Friday, January 23, 2009


First, I apologize for messing up my 'format'. I didn't realize a lot of the blog was unreadable because I had messed with the colors of the template. Goofy. Oh well.

I've since been back to the "laboratory" for the routine checkups. Fill out the questionnaires; answer Dr.#2's questions; Say Hi to Dr.#1; Wait while Dr.#2 fills out forms for Dr.Programmer; See Dr.Programmer & listen to my implant being 'interrogated'; Answer more questions; Get my parking ticket stamped...

I am pretty sure whether I am on or not, but I'll not share.

My main reason for posting is because I'm still researching all of this and ran across a very interesting website that others may find interesting, especially Herb's friend. It's a list of all sorts of clinical trials. The Weblink below is for the 1400+ depression studies underway. Wowzer!!!

I also found a link: St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) announced it has been awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for treating depression using neurostimulation therapy in an area of the brain known as Brodmann Area 25. Cool. You have to wonder if in the future someone infringes on the patent, if the effected patients would have to have their generators removed by court order.... ???

And finally, I've been trying to figure out in layman's terms more about the device and the programming of it. I've found a couple of articles about the devices used in Parkinson's. If I understand the article I'm linking to here, each lead has 4 contacts on it. (I have 2 leads - or at least I have 2 holes in my head where the leads were supposedly placed!!). The little generator device is capable of being programmed to generate current on any or all of the leads and use the case as ground. Then there is the voltage, pulse, amplitude etc. (How much voltage, how long its on (amplitude), as well as how frequently it pulses on). 4,000 combinations for the Parkinson's descriptions. And not all programmers are created alike, so the people on the dbs yahoo group are always comparing which programmers in what areas are the best. I'll have to discuss this with my Dr.Programmer. I don't know if he does Parkinson's patients or if he is just for the study.

I haven't checked on e-bay, but by-golly if the little programming devices ever go on the 'black' market, I'll be buying one. (I'm JOKING folks). But it is fun to imagine all the possibilities for 4,000 different combinations. I'm supposing if the leads were in the right places, one could program any emotion..... Want to be in love with everyone? No problem. Woody Allen's Sleeper movie's Orgasmatron, no problem.

What we don't know about what we don't know!

On a final note - I will actually be getting a hair cut next week. Woo Hoo!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


PsyFi recently added to the comments about her experience and in answering Herb's posting about a person who is suffering, posted a couple of names & numbers. I changed the names and numbers to the link where the main study is.... I did this for a couple of reasons. 1st, there is no guarantee the suffering person is in the area of PsyFi's doctors. 2nd, it's my understanding that the researchers have been getting a lot of calls - one of their comments to me about my blogging. PsyFi and I both know how rigorous their criteria are for acceptance into the program. I had originally posted a link to the study on this page, but took it off after conversations with my researchers.... i.e. they have plenty of people signing up and don't want to get anyone's hopes up or down.

On that note, just a little more detail on what I've been through..... I counted up 9 (yes NINE) different anti-depressant medicines I've been on. Sometimes in conjunction with each other. (One of them "imported" into the USA for me by a pilot friend). I've had 3 different ADD (legal speed) medicines. I've been in 3 different modalities of psychotherapy with 5 different therapists. I've had 3 different psychiatrists. And I went through and stay close to a rigorous self-help program.

I completely understand that anyone suffering from depression wants it GONE. I truly feel for the guy Herb mentioned. But I feel compelled to point out this treatment is e-x-p-e-r-i-m-e-n-t-a-l and may not work. A quick google shows there are other locations that are being considered in the brain for depression relief. My hope is that this technique is tested and refined to the point that a person who has severe intractable depression can be tested under PET or fMRI and the exact location for that unique individual can be targeted. It's almost embarrassing what we don't know about the brain.

I hope I don't come off in the wrong tone. (This isn't a "woe-is-me" or "I'm worse than you, so I get to try this").

