Let me tell you about my experience as a new patient of Texas Parkinson and Movement Disorders since December of 2016.
To me, my situation was dire. I was approaching my 9th year of dealing with Parkinson’s and was uncomfortable with the direction my former neurologist was taking me – surgery, not drugs. To make matters worse, I was leaving in less than a month to travel 2,000 miles away for the December holidays where I was unknown to the medical community there.
I called the office for an appointment and was surprised to receive one in a few days. As a new patient I didn’t have to wait the typical “month”.
From the beginning, Dr. Taneja and her staff made a point of knowing me and my medication schedule. We started “tweaking” the dosages and learned quickly that I was sensitive to the medication; in fact, needed less than the standard “starter” dose. Dr. Taneja even offered to see me 3 more times to check my compatibility with each change in dosage before we both left town.
In addition, the office responds quickly to phone calls and has assisted immensely in the reduction of drug costs for drugs not on the formulary list.
In 2008, Abid Bhimani's visit to a neurologist for his trembling hand and painful finger contraction changed his life.
"I am a strong person, but the neurologist made a diagnosis that was scary for me and my family" Abid said. "It was Parkinson's disease."
Although greatly troubled by the news, the 57-year-old husband and father left he doctor's office determined to find out as much as he could about the disorder and to take on any treatment that might help. He learned that the shaking in his hand is a characteristic of Parkinson's disease tremor and that young onset patients like himself can experience dystonia, which causes painful involuntary contractions.
Abid's neurologist prescribed Sinemet but when he didn't tolerate the medication well and the painful dystonia didn't subside, the discussion turned to deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS is a surgical treatment option that uses an implant to deliver electrical stimulation to specific parts of the brain. The approach has been shown to correct abnormal firing of nerve cell networks to help alleviate symptoms of Parkinson's disease and dystonia.
PRECISE CARE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Abid was ready to give DBS a shot, and a deep brain stimulator was successfully placed at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas during a delicate four-hour procedure. Surgery helped his tremors, pain and functioning but he still struggled with mild dystonia.
Early in 2004, another life changing experience would present itself to Abid- this time in a positive way. A relocation from the area by Abid's neurologist resulted in a referral to Aanchal Taneja, M.D. The new connection would bring improvements that Abid never expected.
"When I met with Dr. Taneja, I knew right away that her goal was to make a difference," Abid said. " I was okay with my current course of treatment, but Dr. Taneja saw a greater potential. She started looking at my medication and DBS therapy, and how she could make me feel better."
" My approach as a movement disorders and Parkinson's disease specialist is to marry science with the patient's lifestyle so that the patient may experience improved quality of life," Dr. Taneja said." Although Abid was doing reasonably well when I first met with him, he still had some symptoms that could be improved. I mapped his DBS electrodes by testing each contact point for the best benefit with the least side effects. Based on those results, I knew I could improve his symptoms so I fine tuned his DBS setting. In addition, I was concerned about side effects that he was not even aware of. After counseling and talking with his family, I encouraged him to change his medication regimen. Once I encouraged him to switch back to his original drug therapy, which was best for him, the improvements were dramatic."
" Now that the new regimen, Abid is able to tolerate Sinemet again. This has made a significant difference in relieving his painful dystonia and other outcomes of his treatment. I now see Abid every three months to review the effectiveness of his medication and to evaluate the disease progression. For Abid and all of my Parkinson's patients, I always want to look at how they are doing both clinically and in real life. I ask myself, 'How can I make their quality of life better?' Abid tells me that he feels 99.9% improved. That's what matters," she added.
AN APPROACH THAT WORKS
"Less programming has made me feel better and more confident about the future," Abid shared. "I used to be depressed and my family was suffering. Now my finger is normal, I have zero pain, my strength has returned and I am much happier. Life is how i hoped it would be after the treatment. I have been blessed with superb care. I do some yoga now and take night walks. Everything Dr. Taneja recommends I do, and it works."
After hearing Dr. Taneja, I was struck by her knowledge of the most current information and technology available for Parkinson's Disease which I have been dealing with for many years. At that point, I decided to change doctors and am very confident in the treatment I am receiving from her. I feel like she always listens to my concerns and questions and is available to address them. After Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery, my ability to function has dramatically improved. Some of the improvements include walking with out any support after previously freezing or shuffling frequently, general freedom from hand tremors during the daytime and often at night, sitting upright without sliding down, an overall "well" or normal feeling, absence of incontinence at night or under stress, and a return to normal facial expressions. Although the decision to have surgery was difficult, I am so pleased with the ability to feel and function in a much more normal manner.