Sunday, October 24, 2010


Wrist bands available through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, (courtesy MHFF)

While researching material on Parkinson', I was overwhelmed by all the depressing information.  You see, the primary neurologist I have been going to said I was in the very early stages and that someone with my intellectual acumen was unlikely to suffer dementia anytime soon.  Is there a connection between staying intellectually active (I teach English at the college level) and warding off the ravages of cognitive dysfunction?  There has been some evidence of this with Alzheimer's, but the diseases are different.  And at the Blazing Toward a Cure symposium, we heard that physical exercise is possibly the single most important variable. My work is cut out for me. 

There are so many facets of this illness to research, and they are my driving force here.  Before last week, I didn't even know about the Parkinson's mask.  One of my new friends Saturday is so deeply terrified of this--the emotionless looking face with little muscle movement, the blank stare, the perfect poker face really.  Is it inevitable that we will eventually get lost behind that?  I am learning some face exercises. Will they help? Are we any closer to the elusive cure or to at least slowing this thing called Parkinson's down?  The first article that came up on my search was  Parkinson's Disease: the Silent Epidemic.  This is a scary read.  It is motivating me to learn everything I can, one day at a time.

Article in hand and in preparation for my Vanderbilt Neurology appointment next week, I researched the many non-motor symptoms of PD.  Swallowing, losing my voice, and hiccups have been huge concerns lately.  I found one government-sponsored study that calls for more research into intractable hiccups and PD and hiccups brought on by taking our regular meds. Or at least that's a workable hypothesis.  Are these problems evidence of my advancing beyond Stage 1 or 2?  Now that the hand tremors are actually better and sticking to a fanatic schedule of medication controls restless legs somewhat, is it possible these non-motor problems are signs of.....gulp.....worsening?

Did I come out of the PD closet to journal my way through years of early PD only to experience the onset of later stages?  OK, enough feeling sorry for myself. This project is about progress--for you and me and all Parkinsonians.  I am committed to research, individual responsibility for this thing we have, and communication about it.  I plan to try all the exercises I am capable of doing, take my meds when I am supposed to, and attend functions with my extended PD family.  So I will share what I learn and hear from others, and I welcome input.

I have to close for the night because I am worn out from my day of exercise and study, but I have to plug our fellow Parkinsonian Michael J. Fox.  If he can ice skate on national television, then try to brush his teeth just to show the range of symptoms one individual deals with, then I can walk on dry land more than I am now.  I am significantly older than he is, but his enthusiasm and dedication are infectious.  Check Michael J. Fox Foundation out. Join Team Fox. Examine the gold mine of resources there, and, should you feel like lending your support, Charity Navigator gives MJFF 4 stars (out of 4 possible).
 Good Night. Sunday is about football and walking. We might even play some balloon ball in the living room.  Go Bears!

I thought she would never get offline and come to bed.


  1. My cousin is a Bears fan. Some things really are right with the world.

  2. Cousin Dave, I am through and through, above all else, a Chicagoan and FANATIC Bears fan. My winter jacket wardrobe is all Bears stuff.

  3. You and MJF are my heroes :) Have you read his books? I only have the first one, but it's beautifully written, IMHO of course. Love the kitty caption at the end of this blog page, lol.. you're certifiable, and I love you for it... xoxo