At the end of my pre-op visit with the surgical nurse, I actually thought that she forgotten about my labs because we had already said our goodbyes and I had started to walk towards the door. "Score" I thought. Unfortunately, as I opened the door to leave, she reminded me to go to the second floor to get my blood drawn :( As much as I hate blood tests and trust me when I say that I do, I have to admit that this was probably the easiest blood draw I have ever had, as the phlebotomist used a butterfly needle and distracted me the entire time! Kudos to her!
On the way home in the van, I thought a lot about the many hoops I have jumped thru to get to this point. The first hoop was showing up at my MDS office first thing one early morning after having not taken my nighttime meds or the following morning's first dose of meds. Upon arriving at my Dr.s office, he very quickly began to give me certain tasks to do that were very challenging for me without having taken my meds. He videoed me attempting to do said tasks. Next, I took my meds and repeated the same tasks I had just attempted without meds. But this time, I was able to wait until the meds kicked in, (about twenty minutes later). Once my meds were working, I was able to do the same tasks with ease. The video was sent to one of my Dr's colleagues who happens to be a Neurosurgeon at Stanford. Once his colleague watched the video, he let my Dr. know that he thought I was a good candidate for the DBS and wanted to set up a meet and greet with me. I made an appointment to talk with Dr Casey Halpern (my fabulous Neurosurgeon). Once I met with him and he gave me the skinny on the DBS, we both agreed that the DBS surgeries would be right for me. Hoop number two..... Done! Hoop number three.... I met with a Psychiatrist (also at Stanford) twice. We only had time for two appointments, because of the timing of the DBS. During our first Zoom meeting, we dove right into my family history and background. In particular, he was looking for any depression and anxiety issues that I might have, because of childhood traumas. His job was to make sure I can handle these operations without becoming even more depressed or anxiety ridden afterwards (There is a chance that this can happen after undergoing these procedures).
Hoop number 4.... I met with a second psychiatrist, but this time in person, as he was going to do assessments which needed to be done face to face. I spent the next four plus hours being tested on my level of cognition, memory activities and spatial awareness. Before we began the first test, he mentioned that each segment would start out easy and then get progressively more difficult. He was not kidding when he said that each segment would get progressively more challenging. I left his office that day, feeling as though I was brainless. I forgot what he had said at the very beginning about the level of difficulty with each section. As the days went by, I kept on waiting for my MDS to call me and tell me that I had failed the test and that the DBS was cancelled. However, during a Zoom check in with my MDS a few weeks later, he said I had done extremely well and that this intense testing was done to make sure I had no brain disturbances (damage).
Hoop number five.... I had an MRI with contrast, followed two days later by a CatScan. All I needed now was one more Covid test the following day and and then it would be time to wait.... 3 More Days. As we headed back to my house, I thought about all of the appointments I had conquered to get to this point. I was feeling quite proud of myself at that moment!
This is me on my way home from my final Pre DBS appointment. This look is one of fear..... I have three more days to go ❦