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Ticked: A Medical Miracle, a Friendship, and the Weird World of Tourette Syndrome

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Overview

When Jeff Matovic burst into the office of Dr. Robert Maciunas, he had very few options left. Matovic had suffered for years from Tourette Syndrome, his full-body spasms and outbursts getting progressively worse, to the point that he saw suicide as a viable option. Drugs, physical therapy, prayer—nothing was working. But Dr. Maciunas was a pioneer in deep brain stimulation (DBS), a new therapy that had worked to correct other brain disorders. Could it fix Matovic’s Tourette’s? All Matovic had to do was convince ...

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Overview

When Jeff Matovic burst into the office of Dr. Robert Maciunas, he had very few options left. Matovic had suffered for years from Tourette Syndrome, his full-body spasms and outbursts getting progressively worse, to the point that he saw suicide as a viable option. Drugs, physical therapy, prayer—nothing was working. But Dr. Maciunas was a pioneer in deep brain stimulation (DBS), a new therapy that had worked to correct other brain disorders. Could it fix Matovic’s Tourette’s? All Matovic had to do was convince Dr. Maciunas that he was a perfect candidate for the procedure. That, and have several electrical leads—a “brain pacemaker”—implanted into his skull.

            Author Jim Fussell is uniquely qualified to tell Matovic’s story—he suffers from Tourette Syndrome as well. Fussell’s job as a feature writer for the Kansas City Star brought him in contact with Oprah Winfrey, who first told him about Jeff Matovic, the “Miracle Man.” As Fussell learned about Matovic’s remarkable journey, he vowed to seek him out. This is their story.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A graphic but inspiring depiction of the ravages of the disease, their bravery and the sustaining love of their families."—Kirkus Reviews

“An extraordinary and inspiring account of personal courage in the face of unimaginable adversity. Emotional shock waves live on every page of this book” —Hal Friedman, coauthor with James Patterson of Against Medical Advice: One Family’s Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery

Ticked is inspirational, well-written, and surprisingly witty.” —Lowell Handler, author of Twitch and Shout: A Touretter’s Tale

“The people who make a difference in our world are the ones with courage. This is a wonderful story of the daily courage of two men with Tourette Syndrome. Ticked is vivid, wrenching, funny, and, most of all, inspiring. I trust it will notch up the courage in everyone who reads it.” — John Rosenow, founder and CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation

Library Journal
Journalist and Tourette syndrome (TS) sufferer Fussell (Kansas City Star) shares his story of meeting Matovic, the first recipient of a controversial yet groundbreaking medical procedure to treat TS. When Oprah heard news that the radical, quarter-million-dollar, deep brain stimulation surgery was a success, she invited Matovic to appear on her show to share his incredible story. In a chance encounter, Fussell was sent on assignment to interview Oprah during a multicity tour. Completely unaware of Matovic's story, Fussell confided in Oprah that he struggled with TS. That's when Oprah promised to mail him a copy of her recent interview with Matovic. When Fussell watched it, he was overwhelmed with emotion and decided to reach out to Matovic to learn firsthand of Matovic's journey to a life of normalcy. VERDICT A story of friendship and struggle, the book alternates between Fussell's and Matovic's narration. Readers might find the title's structure a bit discordant, although perhaps this was meant to help illustrate the impediments of the disorder. Recommended for those diagnosed with TS as well as for their friends and family.—Carolann Curry, Mercer Univ. Lib., Macon, GA
Kirkus Reviews
A moving but also hair-raising story of Tourette's syndrome and a risky surgical procedure. When assigned to cover the Oprah Winfrey Show, Kansas City Star feature writer Fussell used his affliction as a calling card for an interview, telling her how, some years before, her interview with a fellow sufferer had inspired him. Winfrey gave him a tape of a recent show she had done with Matovic, who had been disabled by the syndrome until recent, successful brain surgery. The doctors implanted an electrode deeply in his thalamus (the area which controls motor impulses) and connected it to a battery-controlled minicomputer placed in his chest. While the potentially fatal surgery had worked for people with Parkinson's disease, Matovic's operation was the first success story for a Tourette's patient. After watching the tape, Fussell got in touch with Matovic to share experiences, and the idea for a joint book project emerged. Now happily married with children and a successful career, Fussell's life nonetheless was becoming unendurable. He suffered severe pain from the violent, uncontrollable jerking motions of his head, which had injured vertebrae in his neck and also disrupted his sleep. He writes about both of their battles with the disease, which worsens over time. As a boy and young man, Fussell was able to divert attention from his embarrassing tics. Matovic, 33 at the time of his operation, had a more disabling disease, which had also come on slowly but had progressively incapacitated him. Unable to work, he devoted his time to finding a team of neurosurgeons who would perform the difficult operation. A graphic but inspiring depiction of the ravages of the disease, their bravery and the sustaining love of their families.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613743805
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,395,706
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


James A. Fussell is a feature writer for the Kansas City Star who has struggled with Tourette’s from childhood.
 
Jeffrey P. Matovic is the first person to have his Tourette Syndrome controlled through deep brain stimulation.
 
Jeff Foxworthy is a comedian, an author, and a television performer.
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