Brain surgery could change grandad’s life

Mark Roberts will soon be having brain surgery which he hopes will turn his life around.
Mark Roberts will soon be having brain surgery which he hopes will turn his life around.
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CLEVELEYS grandad Mark Roberts will be undergoing major surgery he hopes will change his life in a matter of weeks.

The 49-year-old has suffered from a condition called benign essential tremor for 30 years –which causes him to have Parkinson’s-like tremors, and makes even simple tasks like cleaning his teeth impossible.

Now doctors at Walton Hospital have told him they can perform an operation, known as thalamic deep brain stimulation, which can improve symptoms by 85 per cent.

He says he has waited years for the news there is something which can help him – up until now he has had to take medication to try to control the condition, which has got progressively worse over the years.

Mark, who volunteers regularly at the British Heart Foundation shop in Cleveleys, first noticed the tremors when he was about 17, and working as a welder.

He had to change jobs when the condition worsened, and it got to the stage where he could no longer work.

The grandfather-of-three said: “Four years ago I was employed full-time, now I volunteer part-time.

“My grandson says ‘grandad wobbles, like jelly’.

“I can’t do things for myself, such as cleaning my teeth, which my partner helps me with.

“You can hear it in my voice all the time.

“It disappears when I’m resting, but as soon as I start to do something, the tremors come back.

“The first thought was it could be Parkinson’s, but I was diagnosed when I was about 23 with essential tremor – it took a long time to diagnose and rule out other things.

“This operation will completely change my life. It’s not a cure, but it can cause an 85 per cent improvement. That would just be brilliant. My main aim would be to get back into work.

“But I will be able to do all those little things for myself I can’t currently do, that other people take for granted.

“I was pretty choked when the doctor told me I was being sent for surgery, because it will mean such a big change.”

Mark – who is being filmed for a Channel 5 show about brain surgery – will undergo the operation, which has two stages, in June.

It will involve inserting a pacemaker into the brain, to send electrical impulses to parts of the brain.

Mark is looking forward to seeing both his step-daughters getting married in June.