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Everything posted by Kaydee

  1. Kaydee

    DBS Programming Sessions Per year

    6jb49 - which system do you have? I have the St. Jude-Abbott which is in mAmps and not volts. Relationship between mAmps and Volts is: I(A) = V() /R(Ω) R = impedence = 1237 for me initially with first program. I know it increased after the programmer switched it to 1/3 of the directional lead it went up to a much higher impedence but I don't know the exact number. It is not visible on my controller. It was above max though. She didn't seem worried though. 1.40 mA ~ 1.70 V (with 1237 impedence) program 1 (no directional lead) So my estimate for 1.4 mA w 2500 impedence is 3.5 V. ( program 2 w directional lead) So can't compare the two without knowing impedence and using directional leads can increase it. Since stim is going through smaller area. The last time I went in for proramming (really a check up) the programmer lowered my lower limit without me asking. I haven't needed it though. I have a pretty big range to play with. .5 to 2.5 on the program I use. Brain stimulation is a whole other feeling. How long have you had your DBS? Sounds like your DBS is working pretty well. I am looking at my current situation as my second chance at life. Gotta enjoy this time I have now! Trying new stuff, taking trips with my kids. I still get tired but I can make the most of this new DBS me.
  2. Kaydee


    I have had increasing anxiety as my disease progressed. I am sorry you are feeling this too, but you are not alone. It started with adreniline for me. Watching certain live sports would make me feel horrible. Then movies- the noise was too much and it progressed to more agitation and restlessness. I couldn't sit still for more than 30 minutes. And my thoughts became obsessive. I would get stuck on something. I couldn't shut it off. Was bad for my relationships with my family. This worsening progression happened over years. At first I took klonapin for rare sporting events for my kids I didn't want to miss. It helped a lot. I was pretty loopy on klonapin though and couldn't drive when taking. I probably waited too long to take another drug. When I was going through the evaluation process for DBS I finally decided to start low dose lexapro. It did help. Wish I had started earlier but I was so afraid of meds at that point with some of the horrible side effects I had experienced (mirapex-icd, amantadine-suicidal thoughts) After DBS I no longer needed Sinemet, and also no longer need lexapro. For now. I suspect the restlessness/agitation/obsessive thoughts were side effects of sinemet for me. But no way to be certain, it could have been PD and DBS is helping. I have to say severe anxiety made my life a living hell. Not being able to sit still and ever relax is torture. Oh yeah - I have been seeing the same therapist for almost 6 years. She has seen me through everything (mirapex hell, all the different drugs etc). You can try to manage anxiety through exercise, meditation, proper diet, but for me on sinemet I needed the anxiety med. It really helped. I have found depression much easier to manage with nutrition and exercise than anxiety. I hope you find some peace soon. I wouldn't wish severe anxiety on anyone.
  3. Kaydee

    DBS Programming Sessions Per year

    jb49 - I didn't even know you could get dyskinesias from stimulation before my surgery. My surgeon said it is a good sign they found the right spot. After my first programming (off meds) 2 weeks after surgery, I took my meds and went home. Dyskinesias from combination of drugs and stim were making my flappy arm (my non-technical term for my dyskinesias) go out of control. At the time I followed my programmers advice and slowly lowered the stim. I had to cut in 1/2 to get the SIDS to stop. From 1.7 to .85. Then it took me a month to gradually stop sinemet and increase the stim. Lined out at about 1.2-1.3 mAmps. Loads of fun going through drug withdrawals too! Can you say sugar/carb cravings? That was not fun but not the first PD drug I had withdrawals from. Being able to describe the symptoms vs side effects is very tricky. Video can help too. My dominant visible symptom is left arm tremor. My dyskinesias happen in same arm but movement is very different. Also left foot drag and anxiety. DBS helps a lot with anxiety for me. Again, I did not know it could improve anxiety before my surgery. My second programming I specifically asked for the setting my programmer saved for us to try at a future session. I felt calmer kinda felt like moving through water. Relacing but like the air around me had more resistance. So when my anxiety was coming back, figured I would give it a try before drugs. It worked. Still I struggle trying to use stim and exercise to find a balance for now. For me it is a fine line between tremor/dyskinesias. Amantadine I cannot tolerate so not an option for me. So I cannot set and leave my DBS at one setting. Fatigue, exercise, and just my daily cycle affect how much stim I need. Learning curve for me. At least one good thing about being off all meds is I am more aware of how my activities affect my symptoms. I think it would be really interesting to study those with DBS and PD who are off meds. I struggle with proper vocabulary for symptoms as well. Like inner tremors. I feel them before they are visible. Lately I started a new physical activity. Canoeing in a six person canoe. Before we start, I turn my stim down from about 1.35 to 1.15. The day I forgot my SIDS got pretty bad. Hard to paddle correctly when your arm has a mind of its own. Noticed a new leg tremor about 1/2 way through our 1.5 hour workout. This is in my leg where I hadn't noticed tremor much beforr- but more of a fatigue tremor - pushed past my comfort zone. But it doesn't interfere with my ability to paddle. As soon as we stop I have to switch back to 1.4 or so. I am hoping as I build up stamina this will reduce. Also being self aware during programming. Having a good programmer is crucial. Mine is a nurse practitioner. She is a good listener and has excellent emotional intelligence. DBS is a whole new world. We are the rare ones. A lot of people even in the medical field have never even heard of it. Trying to make the most of DBS and my life now that I have this second chance. So grateful for this treatment.
  4. Kaydee

