MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno died early Monday at the age of 78 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.READ MORE: Dates For Formula 1 Grand Prix In Miami Gardens Confirmed For May 6-8, 2022
Doctor say people with advanced Parkinson’s can become completely debilitated. But now an FDA approved treatment is giving some of them hope to be able to lead normal lives again.
Jack Mckeon, a 65-year-old naval officer, has advanced Parkinson’s disease but since he’s been receiving the treatment, his symptoms are not as obvious.
“I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t do anything on my own,” said McKeon. “I lost my ability to be productive and I was very depressed about that.”
Last May, doctors inserted a tube in McKeon’s small intestine that connects to an outside pump. The pump is attached to a cassette with two medications which are continuously delivered for up to 16 hours per day.
Dr. Paul Wright said patients using the treatment called “Duopa” no longer have to worry bout taking pills at the right time.READ MORE: Miami Beach Police Host Bone Marrow Registry Drive, Hope To Give Someone The 'Gift Of Life'
“The pump allows dopamine to be infused in a consistent manner and be absorbed in a consistent manner, so that means the patient is on all the time and there is no wearing off,” said Wright.
McKeon said he was up and dancing with his wife a half an hour after the procedure.
“We hadn’t danced in eight years, we were spinning in the hallways, it was amazing,” said McKeon.
McKeon said it was a night and day difference when he took his granddaughter to a school event after getting the pump.
“I had gone to that event last year and I had to be helped to a chair, be helped to my car,” said McKeon. “This year I went. I didn’t need any help at all. I held her hand. We ran across the street. These are big things.”
McKeon said that’s the way he hopes she will remember him, as being independent and able to enjoy doing things with his family.MORE NEWS: Surfside Families Push For Permanent Memorial At Site Of Condo Collapse
Doctors say side effects of the treatment are similar to taking the oral medications used to treat it.