Virginia Velez first noticed her tremors when she was 9 years old. She started shaking during a piano performance, but everyone chalked it up to nerves. Before long, she was having trouble writing, and eventually she could no longer even write her name.
Velez has essential tremor, a neurologic condition that can cause shaking of the hands, head, even voice. The tremor initially was controlled with medication, but as it progressed over time — that treatment was no longer an option.
Through her neurologist, Velez learned about a new therapy called MR-guided focused ultrasound, which directs sound waves at the place in the brain that controls tremors.
“It was just amazing that they could do this procedure that drastically changes your life."
She was thrilled when she learned it was available at RUSH — one of the only centers in the Upper Midwest that offers it.
“I saw my future and I wondered, how am I going to take care of myself,” Velez says. “How am I going to eat? How am I going to drink? I looked into the special equipment and physical therapy that you can do, but I knew how bad my tremor was, and I knew none of that would help.”
Just days after her procedure, Velez was able to walk three miles, and she was back at work within a week. Today, Virginia’s tremor is under control, and she’s very grateful for the care she received at RUSH.
“It was just amazing that they could do this procedure that drastically changes your life, and I could get up and walk out that same day,” she says.
The Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building is a destination for state-of-the-art outpatient care in cancer, neurosciences, digestive diseases and more. These stories of impact highlight what RUSH means to its patients, providers, employees and community — and illustrate how the Rubschlager Building supports RUSH in providing excellent patient care.