    DBS Programming Sessions Per year

    Every 6 months or as needed. 5 times total since surgery. Only 2 different settings needed since surgery. One programming I just couldn't turn it down low enough to stop SID's (stimulation induced dyskinesias). So only took about 5 minutes to reduce my lower limit on my amps. Last appointment no changes needed. My next appointment will be my 1 year follow up where they videotape again on/off meds. Standard practice. Since I am off all meds, will just turn the DBS off.
  5. I had Parkinson's genetic testing done through my health insurance. Also had 23&me testing. 23&me is not full testing. I carry a rare GBA mutation that would not be tested for on 23&me. 23&me only tests for a few mutations on a few genes. Nor does 23&me testing meet federal standards for genetic counseling. I was tested on 75 different PD genes - complete genetic testing - not partial. Just on the GBA gene alone there are about 300 mutations. For comparison, 23&me only tests for a couple of the most common GBA mutations. So please do not assume that you do not have any mutations because the 23&me data or Promothese doesn't indicate them. Only tells you may not have the most common mutations. If you have young onset PD your health insurance may pay for full genetic testing and genetic counseling. Mine did. Part of my formal report was to check back in 5 year s or so, as 75 known PD genes now, but in 5 years there may be more.
  6. Kaydee

    Mucus built up in throat after dbs?

    I was given a tool to help make sure you get all the air out of your lungs from the hospital. Supposed to use it every hour while awake for the first few days. If I feel any buildup I use it early in the morning. The way the tool works is you exhale completely to empty out the air in your lungs, then breathe in slowly as much as you can. I was told the purpose was to get the bacteria out of your lungs to prevent pneumonia. I had surgery a week ago. If I do this in the morning it seems to get better.
  7. Kaydee

    Newest DBS system st Jude's

    I have the st. Jude system. Had surgery on October 12th, going in for programming on October 27th.
  8. Kaydee

    Sinemet making me feel sick?

    I also started feeling sick after taking the regular sinemet, and it didn't start right away it started about a year after I took the meds. It made me feel sick like I had a flu. I'm now on the extended release release and I don't have the same problem with this formulation.
  9. Kaydee

    homocysteine problems in PD

    My homocysteine came back normal. 5 umol/L. Quick test.
  10. Kaydee

    homocysteine problems in PD

    Thank you Kathrynne, yesterday I sent my primary care a link to your topic, and she has already responded and requested blood work for iron and homocysteine as my functional doctor requested. It was very quick. She did say keep in mind that homocysteine is a non specific test? What does that mean? I just read that it can increase with age also, especially around menopause. Oh, that may be why the functional doctor requested hormone levels testing as well. Which my PCP suggested I need to ask my OB/GYN to test for. I'm 49, and think I may be starting perimenopause. On reading about folate & B12 defienciency, symptoms are subtle. But one of them listed is dizziness, which I've been having sporadic issues with for 3 years now. The dizziness issue has been one of my most annoying symptoms. Would be good to understand better some of this. I'd pretty much given up with my doctors on figuring out the cause.
  11. Kaydee

