Mike’s Story: Parkinson’s Disease

Imagine learning that you have Parkinson’s disease at age 26. Most people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed in their 60s. Yet in 1987, after three years of unexplained symptoms, Mike learned he had the degenerative disease. After a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, medication eased his symptoms. As is often the case, the drugs became less effective over time and Mike’s symptoms – tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity and poor balance – gradually took over his life.

By the age of 44 – the prime of his life – Mike could not walk without stumbling, drive or dress himself, or even toss a ball with his sons. Then in 2004 neurosurgeon George Mandybur at the UC Neuroscience Institute inserted a Deep Brain Stimulation implant – like a pacemaker for the brain. Fifteen days later, Dr. Mandybur turned it on. “Unbelievable,” says Mike, “I went from not being able to do anything to being able to do whatever I wanted after 19 years of hell.”

Mike is now in his 50′s. Since his remarkable success with the DBS implant, he has traveled with his family – his wife, Kathy, daughter, Tiffany, and sons Chris, Jake and Andy. They have been to Georgia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and even Las Vegas. A father who couldn’t even toss a ball with his sons now coaches little league. Mike still breaks down when he talks about the day he got his life back. Incredible. “I’m 100 percent now,” he says.

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Hope Story Disclaimer – This story describes an individual patient’s experience. Because every person is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Outcomes are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.

 

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