Parkinson's disease

Stephen - Interview 44

Age at interview: 42
Age at diagnosis: 33

Brief outline: Stephen was diagnosed with PD when he was 33. After several years when no medication proved successful this was redefined as Parkinsonism and he was offered the DBS operation, This was carried out in 2005 with very good results.

Background: Driver. Divorced 2 children.

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In 1999 when he was 33, Stephen consulted his GP about a tremor in his right hand. The doctor suggested it might be due to a trapped nerve or to ‘nerves’ But when the tremor became more troublesome and began to affect his leg as well, he was referred to a neurologist and was told he could have MS or Parkinson’s disease. When PD was diagnosed he was relieved feeling it was much better to have this than MS.


Over the next few years his symptoms deteriorated and although many different drugs and drug combinations were tried, none of them really helped and most of them made him feel sick and excessively sleepy. It was explained that he had Parkinsonism and not Parksinson’s Disease and that this explained why he did not respond to the medication.


In 2005 his consultant sent him to Oxford to be considered for surgery. It was not funded immediately but when it was he had no hesitation in accepting it. He had been explained the risks and the procedure and even though he knew that he could die in the operation he was determined to go through with it. At that point he felt life as he was was no longer bearable.


The first indication that the operation was working was that his hands, which  had been rigidly clenched, relaxed and he could move his fingers freely. After the operation he found that he  could walk quite easily and speak clearly. Most surprisingly to himself and his doctors, his urinary incontinence had disappeared.


Since the operation three years ago he has continued to feel the  benefits. He takes Sinemet  regularly  five times a day. He found that if he took two at once he would experience bradykinesia making his head twitch.


At the time he developed PD he was married with two children of 8 and 5. Soon after this his wife left him and since then he has brought up t he children on his own though he benefits from the help of h is own parents and siblings. His daughter has just left school and is planning to become a nurse.


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