    homocysteine problems in PD

    "There is evidence that increased homocysteine (Hcy) levels might accelerate dopaminergic cell death in Parkinson's disease (PD) through neurotoxic effects. " I have PD, diagnosed at 45, now 49. Just learned I have this mutation through a functional doctor. But can supplements & diet help? And taking levodopa can make it worse? Am I understanding this right? I will see the doctor again soon, I'm sure she will provide guidance but I didn't know until a few hours ago this might make the PD progress faster. No one wants to have the fast progressing PD.
  12. Thank you for the response! I do like fish, but I find it difficult to get enough. So I take the fish oil and eat fish. Maybe I'd better go eat that salmon I have in the fridge!
  13. I wonder if fish oil would work similarly or if it needs to be actual fatty fish?
  14. Kaydee

    Buzzy head

    I've had this off and on for awhile. I was doing better for awhile but it is back again. I don't have it in the morning. So stress, fatigue or something else seems to cause it. If you figure out what will stop it let me know!
  15. Before you decided to quit working, did you have days when you wondered how you were going to get through the whole day? Yes, everyday this happened before I went off on disability 3 months ago. I didn't make it through all the days. I cried a lot, it wasn't pretty towards the end. Did you blame yourself - wonder if you were just getting lazy or how much of your struggles were the PD? (I bounce back and forth). Yes, it helped me to read on PD impacts on cognition and understand that it was real. The multitasking, fatigue and clognition were what ultimately what made me stop. And my Neurologist said it wouldn't improve - that was really hard to hear. Was very frustrating at the end. I would go to work and stare at my computer unable to do my work tasks. I used to be such a high performer, so much of my identity was wrapped around my work, as I worked at same company for 21 years, my whole career. Hard to leave, like a small town. Did you wonder whether you needed more medication, more treatment or just to accept that maybe it is time to throw in the towel? I did try new medications. Was out of options. The cognitive changes are not reversable unfortunately, yet. I feel like I am putting on a bandage to patch me up to get through the day. Actually in some ways, Iliterally am. I had to wrap my right foot at the toes because the fanning out of my little toe was rubbing against my shoe and created a painful boney protrusion. I have acid reflux at night (and yes I take medication for it but it only does so much) and have started sleeping with a CPAP machine. I wake up and I am slower than Christmas. I have to do long hours and I was (hopefully still am) good at what I do and am only licensed and have experiencing doing one thing (therapy). I also am expected to do some marketing and some site supervision. Sounds familiar, the last thing I tried was I asked for a different job, so I no longer had direct supervisory responsibilities. I was also under a lot of pressure and stress at work (I won't go into details but it involved way too many lawyers). In the new job I was struggling at that as well, that was when I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I don't have disability insurance. Other employment sites are limited in hiring in this area. I have two children in college and one in middle school. I have 2 in middle school, 1 in high school, and 1 in college as well. I simply can not afford to work part-time or quit working. Even if I did quit, I couldn't financially make it while waiting and fighting for social security disability. Plus, there is another part of me that says that I am not ready for that yet. I could take a giant leap of faith and start a business in a different field (I have a little hobby of being good at web design - but that would take a lot of energy/effort to get going with no guarantee of steady business). I am exhausted and wonder how much longer I can maintain. My next appointment with my MDS is in middle November, but I am almost afraid to mention my struggles for fear that he will think that I just don't want to work. My Neurologist was very understanding. But then, I had many documented health issues, including visits to my onsite work medical clinic resulting in a few ER trips and consultations with my work medical doctor that required me to take time off multiple times. Even the Nurse Practitioner at my work asked me if I had thought about not working before I did it. When enough people started saying that, I started taking it more seriously. I am usually a positive and optimistic person but this current mental state is bringing me down lately. Any thoughts? I understand how you feel, I was in a similar place 3 months ago. What I can tell you is when I worked, I went to work, came home and crashed. My house and my family suffered. I couldn't do anything else due to fatigue. After I stopped working, I had time to take care of myself. As a result, I'm doing better, my family is better. It was hard to leave, but it was a good decision for me. Does your spouse work? Is that an option? Fortunately, my spouse makes a good salary (not as great as mine was but good). So if I don't get SSDI we will be okay. Not as good as we are now, but we will be okay.
  16. Kaydee

