Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Slavin, is that Russian?

This afternoon I met with the neurosurgeon who would perform the VNS surgery if I choose to go thru with it. His last name is Slavin and he went to med school in Azerbaijan before coming to America to do his residency. Is that in Russia? I suck at geography. Not that it matters where he's from, I've just always been curious as to how well med schools in other countries teach their students.

Anyway, I really had no idea what questions to ask. The only one I could think of was how many of these surgeries has he performed. Thinking back now, he didn't actually answer the question. He only said how many he's done for people with depression, which was between 4-6 (yep, that few). Didn't mention how many he's done total, including those for epilepsy though.

He said that he only started doing the ones for depression in December, so it's too soon to know if any of those patients have seen an improvement. He assured me that I was an ideal candidate for this procedure, even if the success rate is only 50%. He said since the number of patients with treatment resistant depression isn't very high, that 50% is a pretty good number.

I have to decide fairly quick if I want to have this surgery. They did get it approved with both Medicare and Medicaid, but there's one slight catch. As of July, Medicare is no longer going to cover it so if I'm going to do it, I have to do it before then. But I have to decide as soon as possible because he only performs this procedure on Tuesdays and they would need to get me on the schedule quickly.

I know that I couldn't do it until June 6th at the earliest. May is already pretty full with end of the year school stuff and several other things. I don't want to do the surgery this month in case there are any complications because I can't afford to miss any of these functions, especially graduation.

I'm at a loss as to what to decide. As crazy as it sounds, my biggest fear is that it will work. I don't know life without depression. I can't even fathom what it would be like. But I'm also afraid of it not working because that will be yet another failure that I know I can't handle.

So I suppose I'll pose the question to everyone, just to see the responses. If you were at the point where it was a life or death matter and you knew there was a surgery that had only a 50% chance of working to make you better, would you go thru with it?


Blogger Sage said...

As strange as this may sound to you, I think I understand how you feel about the possibility of losing Depression. Since my change in meds, I no longer have my High Mania and I kind of miss it. I will say though, that overall its better to no longer have that aspect of my BP than to subject all the parts to my family and friends. My family has been through so much in all the changes my Bi-Polar has caused them, so if I can lighten the load, so to speak, I most certainly would do it. However that is your decision. Good luck, in whatever your choice eventualy is.

1:05 AM, May 03, 2006  
Blogger Cinthia said...

I think it might be the same for eyesight. If I were blind, and had been so for life, and there was an operation to restore my eyesight, I'd want to try this operation to see what life would be like 'seeing' even if there was only a 50% chance that I'd actually see.

I feel like it doesn't hurt to try. You've been given the opportunity, something which many people would love to be offered.

You'll learn how to live without depression if the operation happens to work. I suspect it'd make your life easier than living with it. And if it doesn't work, it's not like you'll be worse off.

I say go for it ;)

11:55 AM, May 03, 2006  
Blogger anna said...

That's a hard thing, Sid. I'd have to investigate the procedure really well and then weigh the pro's and con's. I guess if the surgery were to save my life from a physcial ailment I'd be more apt to jump at the opportunity.
I"m a big chicken about surgery anyway. I need one myself but have put it off.
PS I have the new blog up, now.

2:53 PM, May 03, 2006  
Blogger James said...

If I felt like I was in a life or death situation then yes, I probably would give it a try.

5:30 PM, May 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive never heard of this type of surgery. Unless theres health risks I would probably go through with it.

I understand what you mean about your life changing. I couldnt imagine life without depression. I sometimes get depressed when I feel better because I dont know what to do with myself, its like being lost in another world and having to start all over.

If it does work I guess then youll just have to take it a little bit at a time, ease into it.
You may discover a whole new world youve never known.

I do hope it works Sid. It probably wouldnt hurt to give it a try unless theres risks.
If you do youll have my support and my prayers.
Ill talk to ya later.

Take care

12:20 AM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger Shorty said...

Wow that whole VNS therapy is outrageous! Have you checked out studies of people with depression that have had it done - just to see if it actually works? I guess I would have to carefully weigh out the pros and cons and go from there. It sounds like a fairly simple procedure but what are the risks?
Well either way... I pray things pan out for you. I'm really curious if this VNS really works!Keep us updated and good luck..........

11:03 AM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger mizeeyore said...

well, i certainly am in agreement with everyone here, especially about weighing the positives vs. the negatives for this type of treatment. if i were in your shoes and was given a choice to finally eradicate my depression, after have been on meds that have ceased to work for me, i would go for it and hope for the best.

the decision is yours Sid. i will keep you in my prayers whatever you decide to do, and i'm here for you (((((((((((((Sid)))))))))))))

take care of you!

7:22 PM, May 07, 2006  

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