Alex is a 29-year-old woman living with dystonia, a neurological movement disorder. She turned to The Doctors in search of emotional strength. Diagnosed in 2007, Alex is persistently reminded of her disorder because her muscles constantly involuntarily contract, forcing her body into repetitive and often twisting movements.
Alex, a former dancer, sought emotional inspiration from someone who understood what living with a debilitating disease was like. The Doctors arranged for talk-show host and best-selling author Montel Williams, who lives with multiple sclerosis, to meet. He paid her a house call where he communicated that it is OK to feel depressed about your medical situation, but at some point you have to pick yourself off of the ground and make as big of an impact as you can on your disease or disorder.
Alex recalls what it is like living with dystonia: "I just don't want people staring at me like I'm a monster; I'm not. You're looking at me in a dirty way, and it hurts. I just would rather have people have the guts to just come up and, you know, [ask] 'What's wrong? Are you having a bad day? Do you need some help?' I would rather them do that than just stare at me." Montel then took Alex, who had not been out in public for nearly six months, to Rodeo Drive to face her fears.
After gaining confidence emotionally, Alex still sought medical answers. She saw many doctors, but no one could pinpoint how to improve her tremors and pain. Neurologists offered her medication and Botox therapy, but these treatments didn't improve her condition. Recently, Montel, a patient advocate for Alex, took her to Massachusetts General Hospital to shed some light on her particular dystonia case. She met with neurologist Dr. Nutan Sharma and neurosurgeon, Dr. Emad Eskandar. The Doctors revealed to Alex that she is a candidate for an expensive brain surgery, deep-brain stimulation, that could be the cure to her condition.
She recently underwent the procedure, a high-risk surgery that implants a battery-powered neurotransmitter into the brain to interrupt pathways responsible for the involuntary spasms experienced by dystonia sufferers. See her incredible transformation!
The Doctors teamed up with The Dr. Phil Foundation to raise money to help Alex with the cost of her surgery. Find out how you can help Alex.