The surgical team asked Ed Venters what kind of music he liked before the focused ultrasound procedure began. “Rhythm and blues,” he responded. “You got it, friend.”
This exchange was the beginning of a procedure to try and end the uncontrollable and debilitating tremor Ed experienced because of essential tremor (ET).
Ed owned a cabinetry and mill business up until he retired about 2 years prior to having the focused ultrasound surgery. While his tremor didn’t stop him from working, the afternoons were especially challenging for him because as he became tired, the tremor would increase in intensity. He was having difficulty drawing dimensions for the cabinetry and mantel pieces that his team built for their customers.
There were other signs as well. His signature became illegible, like a doctor writing a prescription, and eating became a challenge. On one occasion he poked and cut his lip with a fork. As a result, he had to learn to eat with his other hand. Even his wife said that she could feel his tremor while he was sleeping.
Ed went to the neurologist for a diagnosis. At first the doctor wasn’t sure if was ET or if it may be Parkinson’s disease. After testing, he received the diagnosis that it was essential tremor. He lived with the tremor until he stumbled upon an advertisement for Neuravive while surfing the web.
Ed learned that Insightec had developed a device that uses focused ultrasound to treat ET for people that do not respond to medications. His doctor had already prescribed four different anti-seizure medications, and he was ready to try something different. He was happy to hear that it was incisionless surgery.
Ed recalls that the procedure was not fun. He was on a bed that moved in and out of an MRI machine for 3.5 hours. However, he was in constant contact with the medical team which made him feel at ease. After each round of focused ultrasound, the surgeon asked him to pick up a Coke bottle to see if the tremor in his hand was getting better. He could hardly believe what he could now do!
Ed did have a side effect after the surgery – his tongue went numb and stayed that way for almost a year. Fortunately, there were no other side effects. While he still has some residual tremor, Ed is able to do things he had not been able to do in years including simple things like eating by himself. His handwriting too came back to where it was before ET. He has returned full force to his hobbies including fishing, hunting, and handyman work.
Ed feels he has been given his life back. He credits the wonderful team at the hospital (he hugged everyone who helped), and the rhythm and blues!
This testimonial may not be representative of all treatment outcomes. For additional information about focused ultrasound for essential tremor, including safety information, please click here.