Electroconvulsive thearapy

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by phillmill, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. phillmill

    phillmill New Member

    My wife has been in a major depression since Feb 06. She is being treated with meds and they have tried at least 5 different kinds. She is Bi-Polar and has been for 34 years. She also has Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia (CLL) stage 3 in remission and Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) stage 3b also in remission. She is getting a drug called Avastin once every three weeks to help keep the cancer in remission. Both cancers are not curable and inoperable.

    Here is the question. The doctors (psyc) say that the meds are not working and that ECT or a nursing home is my best solution. The nursing home is OUT, I just watched my father-in-law waste away in one with Alzheimer's and will not do that again. To have the ECT I have to stop the Avastin since it can cause bleeding. So to improve my wife's quality of life I am considering ECT. Doing it may risk her cancer treatment so I need some input on those out there who have had it recently. I know it results in loss of memory. My wife had ECT in 1972 and again in 1992. The first time it worked the second time it did not. Is it any better in 2006?? Right now my wife is like a zombie, in bed most of the time and unable to do very much for herself and requires a lot of care.

    Any ideas?? PHIL
  2. ulala

    ulala New Member

    on this. The treatment they did was make a small incision in the head while the patient was awake and not anesthesized. It was amazing and they are getting great results. You could actually see the person changing from sad to happy while they stimulated certain nerve connections.

    See if you can find a transcript from this past Sunday's 60 minutes.

  3. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    There is a treatment called transcranial magntic stimulation (TMS) that you may look into. It's being studied as an alternative to ECT in cases of severe depression. There's a lot of info on wikipedia, and it was featured in a documentary on depression treatments called "Fighting the Dragon." It's rather new and I don't know if it's widely available.

    The surgery ulala mentioned has only been done on a handful of people and is still considered experimental, with just a couple of doctors doing it so far. I don't know if it will be available.

    Some approaches you may have tried are naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine.

    My heart goes out to you and your wife. I'm sure we all admire you here for fighting these diseases as you are doing. Have you seen the depression forum here? They may have more information to help you. Can you get a second (or third) oppinion from any other psych doctors?
    (( )) Shannon
  4. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    You can read old posts on ECT by typing it into the search box at the top left.
  5. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    I just wanted to tell you I admire your dedication to help your wife in her condition. In today's world we see far to many partners walk away when one has such an Illness.

    I have a wonderful Husband who has always been here for me. I just want you to know weather your wife can express it at times or not I know from experience She deeply loves and appreciates your caring and love for her. Thank you for being such a Good Person.
  6. TXFMmom

    TXFMmom New Member

    First of all, they are seeing some good results with the trans electrical stimulation, and since your wife would have to endanger her cancer treatment to get the ECT, were it me, I would check it out before ECT.

    I have actually given Anesthesia for ECT, and it worked for some patients. Being able to enjoy the life and the time we have, is sometimes, as important as the length.

    With all her torubles and challenges, I can understand why she would go into the deep depression.

    Perhaps, the stimulator could give her the treatment and the assistance she needs, but perhaps, some assistance from home health nursing and other things could avert a Nursing Home.

    Make sure they are doing blood levels and making sure that the drugs are being metabolized and given in a manner which does not cause difficulties in absorption, etc. and then explore the stimulation, and then decide upon the ECT one way or the other.

    In the meantimes, explore every last thing to get programs which can offer you and she some way to assist you in keeping her home. Often, a social worker will be aware of all the programs and can assist you, but question, question, question them.
  7. maedaze

    maedaze New Member

    I am so sorry your in this position, it's a very tough call to make decisions for someone you love and not know whether it will work or not.

    My best friend was in this position 2 yrs ago with her brother. He has been schitzofrenic (sorry dont know how to spell it) for over 12 yrs when his medication stopped working. They did try all the new drugs but nothing worked and they were the only other option was ECT.

    My friend wasn't happy with that as all we'd heard were the 'horror stories' of years ago. After quite a few visits with his doctor my friend decided to sign the papers with the hope it would give her brother some sort of normal life. By this time he was looking at spending the rest of his life in a mental ward. They did his ECT with anesthetic over a period of a few weeks.

    And I have to say it has worked for him and it worked remarkably quickly. He now lives with his girlfriend, is still schitzophrenic and takes medication every day. But without ECT he would still be locked up.

    But then you have the added problem of stopping her cancer treatment. What does her cancer specialist think? Or is he the one who thinks she should be in a rest home?
    Talk to the doctors who do the ECT, my friend found them fabulous to deal with and answered all her questions. Even though it's a common thing to them they realise it is a huge decision for others to commit to.

    I wish you all the best and your wife. You are doing a wonderful job of looking after her and i hope you get told that often.

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