Patient progressing after unique brain surgery

August 18, 2009 8:02:23 PM PDT
There is an update on a man who traveled to the Bay Area from Idaho for a unique brain surgery -- thanks in part to the generosity of thousands of people he's never met.

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When Ryan Stockdale first arrived in the Bay Area to undergo an experimental brain surgery, he'd already traveled a long and painful road.

Using home video, his family documented the effects of the cluster headaches so severe, that they leave him crippled and incapacitated for days at a time.

Original story: Donors raise thousands to cure man's headache

But two weeks ago, doctors at UCSF implanted four tiny electrodes in his brain. The technique, known as deep brain stimulation was pioneered to control the neurological symptoms of diseases like Parkinson's. After giving him time to recover from the surgery, doctors activated one of the electrodes the first weekend in August.

"They turned it on and he starts to see double and it kind of made him pretty nauseated and dizzy," said Karia Stockdale, Ryan's wife.

Karia and three of his children accompanied him from Idaho, where a fundraising drive pulled in more than $80,000 to pay for his treatment, which his insurance doesn't cover. The family is hopeful, but knows the electrode stimulation may take months to show results, if at all.

"They can each go up to four volts. So it's going to be over the next four months, mixing and matching to see how high the voltage needs to be and which ones need to be turned on to get the maximum benefit," said Karia.

However, Karina says they're ready to make as many trips as it takes, to give him the best chance of finally finding relief.

ABC7 spoke with Ryan Stockdale's family from Idaho and his wife Karia says overall pain level has gone down slightly. They've scheduled a follow up appointment at UCSF later this month.

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