Rochester, N.Y. (WROC) — Even on days when the sun was shining, Nancy Wheatley would wake up in her Fairport home in a dark place, searching for happiness but often coming up short.
And some days, were worse than others.
“Thinking of ways to hurt yourself, can’t find a reason to be here,” Nancy said.
The depression set in decades ago.
To knock it back, she has tried a lot.
“Multiple, multiple, multiple medications,” she said.
Nancy steered clear of a traditional procedure that triggers a brief seizure for fear of memory loss.
Then she heard of a relatively new treatment being offered at Rochester Regional Health.
Dr. Adrian Leibovici is a psychiatrist with RRH who administers the treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS.
“It’s a form of non-invasive electrical stimulation of a targeted area of the brain,” Dr. Leibovici said.
Dr. Leibovici says TMS is only for patients with severe depression that has not responded to previous treatment, but for those patients he claims TMS can be a game changer.
“I think it’s out there with a drug like Prozac in 1987, basically it expands the number of people who are willing to have treatment,” he said.
Earlier this year, Nancy started treatment, which includes a few dozen short sessions over 4-6 weeks.
“It sounds like a woodpecker pecking on your head, but you don’t feel anything,” she said.
Her son Collin Wheatley has already noticed a difference.
“Just communicating with my mom has overall improved,” he said.
As for Nancy, she says those dark thoughts are gone and light has returned.
“It’s nice to wake up in the morning and love to hear the birds sing in the morning,” she said.
TMS has a few potential side effects that might include a slight tingling sensation, skin irritation at the point of contact with the magnetic coils used in the treatment and discomfort with pulsing noises.
Those interested in the treatment can be referred from within the RRH system.