Lubbock woman wide awake, plays flute during brain surgery

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LUBBOCK, Texas (KLBK) – Lubbock flutist, Anna Marie Whitlock Henry, underwent brain surgery in Houston in hopes of curing an essential tremor that caused debilitating shaking in her hands. The video of the surgery has gone viral after it shows her playing the flute throughout the procedure. 

“At one point they saw some tears coming down the side of my cheek,” Henry said. “They asked me if I was okay and I said,  ‘Oh yeah, I’m fine because they were tears of happiness.’ I was laying there thinking oh my gosh I’m doing this, this is working. This is great. It was a really good feeling to think this was going to have the effect I wanted it to have.”

The procedure was performed at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston by neurosurgeon Dr. Albert Fenoy and assisted by neologist Dr. Mya Schiess. A representative for the facility said the procedure is called Deep Brain Stimulation, DBS for short. It is most commonly used on patients with Parkinson’s but also performed on patients for debilitating tremors or depression. 

Henry said she asked Dr. Fenoy if she could play her flute during the procedure to make sure it had the effect she wanted and could still perform.

The procedure took about six hours, Henry played the flute for a majority of the surgery. 

“I remember as I was playing thinking I’m really taking good breathes,” Henry said. “I was taking really deep breathes as I was lying there.”

Now after two months after the procedure, she said about 90% of the tremor is cured. 

“Everyone’s journey is different,” Henry said. “Everyone’s struggle is different and you can’t let other people say, ‘Oh I know what you’re going through or here how you should tackle it,’ but you have to find the ways yourself that works for you, to get motivated and get through it.”

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