Experiences with VNS to help others make a decision

So, before I got mine, I had a lot of questions that I could not find answers to. If you have one, maybe you can put some of your questions in here that you are now able to answer. That way when someone is trying to find some information we could help them.

For anyone that wonders how strong of a magnetic field it takes to trigger then VNS, the measurement is 35 gauss.

Triggering the VNS without the magnet:

I love to fabricate steel projects in my garage, and was worried about the heavy electric current (magnetic field) running close by the NVS. I could not find an answer anywhere. I have had my VNS for about 4 months, and have welded many times since then. At this point, I have only had the VNS triggered once by the welder, and I was very close to what I was working on.

My wife all of a sudden told me I should use hair clippers on my chest because my brother does and she thinks it is better (whatever, if she likes it I will do it). I didn't even expect it, but it makes sense now.. Those clippers definitely trigger the VNS, so just be ready for it. If I manually trigger mine, it runs for 1 minute. So think of it this way, you have 1 minute to complete the area nearby, or you are going to trigger it again.

At the end of the day, however you trigger it, that is all you are doing. Unless you put some super strong magnet right by your chest (I am not going to test that), you should be fine. Along the same topic, now that you know how many gauss it takes to trigger it, go Google rare earth magnets and read what kind of field strength they have, pretty amazing.

How much damage can it take:

I was very concerned about damaging it, and spoke with the person from the company quite a bit about it. In my opinion, I should be able to do everything I did before and not have to worry about it. Of course, they are not going to back up anything that could get them in trouble, but after working my way up to the tech at the company that produced it. I just asked him point blank, can I still break bones underneath the VNS without damaging it? His response was "the VNS is stronger than chest bones". I asked him if I could dislocate my shoulder without pulling the cord and damaging it. He said that there is usually 6 to 8 inches of slack on the install, and as long as you don’t rip your shoulder out of socket and behind your back, you will be ok. I have also been slalom skiing and crashed pretty hard with my arms getting pulled forward, no problems as of yet. I also do some martial arts for fun and have taken a couple of direct hits to the VNS, no problems yet.

You best chance of protecting it is to have it installed under the muscle, but the surgery is definitely more involved. Also, when the battery runs out, you will have to go in for a "real surgery". Mine is just under my skin, and apparently the surgeon will just give me a local anesthetic and replace the unit in her office.(!)

Turning it up:

Depending on your individual tolerance for pain, you can have the unit turned up to the "standard" 1.5 milliamps (this is the measurement I was told is typical), you can have it cranked in one day. I did not do that, mine was turned up to 1.5 in 4 appointments. Also, if you are a man, you are probably not used to feeling things bounce around in your chest region. Still very weird when I run up stairs and I feel it bouncing around in there...

"Side effects":

To me, the automatic triggered setting feels kind of like a sore throat. I do get the hoarse throat when I am talking (which only happened to me after being at 1.5milliamps for 2 weeks). One "bonus" for me, is I am a programmer, and do not talk to anyone for most of the day. Side note: The doctor told me I can tape the magnet to my chest when I have to give a speech..??? That would be lovely if I wanted to look like 40 year old virgin. I laughed about that with him and he told me I could get a sports bra...??????? Even better!!! When you run the magnet across it, you know it!  In my opinion, these things are a small price to pay for what you can gain. Also, having had mine for only 4 months, I am pretty young in the life with VNS. From what I have heard it will take at least 12 to 18 months before you really see the benfits.

Other VNS owners:  Please put in your experiences, it would be cool to see what other people have going on.