Walesonline.co.uk have reported that Heavy metal drummer Pete Boot who played in the 1970s Cardiff band BUDGIE, has had electrodes implanted in his brain to help improve his movement. Pete has spoken out about his battle with Parkinson’s disease and the ground breaking treatment he has undergone.
The Budgie star was diagnosed with the neurological disease – which restricts movement – more than 20 years ago but believes he has improved 90% since having electrodes implanted in his brain.
“There is still progress to be made,” he said.
“I have had this a year but it is still early days. The operation should give me another 10 years of continued mobility.
“It’s worth the risk because I have had it so long.”
The surgery was done at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital last February.
“My choices were pretty limited,” the rocker said.
“I could have had the deep brain stimulation or I could have had something put into my stomach, which they put gel in, but that did not sound nice.
The other option was huge injections that I would have had to give myself every day.
“I didn’t fancy that so I took the deep brain stimulation.
“They drilled two holes in my head and passed four electrodes through my brain, out the side of my head and back down my neck and into my chest.
“Embedded in my chest, a bit like a pacemaker, is a stimulator.”
Pete – a pal of heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST – was in Cardiff band BUDGIE from 1973 to 1974. He now lives in Willenhall, in the West Midlands.
Pete said it has taken him a year to “level out.”
“He was using walkers and a walking stick and wheel chair but now his mobility is 90% better really,” wife Nancy said.
“And he has not had any really bad falls and ended up in A and E. He is never going to get rid of his Parkinson’s.
“But the operation should hold off any mobility problems for another 10 years,” Nancy said.
“And then he will be 74. We all get a bit doddery then. And in 10 years time who knows what medical science will hold?
“Ten years ago we would not have thought doctors could have put electrodes in the brain.”
A former distance runner and cyclist, the first signs there was something wrong came after Pete completed a Yorkshire marathon in 1997.
He could normally finish in three hours and 18 minutes but this time Nancy “waited and waited for him to return”.
On finishing he had double vision and there was something wrong with his legs. Tests showed it was Parkinson’s.
But the couple now have hope for the future.
“They say once you crack one disease, like Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, it’s easier to crack the others,” Nancy said.
As medicine advanced she hoped things would become easier for Pete.
“If you look at 20 years ago we did not have the drugs that we do today,” Nancy said.
Things nearly went very wrong after Pete’s surgery. “He had a massive seizure which put him in intensive care after the operation,” Nancy said.
“There could have been lots of different outcomes, no operation is guaranteed success.
“They don’t know why his brain took a turn for the worse.”
The musician, who still plays drums and has a studio at his home, could have died.
“He might not have come out or he could have come out worse,” Nancy said. “He was in intensive care for about five days and then he came home.”
After his op Pete organised a music festival to raise cash for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital called Fill your Head with Rock. That is taking place in Willenhall today and tomorrow.
Pete left, with BUDGIE.