News

Debbie loving life after surgery

Debbie Molloy tells of her 16-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Photo: JoJo Newby
Debbie Molloy tells of her 16-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Photo: JoJo Newby

THERE'S something different about Debbie Molloy - and it's not just the hair cut.

A Parkinson's disease sufferer for 16 years, Debbie became dominated by pain and spasms in the latter half of last year to the point that she was lucky to have one hour of muscle control per day.

The rest of the time she was either "kicking out" and forced to stay still or stretch to overcome the pain or "kicking in" where her medication was overstimulating her nervous system and her body went into uncontrollable movements.

Having tried "everything" to deal with the debilitating disease, Debbie's only option was to have deep brain stimulation surgery - a revolutionary procedure in which a neurotransmitter is placed on each hemisphere of the brain and connected by wire to a battery back between the skin and the rib of the chest.

With the help of a massive fundraising effort from the Clarence Valley, led by Debbie's closest friend Trinette Reimer, the operation went ahead on February 10 this year.

The eight-and-a-half-hour operation at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital left Debbie with 37 staples in her scalp, two holes in her skull and a bit of extra hardware.

The battery pack now just above Debbie's right breast has two wires running under her skin and up the right side of her neck to her scalp where they go their separate ways to the neuro- stimulators on either side of her brain.

Debbie recharges her battery pack for 2.5 hours a week and it will need to be replaced in 2021.

Asked how she felt these days and Debbie replied enthusiastically "fantastic".

"I can do all the things I wasn't able to do for so long - I go for long walks and I am busy making my thank you cards," she said.

"I drove to Hervey Bay the other week - I couldn't even sit in the car for that long before.

"I just feel calmer within myself."

Debbie said she's still on some medication but she sometimes forgot to take it because she wasn't displaying any troubling symptoms.

Debbie's husband Lewis has even done some tweaking of the neurostimulators to get rid of some cramping in Debbie's right hand.

An external control box can determine the level of electronic stimulation emitted by the neurostimulators.

Though there is still some further fine tuning to be done to help correct her walk, Debbie said repeatedly the improvement she had experienced was "amazing".

Debbie said she would be ever grateful to the fundraising efforts that allowed her to have her life-changing operations.

The fundraising exceeded the initial aim of $20,000 with a $46,000 grand total and Debbie said the excess funds would be used for her ongoing treatment including "tweaking" with her doctors at $500 per consultation.

"People's generosity is just astounding," she said.

Debbie said she even took the supportive posters made by some McAuley students with her to Sydney for the operation.

More information can be found on deep brain stimulation, which is also used to treat Tourette's syndrome, dystonia and tremor, at sydneydbs.com.

Topics:  brain surgery debbie molloy fundraising help operation



Strong surf expected this weekend

Strong surf conditions expected to hit the NSW coast this weekend.

The NSW coast is expected to receive strong surf this weekend.

Prison officers fighting for some public recognition

Locked down. Solid steel doors, bolts and padlocks ensure the security of the prisoners and prison officers. The mural at the end of the block was painted by inmates.

For too long prison officers have been neglected. Now that's changed

Three news subscriptions and a free paper for $3 - saywhat?!

No Caption

FORGET everything you thought you knew about a great deal.

Local Partners

Skin clinic swims for charity

Yamba Skin Clinic jumps into the water to help raise money for the Cancer Council's Relay for Life.


5 things to do this weekend

Lower Clarence Relay for Life Swim

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Artist program to link to gallery theme

VALUABLE STINT: Indigenous artist Karla Dickens at work in Grafton Regional Gallery's studio during her 2010 artist's residency.

Gallery encouraging indigenous artists to take up residency offer

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Buderim man strips off for speed dating with a twist

RAW AMBITION: Buderim local Jackson pictured with his blind date Candice in a scene from SBS's new dating show Undressed.

People have done stranger things for love

Matthew McConaughey wrongly used as medical example

Doctor tried to steal credit for McConaughey's hair treatment

J.K. Rowling writes through severe back pain

An aching back couldn't stop J.K. Rowling catching inspiration

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Rates safe from land value hike

DRIVING GROWTH: The Pacific Highway upgrade has been linked to improved land values.

Figures up in latest valuer-general report

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!