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Monday, December 5, 2016

Meet Kathryn Bradley MD

For those who follow this blog regularly, you know that a big detour got thrown into my Parkinson's disease road trip when I found out that my Movement Disorder Specialist, Dr. Sherman, was no longer on my insurance companies list of clinicians I could see. I would need to find a new doctor. I was not a Happy Parkie and found no humor in this detour at all.

Luckily, I managed to find a replacement, Dr. Kathryn Bradley, also in Tucson, and in the same medical practice as the neurosurgeon who did my DBS surgery, Dr. Norton. When I called for an appointment, the first "new patient" one they had wasn't until February. I could wait.

I had met Dr. Bradley once, when she came to Yuma with Dr. Norton for a seminar I helped arrange. She had attended the University of Arizona Medical School in Tucson before going on to Vanderbilt in Tennessee for the rest of her training. 

Since I was going to Tucson in November to speak to the medical school students, I decided to write to her and explain my situation. I didn't need any adjustments to my DBS settings or any medication refills, I just needed to get established. Perhaps, they could squeeze me in, on one of two specific days? A few days later, I got a call, and an appointment the same day I would be in Tucson. It pays to take time to write a letter (in fact, that's how I got diagnosed!)

I went to my appointment and to be honest, I didn't expect much. I knew they had squeezed me in, so I expected a quick hello and see me again in six months kind of visit. I was wrong. Dr. Bradley gave me one of the most thorough neurological exams I have ever had. She did the usual open/close hands, thumb/finger touches and watched me walk. She had me follow her finger with my eyes and looked into my eyes with a light. She used the little reflex hammer on my knees, ankles, wrists and elbows. She had me push up/down with my arms, squeeze her hands with mine. She had me take off my shoes and socks and ran the sharp thing along the bottom of my feet. She checked my balance by tugging me from behind. 

She asked me about my other medical history, sleeping, exercise and eating habits. She was surprised I was doing so well with such low voltage settings and the little amount of carbi/levodopa medication I was taking, especially after finding out I have had Parkinson's for 20 years or so. I told her that Dr. Norton had obviously found the right spot. Needless to say, I was very impressed.

YumaBev & Dr, Kathryn Bradley

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

DBS Update: Four years later

Well, it is now FOUR years since I had DBS for my Parkinson's. 

My DBS stimulation settings are lower than they were a year ago and I am taking less Parkinson's medication and yet, I am doing better physically. 

This makes no sense to my former and current Parkinson's specialists or my Medtronic representative. I saw all three of them when I spoke to the Medical School students in November 2016.

According to the Medtronic rep, my DBS settings are below "clinical therapeutic values."  

I don't know why these settings work for me, but they do. 
DBS settings Nov 2016

I got a new camera since my three year update, and it isn't compatible with the Movie Maker software on my ancient PC, so I can't provide a video update. 

This was one day's worth of medication prior to DBS.
3 Requip, 7 Sinemet, 1 Thryoid

This is one day's worth now! 

1/2 Sinemet, 1 Thyroid

Quite a difference, right?