Dystonia is a surprisingly common disease, that few people know much about. Dystonia robbed a Tulsa woman of her speech, dexterity, and mobility. Now a breakthrough device has given her back a lot of what she lost.


News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson says Wanda Merz had no idea she could find relief in a device the size of this cell phone.


Wanda told the News on 6; she's lived with dystonia for 15 years. It's an incurable muscle disorder that often left Wanda twisted and gnarled. Her doctors tried prescription drugs and Botox injections, but nothing provided lasting relief until a doctor in Oklahoma City fitted her with a "deep brain stimulator".


A unit is implanted in her chest and wires run directly to her brain. Wanda can walk and talk again and loves to share the good news of her surgery.


She's started a support group for others living with dystonia, to provide patients with the hope she found in knowing she wasn't suffering alone. "If they come in, they'll see other people who are just like them. That is the most important thing. Don't feel like there is no hope."


The support group meets Thursday at the Zarrow Regional Library at 2224 West 51st in Tulsa. The group meets at 7 PM on the second Thursday of every month.