One Week In

I started the NeuroStar TMS treatment Tuesday. Several people have expressed interest in the treatment so I’ll share what it’s been like for me thus far.

This is Creepy Santa. He hangs out in my neighbor’s yard. Creepy Santa sees you when you’re leaving. He knows when you get home.

NeuroStar transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) targets, “key areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression (NeuroStar website).” This treatment is for those of us who have not had long-term success with medication therapy.

Creepy Santa has a bad habit of getting drunk and falling over during the night.

Most insurance companies will pay for the treatment if you can show you’ve tried a variety of medications but none have worked for you. My insurance requires me to pay my co-pay with every treatment, and since I get treatment five days a week, that’s going to cost me, but I have nothing to lose so I’m going for it.

Santa’s not eating like he should; probably because he spends all his time spying on the women on our street. This guy has issues!

My treatment program will include 36 sessions. During the first session my brain was “mapped.” They were stimulating my Primary Motor Cortex looking for the spot that made my right thumb jump. This can take an hour or more to locate. For me it took approximately 35 minutes. Once they found that sweet spot, they could locate my Prefrontal Cortex. This is the part of my brain the TMS stimulates.

Snuck a selfie during a session

I was able to schedule my treatment sessions after work so there’s no disruption to my work life. During each 30-minute treatment I recline in a chair not unlike a dentist chair. A piece of equipment is placed against the left side of my head and a headrest on the right side of my head. Treatment consists of a series of magnetic “taps” on my head followed by a short rest period. To me it feels like a woodpecker tapping on my head, but the treatment is not invasive and there’s no soreness afterward. I sit and play games on my phone during treatment and before you know it I’m done. Afterward I can resume regular activities.

Leroy came in to warm up this week and let me rub his belly.

I was told I’d start noticing improvement about halfway through, but I’m already noticing some change. It could be a placebo effect, but my treatment nurse did say some people do experience changes in mood early in treatment. In my case I feel more energized and less overwhelmed. I’ve caught myself singing, which is something I usually do when I’m feeling good. I smiled and waved at two neighbors yesterday while walking with Molly, which is something I don’t normally do. And have you seen my Facebook postings? I’ve posted more in the past week than I have in months. That’s different.

No matter how wild and crazy Creepy Santa gets the night before, he always manages to come back to life the next evening.

I’m excited about these changes and I’m hoping it lasts. I’ll keep you posted on how things go and after treatment ends I’ll tell you if it was worth it.

18 thoughts on “One Week In

  1. Hopefully you continue to feel better. We recently received a notice from a newly opened clinic to treat depression that mentioned the use of Ketamine. We decided we weren’t quite THAT depressed yet.

  2. I hope the improvement continues.

    Santa’s chair needs securing to the ground! If there’s a really windy night he could wake up anywhere!

    The grass looks quite brown. Is it still warm and dry where you are?

    1. Oh no. December ushers in the rainy season, where the temperatures play a game of chicken with the rain. Every once in awhile they both go full-tilt and we end up with snow. Or ice. But mostly it’ll be rain.

  3. Jen! We’re cautiously excited about the improvement you’re experiencing after just a few NeuroStar TMS treatments. And glad that your insurance is covering it. Fingers crossed! Oh, and nice cat mask. 🙂

    You cracked us up about Creepy Santa being a drunkard. Hahaha.

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