Sam, I know a LOT about Parkinsons disease, so you need any help, come to me buddy.
My grandma has had Parkinsons disease for a little over 25 years now. It's really a bitch. She was lucky and had it 'mild' too. But mild Parkinsons is no flu. If the parkinsons wasn't bad enough, the drugs she was on caused uncontrollable shaking and tremors in her hands, feet, and jaw. She also had extremely vivid hallucinations (cause she's old and of that generation, they mostly consisted of black men hiding in her closet, haha. kind of funny really). Anyways, yeah. It got to where she couldn't live alone, so she had to get a place with my Great Aunt, which is actually two houses down from mine. She couldn't go anywhere or do anything.
BUT. About 2 years ago, she made the big decision to undergo a still somewhat experimental procedure. She was going to have electrodes implanted in her brain - one on either hemisphere - which would emit electric stimulation via two pacemakers located in her chest. Doctors still have literally no clue why this works, but it does. She had to have it done down at Stanford University, because it wasn't available up in Washington (in the past few months, it has become available). The first surgery was a success. The electrode was implanted in the brain (It is a long thin rod that goes VERY deep into the brain with a wire running down her neck, inside obviously) and then the wire ran down to the pacemaker that was put in her chest. Then she had to wait 3 months to get the other side done. Of course, she couldn't turn on the one side, so she still had to suffer through the hell of Parkinsons. Then, after 3 months, she went down for the second operation. They had just drilled into her skull, and had started insterting the electrode, when she experience a grand mal seizure. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is bad. The single WORST seizure there is. Some people have died from these (they can be common with epilepsy). They had to abort the operation. So, she had to wait another 3 months.
I was fortunate enough to get to go down with her (and my mother, who guided her through all of this) to experience the process. Of course, you can imagine what kind of fear my Grandma was experiencing. She had just barely missed death with someone poking around in her brain, and now she had to go do it again. Now, I didn't get to actually watch the operation, I was able to watch the entire prep for it. After getting my grandma nice and doped up on all kinds of stuff, they bolted this 'crown' to her head. And I mean BOLTED. They used allan wrenches, and tightened it so she was bleeding from the bolts. Of course, she felt nothing, but was awake. In fact, throughout the whole brain part of the operation, she is completely conscious, just loopy! haha. But she is put under for the pacemaker....um....install. So I got to watch all of that, and then the CAT scan where they map out the route going in to the brain. Anyways, long story short, it was a complete success. Of course, it's not over yet. She had to wait ANOTHER 3 months to get it programmed and turned on (it is turned on with a remote control placed on the skin over the pacemakers.) She was in the hospital for only one night. Of course, it was wierd the first few days out of the hospital. She was hallucinating and dreaming like mad, but was awake, sorta. She just kept rambling and making no sense, it was funny.
But now, after about a year after the final operation, she is completely fine. You wouldn't even know that she has parkinsons. She went from taking around 20 pills a day, to 2. She never has tremors or shakes, her jaw never chatters. She can write, and knit again. She hasn't been able to knit for 25 years, and now she knits a whole sweater a week! She taught me how to knit last summer, and I do it with her every once in a while. So anyways, sorry for the long post, but I know where you are Sam. It's been a long long trip for my family, especially my grandma, but in the end it turned out great. The sad thing is, my two uncles, never helped out in any way. It was completely my mom who did everything. They didn't go down to Stanford for any of the operations. Also, last summer, after having her parkinsons essentially taken away, she was able to go have knee surgery, and got a completely new knee. Anyways, enough rambling.
be aware, ski with care