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Gretchen's State of the Brain Address

Dear Friends & Family,

Thank you all for your continued thoughts & prayers during our DBS journey. As we finish last minute packing to head to Gainesville early in the morning, it is once again time for a "State of Brain" address....

It has been only 11 days since the first of what will inevitably be 4 surgeries. I must say, the first one was rather surreal. I was awake during the whole procedure. The first surgery, for those not familiar with Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery, involves the placement of an electrical lead into the brain, mapping the brain, finding the best location that hopefully will be most beneficial. We hope to see as we did with Michael, a reduction in tremors and with the muscle spasms that have grown considerably worse over the past several months.

All seemed to go well in the OR, and after spending a night in the hospital, we hung out in Gainesville for a few days to make sure I was stable, and then with me chilling out in the back of our friend's van, we headed back to Naples.

Now, we find ourselves, heading back to Gainesville, somewhat earlier than we did with Michael, but ready to undergo the second surgery. We are excited as this is one that we will actually see some difference afterwards. This is the one that will officially make Michael and I the first known bionic couple anywhere! ( IF you know of any others, please let us know :)

So, this surgery will take place Friday, Nov 14th. I actually get to sleep through this one, THANK GOD!! The doctors will open up the scalp and take the excess wire that is hanging out there right now, and bring it down under the skin, over the collar bone, and then place the stimulator under the skin in the chest. The wire will be attached to the stimulator, which is like a pace maker, and then they close me up.

In recovery, they will actually turn the stimulator on and do a very rough programming on it to allow for me to get used to the electrical current going thru my brain. Then we go hang out for a week in Gainesville. We are thinking, if I feel ok, we may actually get to take my mom to the Butterfly Garden at the University of Florida this time. Guess we have to play it by ear... or brain.

On Nov 20th, we pay a visit to PD clinic and they fine tune the programming and then we get to come home!! We get to see the kind folks in Gainesville, once a month for 6 months, and if all goes well, then we get to do this all over again!!

We appreciate the cards and thoughts, the prayers, phone calls, and emails!! The current state of the brain is honestly at this point in the hands of God! We are very blessed with wonderful physicians, friends, and loving family that continue to support us in more ways then I can imagine. I know that I still have things yet to do here, God is not finished with me yet!! We are so excited about what the future holds for us. We are so blessed to have you all in our lives..

Michael will send you all an update upon the completion of the surgery. Blessings & Love to ALL!!

Gretchen & Michael
7935 Preserve Circle Unit 415
Naples, FL 34119
239- 431-6139