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Thursday, December 26, 2013

“What results can I expect?”

What an absolutely great question and topic for discussion. “What results can I expect?” (posted December 26, 2013)

By the way and to Cyberonics website administrator you’ve listed a “dead link”. Try clicking on the link you’ve posted.

I’d like to share my views from the perspective of a very, very long-time support person to my spouse Joyce. Only my thoughts are shared from the standpoint of VNS Therapy for the depression patient as I am more knowledgeable as opposed to the issues of the epilepsy patient. Although, there are many points I address which are similar such as the VNS Therapy.

Knowing that which I do from my experiences, readings, research, knowledge and collaborations with both patients and medical professionals for half-century there still is no way of knowing in advance what therapy will or will not illicit a potentially favorable response and efficacy in the depression patient. Worse yet there is also no way of knowing which patient may or may not encounter potentially serious side-effects from any given therapy.

Some 50 years ago I coined a phrase which I still feel is applicable today, “The Trial and Error Approach to Wellness.”

After some 36 years of MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) Joyce was right back in another depressive episode and wanting to die to which I add that she had some 9 unsuccessful suicide attempts notched in her medical history. We were desperate. We had exhausted the pharmacopeia of drugs, holistic approaches, ECT etc. and had come off 9 months of mega-dosing of a relative new anti-depressant drug (Effexor XR) at the time which worked and then raised once again the refractory issue.

In our desperation I researched and found out about the initial trial for VNS Therapy for depression. Thanks to the Epilepsy community, Cyberonics initial early message forum on their website and collaboration with one young woman benefiting from VNS Therapy for her epilepsy, we embarked upon the unknown adventure of VNS Therapy for depression some 14 years ago.

In Joyce’s case the results of the therapy for depression has been nothing short of truly remarkable. We no longer discuss depression which at one time consumed every waking moment of our lives for more than 3 decades. In Joyce’s case she is also no longer on any anti-depressant medications.

While Joyce has benefited we are fully aware and cognizant of others who have not and worse yet some who have encountered additional serious side-effects. This is not to preclude the therapy is ineffective. It simply is no different than the many experiences we all have shared in common with numerous other therapies which may initially work and then peter-out or cause us to experience serious side-effects.

Whether epilepsy or depression patient we have shared many experience in common. For those of us who have benefited from the VNS Therapy and Joyce in particular, the VNS Therapy has worked like no other treatment in the 5 decades that she has battled her illness. There simply are no guarantees as to who will or will not respond to any given therapy and then maintain efficacy which brings us back to “The Trial and Error Approach to Wellness.”

With that said I can only advocate to the others who are challenged by their respective illnesses to continue their education and researching as I also encourage hope and persistence.



Joyce and Herbert Stein

1008 Trailmore Lane

Weston, FL 33326-2816

(954) 349-8733

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