    Dizzy buzzy head

    I had this as well. I think I've posted on a similar topic before. Had a couple of ER visit for it also. It is almost completely gone now, frequency and severity significantly reduced. I've made a lot of changes, so not certain what made it get better. I am taking low dose of Sinemet though so I don't think that is it for me. I stopped taking Mirapex, stopped working (huge stress reduction) , exercising regularly, i do neurofeedback 5-6 days a week, I do apitherapy 3 times a week and I'm on a very restricted diet, and I sleep better now. I personally think the diet does contribute. And the Mirapex for me had awful side effects so I think that contributed also.
  17. Kaydee

    Surgeries prior to DX

    Let's see, appendectomy around 27 years ago, I had at least 2 miscarriages that required D&C's, and a knee surgery around 15 years ago.
  18. Kaydee

    Do you remember the day before you had PD?

    1. my maternal great grandmother had it. (I was diagnosed at 45) 2. I don't remember what I did the day before the diagnosis. I'm sure I did normal activities, work, family stuff. 3. Once I was diagnosed, I did go to you tube and watch videos which scared the crap out of me. Recommend NOT doing that. Also read a lot. Then I went back to living my regular life and took my meds and ignored it for awhile. 4. Why more peeps getting it? I think it is toxins in our environment. Man made. Insecticides/Herbicides and Heavy Metals. Or other chemicals we haven't identified.
  19. I have naturally low cholesterol. Always have. it runs in my family no matter what we eat.
  20. Kaydee

    Bee Venom?

    Anyone tried this? I heard about it from someone I met online. Her grandmother used bee's for her Parkinson's. http://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/news/20140618/bee-venom-acupunture-parkinsons
  21. Not science, but I can share my experience with certain meds and their impact on my cognitive functions. I had some concerns about certain cognition issues myself, I had been struggling with multi tasking primarily. I signed up for a couple of the sites that test your brain function. Both tests i scored very high in some areas, close to 800/800 on working memory for example. And... extremely low on others, specifically Shifting and Dividing attention were less than 10/ 800. At the time I was taking 3 Mirapex a day. Since then I have had a few medication adjustments, and am now taking 1/2 mirapex 1XD and 3/4 of Sinemet 2XDay currently. So I recently retook the test. My divided attention and shifting scores had increased significantly. So my personal experience the drugs can dramatically impact some cognitive functions. Besides I was a zombie on Mirapex, and my youngest son said I'm no longer a Momster.
  22. Kaydee

    Head Pressure

    Well, since i don't think i take ER, not an option for me. I cut out the azliect already. Taking a very small amount of mirapex will cut that out next. If that doesn't work, then will try to reduce sinemet see if that works.
  23. Kaydee

    Bee Venom?

    there are people that do this for ms for years. i found someone in my area (San Francisco Bay Area) that does this. She has treated parkinson's. The bees are live and sting directly. Here is the story that made me look into it (english not first language): "I know that my grandmother when she show the signs of the Parkinson, she started with some thing that I couldn't understand at that time, she had collected some Bees and started to sting her self, on the head, the back of her neck and the joints of her hands, elbows and shoulders, I'm not sure how many but I guess they were about thirty to forty Bees. I watched my grandmother doing it, and she did it every day for about a month. then after that she started to reduce it to every other day for two months, then every friday for 11 years until she passed away with 98 years old, she had a sharp and clear site, hearing and a perfect memory with no signs of the Parkinson what so ever, she told me that she grew up in one of her father's Honey farms near Mashhad in Persia and learn that from her mother."
  24. Kaydee

    Concussion History

    I was in a horrific car accident at age 5. I was tossed around pretty good and knocked out (minimal seat belt usage in those days). I was hospitalized overnight to check for both internal and head injuries. My 6 year old sister didn't survive the accident. Diagnosed at 45 years of age with PD in 2011.
  25. Kaydee

    Head Pressure

    I've been having head pressure for about 2 months. They have taken me off meds. Nothing seems to make it go away. It is worse some days than others.