A year from now, we'll know a lot more. To Herb's suffering friend and anyone else out there waiting for a cure - be patient. Hang in there. Try something different and vow to not give up. Between ECT, VNS, rTMS, DBS and new medicines coming down the road, you will find something that works. Don't paint yourself into a corner by thinking you've tried everything - you haven't because there are new things coming up daily.

I recently read a great book by Norman Doidge called "The brain that changes itself". You can find him at

Along those lines, I re-read the article I've linked to on the right side - interview. I found an interesting quote that has had me thinking all weekend. This is from an interview with Dr. Mayberg:
"This brings up a critical point about this new treatment. DBS is not a cure-all, despite how robust the clinical responses appear to be. The DBS starts the process by normalizing a very dysfunctional circuit. For full functional recovery, you also need get adequate rehabilitation, as provided, for instance, by CBT. This is in many ways analogous to ensuring an optimal functional recovery after hip or knee replacement surgery by requiring a course of physical therapy. I think we are going to need to actually study the synergy between DBS and CBT in these patients more formally."
What kind of rehab will my brain need? (If this works, of course). On the one hand, I'd like to believe that when they switch me on, within a few weeks I'll have my life back. It's been over 10 years since I had a great life. Like the analogy above, if you replace a hip, quite a bit of physical therapy is needed before you can run again. I've changed careers twice in the past 10 years - 1 by choice and 1 by necessity. Could I go back to my previous high-profile job immediately? Probably not. It's going to be a process. Just getting out of the house, every day, would be monumental, and I'm sure it's going to have to be taken in steps.

I can be hopeful and optimistic though and dream a little. Dream about what it would be like to wake up in the morning wanting to get out of bed and go to work. Looking forward to the weekend for a little relaxation and time to clean the house and do laundry. Who knows, maybe even want to exercise!!! (Pre-depression I had a body fat index of 10%, which is very fit. Although skinny now, it ain't all muscle!) I look forward to the challenge. (It's been a long time since I've said that!)

PsyFi, you didn't do anything wrong - I'm just paranoid and don't want to muddy the waters of the research or piss-off any researchers. The next time you visit with your Doc, you might ask him about it.

But I'm staying grounded. One day at a time. No expectations. I am a firm believer that if this doesn't work for me, I will try something else.... as many times as I have to.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Well, I made it to the 'randomization' session. That's where the programmer connects the generator to his gizmo and then "adjusts" the device. As mentioned previously, since it's a blind study, I don't know if I'm ON or OFF. He was very nice and explained he has to spend the same amount of time on those that are off as those that are on, so we're completely clueless. (Like the techno-jargon? - gizmo & device? - my terms not Mr. PhD's).

As with every session from here on out for the next 6-12 months, I take the depression tests, answer the handler's questions, see the programmer and wait.

On the physical side, the leads haven't bothered me any more and though the generator is still sensitive from time to time, it's not as bothersome as it was. As I said, I'm thin and the surgeon said it will be awhile before the scar tissue builds up enough for it to not be noticeable at all (sensation-wise). It is still very noticeable when my shirt is off.... but - the Maderma scar medicine stuff is working pretty good. The line is really small and I think it may be gone in a couple of months! The itching though.... OMG.... thought I was going to scratch a hole in my shirt! Luckily that's pretty much gone also.

At the last session with #1 doctor, we discussed me not getting my hopes up. Just take things slowly. He doesn't know whether I'm on or not either. Only the programmer knows and I don't think he takes bribes - but I'll ask next time!! LOL.

I don't want to jeapordize anything by revealing too much about my mood. So I'm just being patient.

Congrats PsyFi. I'm putting my expectations on hold for 6 months - just take it 1 day at a time. (and thanks for the encouragement).

I will share that I had a day of paranoia over the anonymousness of the blog etc. I don't want to jeopardize the study and I don't really want any well intentioned acquaintances to say - hmmmm that sounds like this guy I know. So I pulled the tags & labels. [Cover story info was here] - the point of the sentence is: I couldn't stand for one of my children to be taunted that her daddy has 'depression' and had to have wires put in his head.... still too much for me to handle).

A year from now I won't care!!! (Ever the optimist).