Vagus Nerve Stimulator . . . VNS . . .1 Year

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On October 4th last year (20015) I had the Vagus Nerve Stimulator put in my chest, image A. The device sends a small impulse through my vagus nerve into my brain stem in attempts to control my seizures. It took eleven months to get the device up to therapeutic level. Which is 2.75 miliamperes per every 1.7 minutes. I have no clue how all of that works, I just know that it is a huge answer to prayer for me.

Every three months for eleven months I saw my doctor, Robert T. Wechesler or the PA Jessica Bishop for adjustments. My device was adjusted slowly and if the pulse was too much for me to take I went in and had it turned down. The wand in image B is placed over the device in my chest and after receiving information from my device it is used to adjust the settings.

Ten days after having the device installed it is turned on. It doesn't happen the day of the surgery or even the day after. That was the most frustrating for me. I wanted it turned on that day. I now know that my vagus nerve would've been in a lot of pain immediately afterwards.

I have the newest model which has a heart sensor in it. At the time of surgery I had an EKG just before to get my resting heart rate. Why? It is believed that a patient's heart rate increases when they have a seizure. So, the device is set to a percentage above the resting heart rate to catch seizures. At one point the sensitivity was so sensitive that just standing up had the device going off and it hurt! That had to be adjusted several times. I was in the office three or four times in one week. It was a little crazy!

While the device has been on for a year I have not been seizure free from the moment it was turned on. Getting the device set to me took lots of trial and error. Now that I am at therapeutic dose for the VNS and my medication I have been seizure free for six weeks!
The VNS is not in replacement of medication, nor is it the be all end all. Most patients still require medication although the dosing may be less if they have the VNS.
At this point I am still taking two medicines along with the VNS. I don't know if my doctor will consider lowering my anti-seizure meds. I doubt it because I have been seizure free and I want to stay that way.
Please feel free to leave questions in the comment section. I'll do my best to answer them.

Shining a light!


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