Monthly Archives: April 2011

Picture of the week – Rainbow

When the clouds part and the sun comes out, there is a rainbow.

As basic and obvious as it sounds, there is no pleasure without knowing pain and you really can’t experience joy without experiencing some suffering.

This discovery came to me on my own but philosophers and most religious scholars made this revelation a long time ago. Maybe, even though I thought I had understood the balance of life. Not until I truly experienced the ups and downs that come with chronic illness could I completely appreciate the joy that comes with each day. There is an exhilaration in just being and savoring each and every day.  The rainbow may not always be obvious but if you look hard enough, I think it shines through the clouds.

Reiki and Parkinson’s Disease

Over a decade ago, I had the good fortune of meeting my current Reiki teacher. When he introduced me to Reiki, I thought it to be pure quackery, but I had nothing to lose in keeping an open-mind. After experiencing Reiki, I was not only hooked but I was changed for the better. That was twelve years ago , and today I am in a one year mastership training course with my same teacher with the hope of sharing my ability with others dealing with Parkinson’s disease.  I have witnessed a transformation not only in myself but also with those whom I have worked on and seen as the healing energy calms, relaxes, and improves the conditions of those willing to try it.

Seeing may be believing but true experience seals the deal. When I walked into my first Reiki session, I was walking poorly and my balance was off but an hour after my first session, I felt rejuvenated and my walking  was dramatically better. Do I have empirical scientific evidence that Reiki made this miraculous  alteration in my condition and can I prove that it was the Reiki that has helped me to actually improve over the past 10 years and not see my symptoms decline? The only evidence that I have is the end results and those results are impressive in my humble opinion.  Show me a drug or procedure that is free and non-invasive that has that kind of success.  I have little doubt if it were not for my learning how to do Reiki for myself, I would be in a far more serious condition than I am in today.

My wife and I recently announced a local class to teach level 1 Reiki to people with Parkinson’s as well as their care-partner. The response was overwhelming. In less than a week our class overfilled with the need for  placing people on a waiting list. Undoubtedly, this will not be our last class.

I believe physicians and neurologists especially, should be recommending Reiki to their patients as additional therapy. There is no reason not to prescribe something that increases energy, quiets the minds, calms the heart, relaxes the muscles, and reduces dyskinesias. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and chi gong should also be investigated as a cocktail of therapies may be of benefit. As for me, Reiki has proven itself to me and science has yet to identify the untapped benefits that it reaps. If you can find anything better for someone facing Parkinson’s disease, I don’t know what it could be.

This is my opinion. I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice. This is what works for me.

Picture Of The Week-PD Awareness Tulips

PD Awareness Symbol
Bring About PD Awareness!

April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month and it is time to educate our communities, governments, and yes, even doctors, about Parkinson’s disease. It is time to dispel many of the myths that have developed over decades. 

Here are just a few:
 
MYTH 1) Only the elderly and Michael J. Fox get Parkinson’s disease (PD). Well, I got diagnosed with PD at the age of 23 but had symptoms at least 6 years prior to identifying it as PD. Michael got diagnosed with PD very young as well. Most people associate PD with older people in their 60’s and 70’s but more and more neurologists are finally recognizing that younger people are getting PD and it is not just a disease for older people.
 
MYTH 2) There are 1 million people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease. The truth is we just don’t know how many people in the US or the world have this illness because we have no registry or any way of keeping track of who has PD.
 
For more information on the development of a registry or to find out how you can help promote the registry, contact the Parkinson’s Action Network at http://www.parkinsonsaction.org/ or PAN to contact your state representatives.
 
MYTH 3) Deep Brain Stimulation (a surgical electrical implant)(DBS) means that I no longer need to take my medication. DBS is not a cure nor  does it mean that you will stop your medications. You may take less meds or find that you need them less frequently but you may still be on some regimen. DBS will not stop the PD but it may lessen symptoms and improve quality of life for some patients.
 
MYTH 4) Parkinson’s patients move uncontrollably and rapidly (dyskinesia) as a symptom of  Parkinson’s disease.  My understanding is that dyskinesia is not a symptom of the illness directly but is from too much dopamine being released into the brain and thus a rapid and explosive uncontrollable movement that erupts. Often, if the person can lower the potency or frequency of a certain med, the dyskinesia may lessen. Ask your doctor before you make any changes, please!
 
These are but a few of the possible misconceptions that the public should be aware of when we discuss Awareness Month. Let me know if you like this and want to see more myths about PD in future postings.
 
I am not a medical professional. I am just a long-time patient sharing my observations and opinions.  See your doctor for medical advice–not me.

Picture Of The Week – Blossoms

A beautiful Spring Day

I think Winter is finally over and that Sping is here for a few weeks. Summer heat isn’t far behind , but until then, I will savor Spring, my favorite season of the year.

10 Tips For Better Living With Parkinson’s Disease (PD)(and maybe some other chronic illnesses)

1.  Find a support group in your area. Contact the National Parkinson’s Foundation (NPF), the American  Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA), and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) for more information about updates and seminars. Ask for referrals and informational pamphlets.   Go to their sites.

2. Search for a Neurologist with whom you can communicate. If you have Young-Onset PD, then you probably are going to want a Neurologist who is also a movement disorder specialist.

3. Eat Your Veggies.  When I went vegetarian over 20 years ago, my energy level improved, my digestion improved, and my medications worked better.

4. Reduce your stress level. Stress reduces the effectiveness of meds, disturbs sleep, and can cause more illnesses. Find an outlet for stress like calming your mind through yoga, reiki, and meditation.

5. Sleep matters. You need rest to recharge those dopamine receptors. If you can’t sleep, talk to your doctor.

6. Keep active.   Challenge your mind and body daily–but don’t overdo it. Find that balance.

7. Stay on track. Keep a schedule with your meds and  take them on time with water.

8. Try music. I find music can soothe my headaches, improve my mood, and help me to relax.

9. Stay informed. Sign up with Google news, local PD organization’s chapters, and other legitimate PD sites to get the latest press in Parkinson’s disease .

10. Get involved. Keep informed and help the PD community through the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN).

These are just a few ways that I have been able to improve my PD. I hope they work for you. I am not a doctor and this is my opinion only.

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