A highly anticipated trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has left a Salmon Arm woman who has Parkinson's disease with mixed emotions.
Maureen Kennah-Hafstein, with her partner Irwin Hafstein, went to the clinic for an assessment appointment on October 30, which will show whether she is a candidate for deep brain stimulation surgery (DBS). This operation can produce a significant increase for those who have Parkinson's in various fields such as quality of life, motor control, cognition, and emotional well-being.
Maureen's symptoms worsen and, if his health deteriorates too much, surgery is no longer an option.
"Appointment assessment leaves us with a mixture of emotions," Maureen wrote in an email. "The enthusiasm about learning that there is one more treatment option that we did not know and were disappointed in learning that surgery could not be carried out in the clinic until February, although it was determined that I was a good candidate for the STN DBS bilateral operation. "
Because there is one treatment option available to him, he will not receive preferential placements on the US waiting list for surgery.
Maureen thanked the generous donation received through a fundraising effort that enabled him to travel to the United States, a trip he described as "very valuable."
"We went home with a comprehensive four-step plan to optimize my treatment regime with optimism. Due to the delay in being able to access surgery at the Mayo Clinic, there is a good chance that I will be able to undergo surgery at B.C. when it becomes necessary. "
He explained that his final trip to the US for treatment "began with a letter that I received as a patient in (neurosurgeon) Dr. (Christopher) & # 39; DBS waiting list" which was very long, asking us to lobby our MLAs to put pressure on strength – could be to hire a second neurosurgeon and to increase the amount of time OR in an effort to shorten the waiting time of two to five years for DBS operations in our province, waiting the longest in all of Canada. "
His research soon showed that the waiting list was around one year across the country.
He stated he now hopes he will be able to get surgery at B.C., but also feels very fortunate to have been able to access world-class expertise from doctors at the Mayo Clinic.
"I would recommend that anyone who has run out of treatment options should consider judgment so that no stones are missed," he wrote.
"Even though things didn't go as planned, we returned home with … a treatment plan that I would follow under the careful guidance of my medical team here in Canada. Even though we were surprised by the unexpected results, we were not disappointed because when I knew whether the new treatment would work, it had to be very close to my turn on the waiting list Dr. Honey for DBS operations here in Canada. "
Maureen, who was a former chemistry teacher at the Eagle River Secondary in Sicamous, hoped that the transition to a new treatment protocol would be difficult and challenging, but if it would effectively buy him more time before surgery would be absolutely necessary.
"In the meantime, it's good to know that my family might not need to bear the high costs of US operations. The remaining funds will be used to support the costs of the new treatment protocol and to support operating costs, regardless of whether it occurs at B.C. or US "
He indicated that the remaining funds would be donated to Parkinson's research.
"In particular, there are treatment protocols that are ready for trials in humans which are the first treatments that help stop the progression of the disease, not only managing symptoms that I am very happy and would love to support."
Maureen expressed his appreciation for Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, who has helped get better DBS care for his voters since he first took the letter from Dr. Honey to his office. He also thanked me Observer for ongoing coverage of the situation and for the initial article by former editor Tracy Hughes who helped start a widespread letter writing campaign.
"It is possible that other surgeons will be hired to join Dr. Honey to help increase waiting time. Along with the doubling of OR time, we must see immediate improvement, "he wrote.
The provincial Health Department has not yet responded to requests from Observer regarding the availability of current DBS operations at B.C.