MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferer Graham Collinson has had his life transformed after a tiny device was fitted in his brain putting an end to vicious tremors which have plagued him since his devastating diagnosis.
The constant tremors down the right side of Graham’s body stopped him carrying out simple everyday tasks such as getting dressed or getting money out of his wallet.
But after undergoing a risky and complicated operation to fit electrodes into his brain sending a current around Graham’s body to help control the rapidly worsening tremor, the 43-year-old beamed: “I’ve got a quality of life back that I thought I had lost forever.”
Graham underwent the deep brain stimulation surgery in September last year.
The procedure, most commonly used for Parkinson’s sufferers, involved the surgeon implanting leads, which have electrodes at the end, into the brain.
The leads are then tunnelled under the skin to a device similar to a pacemaker which is fitted in the chest or stomach area.
Today, Graham told the Mail: “I want to thank the amazing surgeons who have made a world of difference to my life.
“They’ve given me my quality of life back, the ability to do simple everyday tasks that I thought I would never be able to do again.
“The device is my own miniature miracle.”
With his condition deteriorating and the tremor down the right side of his body getting worse, Graham was briefed about the possibility of undergoing the surgery last year.
After deliberating over whether to go ahead with the treatment, Graham decided he had nothing to lose.
And six weeks after he had the device fitted in September last year and the wounds had healed, it was then switched on, sending electrodes to the targeted area of the brain, which helps to controls the tremor.
He can now carry out simple everyday tasks that he has been unable to do for the last three years as he grew ever more frustrated with the condition.
“My tremor hasn’t completely disappeared, obviously, but it’s so much better than it was,” explained Graham, who a dad of Daniel, 21, who lives on Hartlepool Marina.
“I have had to get used to a worsening tremor since my diagnosis.
“The surgeon told me about this treatment but warned me of the risks. There was a risk of suffering a stroke, a brain bleed or getting an infection in the brain.
“I put it off for a while but with my tremor getting worse fast I thought I had nothing to lose and said I wanted to go for it.
“I never had any idea it would improve my quality of life so much.
“Things like getting dressed, brushing my teeth, fastening zips, getting money out of a wallet.
“They all seem like such simple everyday tasks but I couldn’t do any of them.
“Now I can, it’s just made a world of difference.”
Graham had worked all of his life as a carpet fitter and it was at work when he first noticed the tremor in his right arm.
He looked back on a frightening period in his life when he underwent various tests and scans to discover what was causing the problems.
“I remember the day I was diagnosed like it was yesterday,” he said.
“I had been for that many tests and I was always on the internet trying to find out what it was.
“To be honest I knew I was suffering with MS and as crazy as it sounds the diagnosis was a bit of a relief because it got to the point where I just wanted to know what was wrong, to put a label on it.”
Around 100,000 people in the UK suffer with MS, an incurable condition of the central nervous system.
As Graham’s condition inevitably gets worse, his neurologist can adjust the power of the electric current to control the tremor.
“On a morning when I switch it on I can feel it in my head as the power surges through,” he said.
“I can feel a slight electric shock as well.
“But that’s a small price to pay to get my quality of life back.”