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Kristin (KAlbrecht) Posted: Sat, Dec 1 2012 7:12 PM

Hi everybody --

I just started quilting about 6 months ago.  I did a lot of sewing in my youth with my grandma, primarily making clothes and bags and stuff. 

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in my 20's and over the years the tremors got so bad that I couldn't do a lot of the craft things that I enjoyed.  Over the years dealing with Parkinson's I became very depressed and lost interest in any activities at all . . . gardening, cooking, crafting, etc.....

Fast forward another 20 years or so . . . I got approved for DBS surgery (Deep Brain Stimulation).  I had one side of the brain done in April this year, and the other side done in July.  My tremors are 90% gone . . . I can enjoy life again.  And as a reward to myself for living with Parkinson's and cancer, I resumed sewing . . . more importantly, quilting. 

I have completed 3 projects since I started in May . . . nothing that's show worthy by any means but it's fun just to be able to sew again!!!!

Thank you in advance for a happy quilting experience.

Kristin Lee WICKMAN Albrecht  

(I'm a WICKMAN . . . Don't let anybody tell you any different)

 

 

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Kristin, I'm so happy for you that you are again able to do something that you love. I hope you will share some of your quilts with us, we love to see what everyone is up to.

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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Welcome Kristin

[Ava, Missouri

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Ginny replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 7:39 PM

Kristin,  I am so glad that your surgeries were successful.  That is a powerful story of  the history of your health.  It is great that you are now able to enjoy your sewing again.    Ginny

 

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MNnancy replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 8:08 PM

Kristin, what an amazing story!  I hadn't heard of DBS surgery.  Do you know if everyone with Parkinson's can try this, or are there eligibility requirements that must be met to make someone a candidate for it.  So glad you've had success!


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Barbara replied on Sat, Dec 1 2012 11:25 PM

Kristin, what an amazing story ,I'm so thrilled your surgeries were successful and you are now able to be human again.  Welcome to the club. you will love it here .

Liberty,Missouri

EAT!! SLEEP !! QUILT!!

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weezee56 replied on Sun, Dec 2 2012 12:07 AM

Hi Kristin, So happy to hear you are feeling so much better after your surgery. I'm not that good at quilting   but, I still enjoy trying. Good luck to you in everything you decide to try. Welcome to QCA, so glad to have you with us.

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Patti replied on Sun, Dec 2 2012 8:00 AM

Welcome Kristin.  Glad the surgeries were successful, and glad you have joined us. 

Patti

Chiliwist Valley

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Thea replied on Sun, Dec 2 2012 10:05 AM

Kristin, I am so happy to meet you!  Such a survivor.  I am ecstatic that they have found a partial cure for parkinson's.  It is such a debilitating disease.  I am also very happy that you are a survivor and have found quilting.  It is my joy to have it in my life too.  I would love to see what you have made - even though you say it isn't show worthy.  I don't believe any of my quilts are either but they are made with one special ingredient.  My love.  Happy - so happy to have you on board.

 

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MNnancy:

Kristin, what an amazing story!  I hadn't heard of DBS surgery.  Do you know if everyone with Parkinson's can try this, or are there eligibility requirements that must be met to make someone a candidate for it.  So glad you've had success!

 

Hi Nancy --

There are some restrictions to being able to have the surgery and insurance companies may balk it at if they consider it to be an elective surgery.  I know in my case my doctors had to show documentation that my tremors could no longer be controlled via medicine, and that the tremors had robbed me of my quality of life.  In my case the tremors had gotten so bad that I was going to have to go on permanent disability . . . I could not so much as brush my teeth or brush my hair.  My DH was my life line.

