An inspiring story for
Parkinson Awareness Month
Glenn Hogan gets a new lease on life by way of Deep Brain Stimulation
By Lisa Mintz
For April, Parkinson Awareness Month, Parkinson Canada in Quebec would like to present South Shore resident Glenn Hogan’s success story. Glenn was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s at age 44. He was not ready to leave work and change his life even as his symptoms became debilitating.
Glenn explains, “Like most people who get diagnosed, first I went through denial, hoping to avoid taking medications. That did not work out so I started taking Parkinson meds. As the disease progressed so did the medications. I was beginning to realize that this was not going to disappear. After 6 years, at age 50, I was declining rapidly. The tremors had spread to both sides of my body and I had developed severe cramps in my left foot caused by too many Parkinson’s meds. My neurologist told me it was time to consider a brain surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation. In my mind there was nothing to consider, I could not go on living this way.”
Glenn was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s at age 44. He was not ready to leave work and change his life even as his symptoms became debilitating.
Deep Brain Stimulation has been likened to a pacemaker for the brain. Very fine electrodes are implanted in the brain giving off weak electrical impulses that help relieve motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Although Glenn’s surgery was successful and greatly reduced his symptoms, he contracted a rare staph infection and the device had to be removed.
Not to be kept down, Glenn, now 53 recently underwent the 12-hour surgery for a second time. “DBS is a game-changer”, Glenn said, “It may not be a cure but is the closest thing we have to it. I have reduced my meds from twenty-one pills per day to just four. It is hard work but I am definitely getting my life back on track.”
Glenn continues, “We need Parkinson Canada to continue spreading awareness about this misunderstood degenerative disease. Parkinson’s disease is so much more than tremors! We also need them to continue raising funds so that we may improve and find better therapies until one day a cure is found.”
Highlights of 2020, Parkinson Canada’s 55th anniversary:
- The publication of the second edition of the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson Disease, which guide healthcare professionals in clinical practice. More than 100,000 copies have been downloaded since its release in September 2019.
- The Parkinson Canada Research Program has supported 22 research projects and student grants in Quebec in 2019 at Laval University, McGill University, the University of Montreal and the University of Quebec at Montreal.
‘DBS is a game-changer… It may not be a cure but is the closest thing we have to it.’
A few facts about Parkinson’s disease:
- 100 000 Canadians, 25 000 of whom are Quebecers, live with Parkinson’s disease. This number will double in the next 15 years.
- One out of five is younger than 50 years of age.
- Health care professionals from a dozen specialties may be needed to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
- Motor symptoms include: rigidity, slowness, posture and gait changes as well as tremors.
- There are about 20 possible non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, ranging from sleep disorders, depression and incontinence to speaking and swallowing difficulties.
About Parkinson Canada
Parkinson Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease. From diagnosis to discovery, the organization provides education, advocacy and support services to people living with Parkinson’s, caregivers and health care professionals. The Parkinson Canada Research Program funds innovative research to search for better treatments and a cure. Parkinson Canada pursues a pan Canadian mandate while keeping regional specificities through its eight offices in Canada. The Quebec office is based in Montreal. Visit parkinson.ca
Feature image: courtesy of Parkinson.comRead also: other articles by Lisa Mintz
Lisa Mintz is the Community Development Coordinator at Parkinson Canada.