Thursday, December 22, 2011

My First Cyborg-iversary

© 2010 Jamie Valendy.
One year ago, today, I had a neurostimulator permanently implanted. My family and I had such high hopes that the stimulator would be the answer to our prayers - to help me better control my chronic migraines... leading to a more 'normal' life. Unfortunately, the stimulator hasn't helped as much as we'd all hoped for and expected (including my doctor).

I don't regret having it implanted, but I wish it provided more relief than it has. When I had my stimulator trial (a few months before the permanent implant), I was able to do a lot of things that I couldn't do before (including eating / drinking trigger foods / drinks, spending time outside in the sunlight without wearing sunglasses, etc...). I haven't really been able to do much of those things, since then. We're not sure why it seems less effective, now that I have the permanent one - it even baffles my doctor.

I think the stimulator has made my 'good' days better, even if it may or may not have decreased the intensity / duration / frequency of my migraines. Just the simple fact that it's made my 'good' days better makes it worth keeping. So, I'm definitely not ready to give up on the stimulator. My doctor and I will keep adjusting things and trying to get it to work as well as possible for me.

My experience with the stimulator has also given me some great opportunities to come into contact with some great individuals - sharing with them a possible way to help treat their chronic migraines. It's been great to be able to share my experience with others, and to make some great friends along the way.


  1. I'm sorry it wasn't the magic cure! I still toy with the idea of going through with the trial stimulator....but not quite ready yet!

    Happy holidays! Hope it's a great...pain free weekend! Tall order, believe me, I know! =)

  2. I too am sorry that it hasn't been as helpful as everyone was hoping.
    HOw long after the surgery did you feel "recovered"?

  3. Jessica, you should consider the trial stimulator... but on when you're ready. I'm happy to help, any way that I can. I hope you have a happy holiday, as well.

    Migrainista, I really don't remember how long after the surgery I felt "recovered" (of course, it depends on what "recovered" really means). I had some difficulty recovering, and some complications that my doctor hadn't really seen before (aren't I special?). He said that it took me much longer than most patients he's experienced. I think part of it was that I'm sooo underweight. The leads (and connectors) are much more tender and painful because there's not much there for them to "sink in to." I can tell when I lose any more weight because the tenderness increases. I guess everyone's just different... and it's hard to know how each person will respond.

  4. Jamie,
    I ran into your blog after seeing the Dr Reed on Dr. TV today. I googled the preceedure and found your blog.

    My husband has had daily headache and/or migraine almost 4 years now. We have looked into this treatment, and have had Drs recommend it, but unfortunately we have lost all appeals with our insurance company to date.

    I am so sorry to see that it has not been all that you had hoped it to be. Keep hope. There is sunshine ahead. On those rough days that you know so well, as does my husband, all you can hold on to is hope.

  5. Denise G, I'm glad you came across my blog. I've read some on your blog (and will continue to do so). I wonder where you went about the neuro-stim procedure. The office where I went fought a lot with my insurance company to get it approved for me. If you'd like to discuss it some "off the record" (i.e., not visible on the blog), I'd be open to that... if you'd like, you can leave a comment with your email address, and I'll shoot you an email (then delete the comment).

    Thank you for reminding me to keep hope... it really is the only way to get through those rough days.



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