The DBS surgery is far from a cure.  When the device (a neurostimulator implanted in the brain) is turned off (I have to turn it off at night), the tremors are back with a vengence.  But when the device is turned on . . . NO TREMORS.  I can walk again . . . I can feed myself again . . . I can use my hands again . . . I have a life again! :D

It took about 3 months for all the testing and the doctors visits before I actually got the medical OK to have the surgery.  Not only physical tests, but also psychological testing . . . they want to make sure that you're mentally capable of having an implant in your brain and capable of performing the maintenance that goes along with it.  And how long it lasts is greatly determined by how frequently the device power has to be turned up.  In my case, I have four wires on each side of the brain, positioned in the area of the brain where they determined the tremors to be originating from (another set of tests).  Those wires are connected to a pace-maker like device in my chest (if you already have a pacemaker for the heart, you will not be able to have the DBS surgery).  Of the four wires, only one is turned on on each side . . . and even then it's only turned on to 60% power.  I have the potential to turn on all four wires eventually, up to 90% power on each wire (there may be side effects of a wire being turned on which will prevent that wire from being turned on) to control the tremors.  I have had to turn up the power twice already this year on the wires that are turned on but I am far from being maxed out on the benefit of the device.  My doctors tell me I will probably get 10 years out of the device before my tremors are uncontrollable again.  That's not long, but I'll take anything I can get!

Sorry for the long winded story . . . I hope you can find similar benefit through DBS surgery . . . it saved my life (I was suicidal the last 18 months before surgery because I had no life).  If you decide to pursue the surgery and have the means, I strongly recommend that you do some due diligent research to find a good neurologist and neurosurgeon . . . they are, after all, working on your brain.  And even then, not all neurosurgeons are doing the surgery.  I myself went through Central Dupage Hospital in Winfield, IL but I know that the Mayo clinic in Rochester is also performing the surgery.

On another note, I see you're from Minnesota.  I am a true Minnesotan born and bred.  I grew up in Minnetonka but my true love is for the north . . . I went to college in Bemidji and my husband and I spend our summers in Northern Minnesota visiting friends or just drowing worms (fishing) . . . Pine River, Alexandria, Brainerd, Fergus Falls, just to mention a few.

Thank you for putting up with my long winded story.  If you want more information on DBS please feel free to contact me.

Kristin Lee WICKMAN Albrecht  

(I'm a WICKMAN . . . Don't let anybody tell you any different)

 

 

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Thank you for the info on Parkinson's Kristin, it was very interesting. We have an uncle with this but from what you said he probably would not qualify for the surgery. Again, Thanks.

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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Marie replied on Mon, Dec 3 2012 1:52 PM

Hi Kristin,  welcome to our wonderful family.  Prayers going up that all goes well for you.  In the meantime we are here to support you in any way we can.  God Bless.  (((((HUGS)))))

Millbury, MA

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Thea replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 9:08 AM

Kristin - each time I read your story I am more amazed.  They had talked me about a similar procedure to take care of my pain from my RA but I was afraid when they told me they could not give me a guarantee that the device would stem anymore then 50% of my pain - for your tremors though it sounds like a wonderful work.  May I ask why you have to turn it off at night and have the tremors continue  - is it because you are sleeping and they don't want it on when you are asleep for some reason.  I know when they talked to me about the similar device I didn't get any understanding that I would have to turn it off...

I am truly so happy for you!  The new technology they have come out with over the years to make lives better is so fantastic and I am so grateful that you were able to have this.  I am truly blessed to have met you here on QCA and I truly hope to get to know you better via Mail Box Surprises this next year.  It is wonderful isn't it to live in the 21st century.  

We here at QCA are blessed that you didn't go through with that suicidal impulse and I thank the Lord for finding an answer and making it available to you!  I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Christmas season and a better 2013 for you and your family.

 

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Thea replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 9:11 AM

Also, maybe in a couple years when I am living in MN all the time we can have some fun together.  We are planning on moving to Appleton in 2014/5 to live near my son and grand kids.  I can't wait to get there to be near them - now this cold weather is a turn off but we are going to make sure our house is well insulated and has a great furnace for me in the winter so I will be toasty warm... so no worries from me - the ability to live near my family will outweigh any shortcomings with the weather for me.

 

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That would be great!  I consider Minnesota my REAL home . . . I consider Illinois just a temporary place to live (although we've been here for 20+ years).

Kristin Lee WICKMAN Albrecht  

(I'm a WICKMAN . . . Don't let anybody tell you any different)

 

 

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