to mention less traumatic to the body. EECP has virtually no contraindications and the side effects are limited to some chafing of the skin, which I have yet to experience.

Anyone who takes the time to read this entire blog from beginning to end will realize I have taken a careful and studied approach to treating my own coronary artery disease and angina. I refused to allow an invasive cardiologist, whom I consider a medical terrorist, to coerce me into getting a quintuple bypass. The medical approach prescribed by Dr. Howard Wayne gave me three years without having to recover from surgery.

Now I have chosen EECP to treat my returned angina symptoms. This therapy, much like Wayne's medical approach, assists the body in creating natural bypasses around clogged arteries. I should enjoy another four to five angina-free years and EECP is a noninvasive treatment that can be performed in a year if necessary. The surgery that the medical terrorists tried to coerce me into in my 56th year, may not need to be done until I am 65 or 69 if lucky.

If you have a greedy cardiologist trying to scare you or your loved ones into bypass surgery, please seek out a second opinion from a noninvasive cardiologist. What do you have to lose?