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My transcranial magnetic stimulation experience

1. DAYS 1 & 2  
A. The TMS team tried to do brain mapping to determine my motor threshold, but they couldn’t get my fingers to move at all.  They gave up after trying about a dozen variations of coil location and pulse intensity.  They asked me to come back in a week. They said that I should drink espresso before my next appointment to help with nerve stimulation. They also said I should eat steak and spinach the night before in case my low iron levels impacted my nerve stimulation (I struggle with low iron.)
B. At my second appointment, the TMS team tried the mapping (to determine the motor threshold) again to no avail. They tried multiple positions of the coil with varying strengths and still no movement in my fingers. Surprisingly, they continued with treatment anyways. I’m not sure how continuing treatment without establishing my motor threshold was a scientifically appropriate thing to do, nor how (or if) I’d benefit from treatment when mapping produced no confirmable results.
C. 1st treatment
After the first treatment began, it was much stronger than I anticipated feeling. I had used a tens unit in the past, and I mistakenly thought TMS would be similar to that. While it didn’t hurt, it still was surprisingly strong, and it was annoying. I could feel it in the roof of my mouth and my teeth during each set of pulses. My left eye watered the entire treatment. (Treatment was on the left side.)  Almost the entire time I was thinking to myself “and I’m paying for people to do this to me, why?“After my appointment was done, I called my husband to discuss how TMS treatment is much different than I expected, and that I was wondering if it was the right thing for me to do or not. It didn’t make logical, scientific sense to me that something that strong was not doing damage to me.  I suspected 36 treatments at this intensity level (at the time, I didn’t realize they increase the intensity level each session) would cause some brain damage, but I couldn’t find anything online to support my suspicion (yet).


D. 2nd & 3rd Treatments
i. Eye watering continued all throughout each treatment
ii. Feeling it in the roof of my mouth and teeth continued during each set of pulses
iii. Wondering why I kept going
E. 4th treatment
I. I cried on the way to the appointment, during the appointment and on the way home. I’ve never done that before. I felt worthless and alone.
II. Eye watering throughout treatment
III. Feeling in roof of mouth and teeth during each set of pulses
IV. Emailed my primary care physician to see if he had any thoughts on TMS. He said that he had not heard of it, but he researched it on a trusted site, and found that while there were some promising signs, there were also some concerns, and he thought that it was reasonable for me to reconsider treatment.

F. 5th & 6th treatment
I. Eye watering throughout treatment
II. Felt in the opposite side of my head, the roof of my mouth and in my teeth during each set of pulses
III. Called my neurologist to see if he knew if TMS could cause damage and he said he couldn’t speak to it because he had never heard of it.
IV. Joined a FB group and read stories and links and decided TMS wasn’t for me due to the likely electrical injury that TMS would cause.
V. Sent an email to Success TMS to let them know I wanted to stop treatment. 
G. One Day after 6th treatment
I. Pain on scalp where treatment had occurred that didn’t dissipate with pain meds.  Within a few hours, the pain radiated and my left ear felt like I was under water. A few hours after that, I felt a stabbing pain down the middle of my skull. Rest, Advil, Excedrin and hydrocodone did nothing to ease the worsening pain.

– Anonymous TMS Patient

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