Testimonials: Cathy

"I now have my life back."

Cathy, a 44-year-old social worker, was first diagnosed with depression in 1985, but in 1996, it became severe. Medications were no help, or stopped working after a while. “My arms and legs felt like lead, my body so incredibly weighed down that I could not get off the couch. It was bad,” she recalled. “I was nonfunctioning.” Unable to handle her casework, she had to go on Social Security disability. She became suicidal, not because she didn’t want to live or because she wanted to hurt her loved ones, but because she just wanted the pain to stop. She tried ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), but it did not help and caused memory problems. She was feeling increasingly hopeless when her parents in Florida sent her a newspaper article about VNS Therapy. Because she and her psychiatrist had “tried everything we could think of,” she was excited about it, especially when she found she could have the procedure at a medical school 15 minutes away, as part of the clinical trial for FDA approval of VNS Therapy for TRD. Cathy had the VNS Therapy procedure December 1, 2000. It took about a year and a half to figure out the right settings for her. But soon afterwards, she wasn’t sobbing all the time. She became more social and wanted to go back to work instead of staying on disability. Her depression is now gone. “VNS Therapy literally saved my life,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for VNS Therapy.” She has some side effects. “So my voice gets goofy a couple of times a day. Who cares?” It sounds as if she has a cold. “With medications, there were so many side effects.” She even started a new job 3 years ago as an adult protection social worker. Her coworkers have no idea she ever had depression. They just know her voice changes every once in a while, but they don’t know why, nor do they ask. Cathy gets calls from friends, family, and even acquaintances all over the country asking about VNS Therapy. “I now have my life back,” she says.


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The VNS Therapy System is indicated for use as an adjunctive therapy in reducing the frequency of seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age with partial onset seizures, which are refractory to antiepileptic medications.

VNS Therapy (or the VNS Therapy System) is indicated for the adjunctive long-term treatment of chronic or recurrent depression for patients over the age of 18 who are experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had an adequate response to four or more adequate antidepressant treatments.