Patient Testimonials and Reviews
Things were out of control and I knew something was wrong.
During a trip to the supermarket I was pushing the cart and began moving uncontrollably faster until I crashed into the shelves. My problem had progressed to the point that while walking I would routinely speed up and collide with things. Because of this condition I would fall a lot and on separate occasions fractured my nose, my finger and big toe. The fire department had to come to my house two different times because of my horrific falls. Things were out of control and I knew something was wrong.
Several different physicians over the past few years did medical workups on me and they all came to the same conclusion – I was diabetic so neuropathy seemed like an easy diagnosis for them. From the get-go, I knew it was something else. After one of the falls, I ended up in yet another hospital. The hospital staff asked me where I wanted to go for a couple of weeks for walking rehabilitation. I told them St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. I previously had physical rehabilatation therapy at St. Mary’s and I really liked the hospital and staff.
The first time I met Dr. Arif Dalvi, a neurologist with the Palm Beach Neuroscience Institute (PBNI), I was using a walker. I could not get up to the examining table, I even had trouble getting up on the scale to be weighed. Right then and there, Dr. Dalvi spent an hour with me. He diagnosed me correctly with two neurological disorders: normal pressure hydrocephalus and Parkinson’s disease. He started my treatment plan and put me on a medication for Parkinson’s disease called Levodopa.
Dr. Dalvi wanted to make sure I was responding properly to the medication so he sent me for a DaTscan test, a brain scan that checks whether dopamine levels in my brain were at proper levels. The DaTscan was performed at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Dr. Dalvi said to me at a follow-up appointment at PBNI that the test showed I was responding to the Levodopa medication and that’s what counts.In additon, CAT scans indicated excess fluid around my brain.
To treat the normal pressure hydrocephalus, a harmful fluid buildup in my brain, Dr. Dalvi referred me to a neurosurgeon. During the surgery, a laparoscopic ventricle peritoneal shunt procedure was performed to relieve harmful fluid buildup in my brain. When I entered St. Mary’s for the neurosurgery I was in a wheelchair and when I walked out of the hospital the next day I was using a cane. Now that the pressure has been relieved from my brain, Dr. Dalvi is continuing my treatment plan with the daily dosage of medication for Parkinson’s disease and at the present time I am no longer using the cane.
Once I went on the proper medication everything in my life changed for the better. My wife Wendy told me she thought I was 100 percent better after Dr. Dalvi’s treatments. She is so happy with the care he provided. She went through a very difficult time for approximately six months taking care of me and helping me do simple tasks we all take for granted. You don’t appreciate being able to walk until it is taken away from you. A simple task like carrying a glass or being able to sit or stand can also be taken for granted. Witnessing me fall so many times made her very nervous and reluctant to see me without the walker or cane. She is now confident that I can walk without the cane and happy with the care Dr. Dalvi has provided. He is the first doctor to recognize my problem and treat me with the proper diagnosis.
For several years, other doctors would tell me, “you don’t look like a Parkinson patient, you are too strong.” They didn’t go one step further and take the time to listen to what I had to say. Dr. Dalvi is very knowledgeable in his profession, but he is more than that. He cares about his patients. He is polite and professional. I remember on our first visit his words to me were “we want you to have quality of life.” This is so true and now I have it, he gave it back to me! It’s been a pleasure having him treat me.
I can now shop at the supermarket like a normal person. I am not crashing into things and hurting myself. Before finding Dr. Dalvi, things had gotten so bad I rarely left the house. I remember one time when it took me an hour just to get out of a chair and now, I can go out to dinner with my wife. Dr. Dalvi saved my life and I am back on track. This fairy tale has a happy ending. My wife Wendy and I are now planning a holiday cruise at the end of the year! Thank you Dr. Dalvi for giving me my life back!
