I loved my job as a nurse practitioner for the Department of Veterans Affairs in my home state of Montana. I helped service members improve their health and wellbeing, but an essential tremor in my hand began to affect my work and eventually forced me into early retirement in March of 2017.
I was familiar with how devastating essential tremors could be after watching my father struggle with his- eventually needing help to dress and feed himself.
I wanted to avoid that same fate and began earnestly looking into treatment options for essential tremors. Deep brain stimulation was a treatment I had heard about, but given my healthcare background, the risks associated with the procedure made me wary. Then, some internet research led me to more information on focused ultrasound.
As I read through the research papers and learned more about the technology, I was impressed the procedure was noninvasive, meaning a decreased risk in side-effects and speedy recovery time. I decided that this the way I want to go, but there was a catch. Medicare and my insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure, but I was able to cover the cost thanks to friends and family’s contributions to an online fundraising page.
In June of 2017, I traveled to California for my procedure. Coming out of the MRI machine, my hand was completely steady and has stayed that way ever since! I was even able to go back to work as a nurse!
Because of my experience, both as a patient and a nurse practitioner, I have a unique opportunity to educate patients and other physicians about the benefits of focused ultrasound. Now I’m on a mission to educate anyone else who could benefit from this technology about how focused ultrasound worked so well for me.
That’s why I traveled to D.C. to meet with lawmakers and raise awareness about the efficacy of this incredible technology. I want our elected officials to understand the benefits and successes of this treatment so more patients can have the opportunity to improve their quality of life.