Things Worth Getting Your Head Stapled: An Update

As I chronicled here in previous posts, a little over a year ago I had a series of surgeries to address an essential tremor that had gotten in the way of living a normal life. For those of you who didn’t read, these surgeries included running wires deep into my brain and then connecting those wires to batteries placed in my chest. The batteries send signals to my brain that in turn steady my hands and head.

The initial results of the surgery were impressive. Even before the batteries were turned on, the swelling in my brain related to the placement of the wires steadied my hands in ways that I hadn’t experienced since my early 20’s. When my batteries were initially set by my neurologist, the tremors were gone but the side effects were significant. Notably, I had “spidery” feelings in my legs and a pull on the corner of my mouth that made it more difficult to talk. So, back to the neurologist I went to have my batteries turned down until my body got used to the extra current running through my brain.

Over time, we increased the voltage which diminished the tremors but increased the side-effects. It was always a trade-off. I found it easy, however, to live with the mild side-effects for the benefit of a reduced tremor.

About three months ago, however, my tremors, especially in my left hand, came back significantly. I had feelings that I hadn’t had since before the surgery. It was discouraging. However, my side effects were also gone. I had room to move up.

I’ve had two adjustments in the last two months. When I first had my batteries set, I could barely tolerate 1.8 volts on the right side of my brain (which affects my left side). Today, the right side was set at 2.3 volts. When they upped the voltage a little over a month ago, the tremor improved briefly, but then got a bit worse. But, again, I had no side effects. Today, I left the doctor’s office with very little tremor, but with a slight side-effect in my left leg.

So, I don’t know what the limits are in terms of voltage. I don’t know how much of this is my body getting used to having extra current running through it and absorbing the effect. I don’t know how much of this is my tremor getting worse. I don’t know how much room I still have to adjust the multiple setting on the batteries (voltage is only one variable). But today, my hands are steady and I am pleased.

About Mark Love

I am the Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who lives in Portland, OR. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and three amazing granddaughters.
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9 Responses to Things Worth Getting Your Head Stapled: An Update

  1. Anne Vyn says:

    Wow, Mark, I have never even heard of the procedures you are describing. I’ll keep your situation in prayer and trust that the Lord will bring balance and healing where needed. May God bless you and encourage your heart in His love, brother.

  2. Craig Brown says:

    Lord, please bring your healing to Mark’s body. Thank you for the times of improvement he’s experienced. Bring your power and strength into his daily tasks. Bring others alongside him to share the load. Thank you for how Mark serves so many with his teaching, preaching, and writing. Bless him with your peace. In the cause of Jesus … amen.

  3. Cathy moore says:

    Hey Mark,
    Happy to hear today is better than yesterday. Hope you get all of this balanced. My good friend s father has had a similar setup for a few years and has had great results. Best wishes – cathy and chris

  4. Nancy says:


  5. Sue says:

    My father- in-law had this procedure done several years ago when it was still very new! You are the only other person I have heard/known to have this done!

  6. Richard McCoy says:

    Wait a minute, they bumped the voltage by roughly half a volt and you don’t ask what the parameters tend to be? Since I know just about nothing about electricity, where does wattage and amperage figure into this equation?

  7. I find – Gulvafslibning | Kurt Gulvmand important. I had been wondering myself about this, though not any more on account of this particular clever explanation.

  8. Cindy Wilson Deskis says:

    I had NO idea that you had even had a scary issue like this! What an amazing story. I’m praising God for medical breakthroughs as well as your courage. I will pray for continued blessings for you my friend.
    Tiffany was my 13th pregnancy. I have a chromizome issue & was told my odds for carrying a baby to term was only 25%…but with GOD all things are possible!!! YES???!!! YESSSS!

  9. eurlog says:

    Mark, a friend of mine had DBS for Parkinsons installed. Anyone who goes through that surgery has my utmost respect and admiration.

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