hen Jack McDonald was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001,
brain surgery was the furthest thing from his mind.
By 2004, Jack, the owner of a graphic design firm for thirty years, began to find
it extremely difficult to meet with clients. His handwriting had became nearly
illegible, he shook uncontrollably during meetings, and he found it difficult to
focus on even simple tasks. In 2005 he sold his business.
The next several years were spent trying most of the medications available for
Parkinson’s patients. Jack volunteered for a variety of drug studies, hoping to
make some contribution to finding a cure.
By 2009 drug-induced dyskinesia had become a real problem. He moved and
wiggled a large part of each day. It had become embarrasing to eat in public.
Going to movies became nearly impossible. He and his wife would sit two seats
apart because of his violent movement during intense scenes. Even sleeping
became a nightly ordeal of twisting, turning, and more shaking.
In 2012, Jack’s neurologist suggested Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, or DBS
for short. At first Jack thought it was unnecessary. Brain surgery is not something
you casually say yes to. Then he realized that DBS was an easy decision. He could go on shaking, wiggling and feeling crummy, or he could do something about it.
In 2013 Jack had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery.
Poppo’s Electric Brain, inspired by his grandchildren’s humorous
comments and reactions, is an inside look at how DBS surgery
affects the entire family.
Although DBS is not a cure for Parkinson’s, it has made a
remarkable difference in the quality of life for Jack and his
family. Now, a year after surgery, he is dining out and
sitting next to his wife, Gilda, in movies.