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Device 'Programs' Relief For Dighton Woman With Parkinson's Disease

DIGHTON (CBS) - Jillian Courcy of Dighton had just given birth to her second son when she started experiencing hand tremors and slurred speech at the age of 34.

She had Parkinson's disease.

"I was diagnosed in 2006, late 2006 into 2007," she told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

All of sudden, Jillian's world was turned upside down.

"I couldn't make pancakes. I couldn't stand up. I was having a hard time thinking, these are the dreams I have, I should be able to make dinners for my family, mow the lawn, do different things around the house that I used to be able to do that I can't do so well as much any more, like gardening. I used to love being able to garden. But to grab things with my hands, the fine motor movements, it's not easy for me to do those things any more," Courcy said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports


But then, last month, at Rhode Island Hospital, she underwent surgery. It's a relatively new procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation, also known as DBS.

"It has probes that go into it, like little conductors on it, that go into the back of the brain. They place these two little probes into your brain," she said.

The probes in the brain receive an electric stimulus from a device implanted in her neck, a device which Jillian controls with a small remote.

She was just programmed last week.

"I got turned on and programmed on May 4th. It took about three hours."

She noticed a difference immediately.

The shaking stopped.   She's able to speak coherently and she's able to keep going.

So how has it changed her outlook?

"It's made me feel like I've got my old life back, that I can do things that I haven't been able to do over the past few years because of the progression getting worse.  I'm very hopeful they will find a cure in my lifetime."

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