Gerard Brier, retired biology teacher and high school swim coach, Unity of the Palm Beaches Church Member, West Palm Beach resident
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009 and I was put on medication for six years before I met Dr. Arif Dalvi, a neurologist specializing in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders. Dr. Dalvi is an expert in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) programming which treats the uncontrollable shaking and tremors associated with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Dalvi, along with Dr. Lloyd Zucker, a neurosurgeon on staff at Delray Medical Center, performed two surgeries to implant electronic leads in my brain, which connected to a neurostimulator in my chest. Dr. Dalvi can program the neurostimulator to send electric impulses to my brain, affecting my sense of smell, sensory processes and signals, motor systems in the brain and in controlling the motor systems of the brain which are responsible for voluntary bodily movement and coordination. These brain impulses help slow or shut off my tremor caused from Parkinson’s disease.
First, Dr. Dalvi mapped my brain using microelectrode recording during an MRI and other consults. I wasn’t even asleep while the neurosurgeon, drilled the hole. Then, Dr. Zucker implanted electronic leads in my brain. During the second surgery, Dr. Zucker implanted the neurostimulator in my chest and Dr. Dalvi assisted by testing the leads in my brain that Dr. Zucker connected to the neurostimulator. I was awake during both procedures.
Dr. Dalvi connected the neurostimulator to the thalamus in my brain to control my tremor. I could hear the drill and I heard them say, “irrigation and suction.” There’s no pain, you can just hear everything. Dr. Dalvi was checking my joints during the surgery. He would ask me to touch my nose and put my arm out. Then, Dr. Dalvi programmed the neurostimulator during the surgery and I was watching as my shaking tremor stopped, which was remarkable.
I see Dr. Dalvi at his PBNI office in West Palm Beach about every three months and he tweaks the neurostimulator with his computer that is connected to the device. He’s always monitoring my health with this technique. Dr. Dalvi is very confident and I like that. He has conducted over 500 DBS surgeries and Dr. Zucker has completed over 150 DBS surgeries.
My wife, Marie Brier said, “he went home the next day after surgery and ten days later he came back for the second surgery to have the neurostimulator implanted. He went home the same day after the surgery and Dr. Dalvi will tweak if he has to.”
A good year before the tremors started, I lost my sense of smell. I found out later that is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. But, you wouldn’t realize that if you weren’t familiar with the disease. If you have loss of smell, go see a neurologist. I think sometimes when we get older we take things for granted and that’s what I did.
Prior to finding Dr. Dalvi, I was going to a neurologist in Boca Raton. He was treating me with Botox, which didn’t seem to do anything.
Mrs. Brier said finding Dr. Dalvi was a happy accident.
“My lip was numb after a hospital stay and I went to my primary care, which sent me to a neurologist. When I told them my husband has Parkinson’s disease and the staff all said to us, you have to see this Dr. Dalvi, he just came here from Chicago, and he does this procedure no one else does around here. We made an appointment with Dr. Dalvi that same day,” said Marie Brier.
The first time he turned on my neurostimulator, it felt tingly for a second, but since then I haven’t felt anything.
Today, I can punch in numbers on my cell phone and even text. I couldn’t do that before my tremors were treated with DBS. I can play solitaire on my iPad. Simple things like that – it’s quality of life – which is better. I always carried a cup of coffee in my left hand because I’m a lefty and before this surgery, I would spill it before I got over to the couch.
“Before this surgery, he would fall all over the place. He broke two windows in the house. He actually fell into the window, but he fixed them before I got home and never told me about them,” said Marie.
We’ve been married for 27 years. We went to high school with each other and knew each other as kids, were never an item, until our 20th high school reunion, which was our first date. We’re from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I was a teacher and swim coach for 32 years. I was always active and swam competitively, freestyle and butterfly mainly. When I came to Florida, I would swim a mile every day. That’s something that has gradually digressed. I do a half-a-mile now. I walk the shallow and swim the deep. I had a rule, I wouldn’t go anywhere without riding a bicycle. Now, I have a five-mile course charted. Exercise is better than medicine.
We go to a church, Unity of the Palm Beaches, which believes in meditation along with prayer and everything else. My meditating and breathing helped me through this whole thing. They put in the church bulletin when I was having surgery and we had at least 200 people praying for me. We definitely believe in the power of prayer. What a miracle! Our prayers worked. Today, I have my confidence back and I expect to live a long life.
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