PHOENIX - More than 1.5 million Americans suffer with Parkinson's Disease. While there is no cure, there is new hope. A cutting-edge procedure is giving a Valley man a second chance.
“I was dying,” Bob Daly said. “I was literally dying.”
Fifty-one-year-old Daly has Parkinson's. He's been battling the disorder of the central nervous system for almost 15 years.
“My parents had to pick me off the floor and bring me from room to room,” Daly said. “I couldn't dress. I couldn't eat. I was in a wheelchair constantly.”
While medication worked for a while, Daly said his symptoms got worse during the last three years.
“When you're in constant pain and the cramping, dyskinesias, bradykinesias and the tremors are unbelievable, you start considering other options,” Daly said.
Daly turned to Banner Boswell Medical Center. He qualified for a procedure called deep brain stimulation. Doctors implant a medical device called a neurostimulator that sends messages to the brain to block abnormal nerve signals causing Parkinson's symptoms.
“They come in for the implantation of the leads and that's kind of the first step,” Dr. Toby Yaltho said.
“The second part is where they come back two weeks later and they usually have their impulse generator placed underneath the skin and those are connected. And then after that we wait somewhere between five days to three weeks before we actually turn on the stimulator.”
Yaltho is a movement disorders specialist at Arizona Neurological Institute. He said in addition to reducing tremors, the procedure also means patients may not have to take as much medication.
“I used to take 21 pills a day,” Daly said. “Now I'm down to 6½ pills a day and as you can see by my presence here, everything is doing very well.”
Daly did the procedure last July. He said he not only got his life back, but the opportunity to start painting again.
“I would lose control,” Daly said. “The tremors were bad. It would be one line across the page and I would pass out almost.”
“We all know this was how it was for the rest of my life and then all of a sudden we just grabbed the straws and did the deep brain simulation and it's been wonderful.”
What: Deep Brain Stimulation
(Free public symposium)
When: April 21, 2011
Where: Banner Boswell Medical Center—Memorial Hall, on the first floor of the Support Services building - 13180 N. 103rd Dr. Sun City
Time: 9 to 11am
Contact: 602-230-2273 or www.bannerhealth.com/230CARE