Viewers of Fox Connecticut have probably seen the story of Middlebury mom, Jennifer Bona. The network featured her struggle with early-onset Parkinson Disease while working as a nurse and as a mother of four active boys.
Parkinson Disease is a neurological disorder that can cause tremors, stiffness of the limbs and neck, and slowness of movement. It is progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. These symptoms can make it difficult to carry out manual tasks. Falls are a real danger. As the symptoms get worse, patients may have episodes where they “freeze” and cannot move– which is something Bona had begun to struggle with.
In an effort to get Bona back to the activities she is passionate about, Dr. Sameer Sheth, MD, PhD performed deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery in March of 2015. DBS is a procedure in which electrodes are placed in specific areas of the brain and connected to a pacemaker-like device. Electrical stimulation of these targeted brain regions helps relieve the motor symptoms of Parkinson disease. Dr. Sheth routinely performs DBS procedures for patients with Parkinson disease, as well as other movement disorders such as essential tremor and dystonia.
Dr. Sheth is part of the Movement Disorder Center at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Established in 1998, the Movement Disorder Center focuses on treatment for patients with movement disorders, and the neurosurgeons cooperate with other physicians at the center to provide surgical solutions for patients who have not responded sufficiently to medications. With such a narrow focus, the surgeons at the Movement Disorder Center have performed hundreds of DBS surgeries during their decades of experience.
A week after her surgery, Bona returned to have her device turned on. She explains that within a week she started noticing improvement in her symptoms. Now, several months have passed since the device was turned on, and her symptoms continue to improve. “I’m so very pleased with my results,” she says. “So are my children; now mommy can be their mommy again! I have four boys and they’re the reason I even considered surgery. I can’t stress enough the amazing care I received from Dr. Sheth and his team. He gave me my life back!”
Bona recently shared the rest of her story with Fox Connecticut. With her surgery behind her, she looks forward to getting back to the busy life that she loves – Mom to four active boys and a career as a nurse. That life will no doubt be more precious than ever.
Photo Credit: National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services; Public Domain.
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